Chicago Architecture Info

Holy Name Cathedral

735 North State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654
Basic Information
Designed by Patrick Charles Keely
Type Holy Place
Maximum height 210 feet/63 meters
Maximum length 233 feet/70 meters
Neighborhood: Near North Side
More Information
  • Seating capacity: 1,520
  • The main organ was made in 1989 by Flentrop Orgelbouw in Zaandam, The Netherlands and has 5,558 pipes in 71 stops.
  • The sanctuary organ was made by Casavant Frères in 1981 and has 1,284 pipes in 19 stops.
  • The five bas reliefs behind the altar were executed in 1969 by Atilo Selva. They depict Simeon contemplating the baby Jesus at his presentation to the Temple, the mystery of the Trinity, the resurrection of Jesus, the naming and circumcision of Jesus, and Jesus dressed as a priest for mass.
  • In the early 1900's the building was cut in half and one half moved 15 feet eastward in order to accommodate additional people.
  • The abstract stained glass windows were made in Milan, Italy.
  • The stained glass windows are dark red and blue near the main entrance and gradually turn gold and white as they approach the altar.
  • The altar is a single six-ton slab of red-black granite from Argentina. Its base is decorated with scenes of sacrifice from the Bible.
  • The Bronze doors and the glass screen which separates the foyer from the main church were designed by Albert J. Friscia.
  • The Resurrection Crucifix was made of wood by Ivo Demetz.
  • The Stations of the Cross were made of red marble by Goffredo Verginelli.
  • The lectern on the left side of the church features a bronze sculpture by Eugenio de Courten depicting allegories of Matthew (an angel), Mark (a lion), Luke (an ox), and John (an eagle).
  • De Courten also did the lectern on the right side of the cathedral depicts Peter (with the keys), Paul (with the sword), James, and Jude (with the whip).
  • The panels of the Bishop's throne depict Peter, Jesus, and Paul.
  • 1846: The Chapel of the Holy Name opened at Saint Mary of the Lake University in what is now Chicago's Near North Side.
  • 1849: An independent Chapel of the Holy Name was erected on North State Street between East Superior Street and East Huron Street.
  • December 25, 1854: The new Holy Name Church was built at North State and East Superior Streets.
  • 1859: Bishop James Duggan elevated Holy Name to cathedral status.
  • 1871: The cathedral was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire.
  • 1874: Construction began on the current cathedral.
  • 1875: Construction finished on the current cathedral.
  • 1890: Foundation problems lead to a near total reconstruction of the cathedral, including replacing the buttresses and bracing the steeple.
  • 1939: When Cardinal Mundelein died the State Street Subway was being built. The street had to be quickly rebuilt for the funeral.
  • 1968: The cathedral was gutted for foundation repairs and at the same time a chapel was added and the interior redesigned to accommodate changes in the mass promulgated by Vatican II.
  • 1979: Pope John Paul II attends two concerts at Holy Name Cathedral, one featuring Luciano Pavarotti, and the other the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • February 13, 2008: The cathedral closed after a chunk of the ceiling came loose and fell 70 feet onto the pews below. No one was hurt.
  • November, 2008: The cathedral reopens to the public.
  • February, 2009: The cathedral's gift shop closed.
  • February 4, 2009: Fire broke out in this cathedral the early morning hours.