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St George's Cathedral (Cape Town)

Overview of St George's Cathedral

The St George's Cathedral (The Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr) is a beautiful example of Victorian design. This beautiful Anglican church is located in heart of Cape Town, at the corner of Wale Street and Adderley Street.

St George's Cathedral is the oldest Cathedral in southern Africa, and is the mother church of the diocese.

Built in the style of the neo-Greek St Pancras Church in London, the original St George's Cathedral features six stone pillars whose places are marked today by huge oak trees. Built from drawings by the architect John Skirrow, the cathedral opened during Christmas 1834 in anticipation of the arrival of the first Anglican Bishop in Africa, Robert Gray.

However, upon his arrival, he did not like the cathedral one bit! Both Bishop Robert Gray and his successor Bishop William West Jones wished for a grander cathedral. Unfortunately, neither lived to see it built.

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, the foundation stone of the new, grander cathedral was laid on 22 August 1901 by the future King George V (Duke of Cornwall and York). The stone bears a cross and the letters AMDG (Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam - To the Greater Glory of God). St George's Cathedral can be seen all the way from the bottom of the Avenue, leading into the Kompanje's Garden. The transept was completed in 1936, and finally made Sir Herbert Baker's design a reality.

The People's Church

St George's Cathedral is affectionately known as the "people's church". During the resistance against apartheid, the church played an important role. During the Grand Parade in 1989, Archbishop Desmond Tutu lead a mass demonstration of 30,000 people to Grand Parade. St George's Cathedral has always kept its door open to people of all races.

But, St George's Cathedral's reputation as being the "people's church" does not only extend to racial matters. Reverend Rowan Smith was one of the first priests to publicly proclaim his sexual identity. Contradictory to what was expected at that time, the congregation of St George's did not reject him for being gay, but accepted him wholly.

The Cathedral offers daily services, music, ministry, labyrinth and a shop.

Review of St George's Cathedral

The Cathedral inspires a holy feeling with it's high ceilings, decorative motifs and stunning architecture. It is a worthwhile experience to walk in this beautiful cathedral and meditate on your Faith.

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