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Religion, Art, and MoneyEpiscopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression$
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Peter W. Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626970

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626970.001.0001

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The Great American Cathedrals

The Great American Cathedrals

Chapter:
(p.80) Chapter Three The Great American Cathedrals
Source:
Religion, Art, and Money
Author(s):

Peter W. Williams

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626970.003.0004

The establishment of Episcopal cathedrals began gradually to take shape in the decades following the Civil War, bolstered both by the rise of Anglo-Catholicism and by a growing denominational impetus toward administrative centralization and a corresponding increase in the importance of the office of bishop. Although there was no national mandate for cathedral churches, many dioceses proceeded to create them, although not in any uniform fashion. The cathedral was an instrument for church unity, providing a center around which the various factions of the Christian community could rally, and helping to liberate the church to participate in civic and political affairs without hindering its own growth. The cathedral was also a rebuke to contemporary American materialism; it was potentially an institution that could serve as a counterweight to the commercial and practical emphases of contemporary American education. The various rhetorics used to promote the cathedral enterprise among Americans in general and Episcopalians in particular reflected the ambiguities involved in reviving the architectural expression of an era remote in time and culture as an expression of the values of Americans in the Progressive Era.

Keywords:   Cathedral, William Lawrence, St. John the Divine, Ralph Adams Cram, Henry Codman Potter

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