Sunday, April 29, 2018

inSPIREd Sunday

April 2018 - Toronto ON

Why haven't I posted St. Michael's Cathedral before? It's been closed for five years of renovations and there is still work being done on the outside.

The Archdiocese of Toronto says the cathedral is the oldest church in Toronto still being used for its original purpose, was rededicated with a new designation from the Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments granted the cathedral the title of minor basilica.


"As such, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Toronto will be known moving forward as St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica, in recognition of its historic and current significance as a place of worship and sacred celebration in our archdiocese, our province, and our country," said a statement from the Archdiocese.

You can read about the history of the cathedral here, including some background of the influx of Irish immigrants to Toronto.

St. Michael’s Cathedral is located at 200 Church Street in Toronto. The building is oriented on an off-east-west axis aligned perpendicular to church street with its main entrance on its west side located off Bond Street. In adherence with the tradition of medieval churches the cathedral's high altar is in the east end of the building, facing Jerusalem.

You can see there is still fencing surrounding this side. On the other side there is still extensive work being done on the foundations.

The restoration work included conservation of the exterior façade and the 84-metre tower, reinforcement of the foundations, construction of a new balcony and a crypt chapel, as well as new public bathrooms.

There are also new floors, the celestial ceiling was restored, and 13 statues were added, while 26 were restored.


Stations of the Cross

There is also a new custom-built Casavant Opus 3907 organ, which has 4,143 pipes ranging in size from around a centimetre to almost 10 metres.

And oh the stained glass!!!


The stained-glass in the Cathedral is of the “antique” variety which is hand-blown in typical medieval style resulting in deeper colour when compared to typical machine-rolled glass used in other churches at the time. The largest piece of stained glass, located on the east side of the building was imported from France in 1858 and created by Étienne Thévenot, the same artist who created some of the windows for Notre Dame and various other churches in Paris. The stained-glass windows located on the north and south walls originate from Austria and Bavaria and were installed during the late 1800s and early 1900s replacing the original clear pane. Despite the intentional Gothic style evident in many of the designs of these windows they are actually late-baroque in style.

Above the altar, the focus of the church’s interior is the stained glass window of the crucifixion. The tableau was installed in 1958 by Étienne Thévenot, a French pioneer of the medieval glass revival. Blue, yellow and red are the most prominent colours in the window. The deep blue sky with small blood-red squares of glass leading in the regular grid fall into larger and smaller bands of maroon, plum, and purple enlivened by emerald, viridian and gold. The central panel of the oculus there is a depiction of the Blessed Sacrament symbolizing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Underneath the stained glass window is an intricate wooden reredos with gold and green detailing.

St. Michael's is one of three churches in this area that are worth a visit.


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