Grace Cathedral

In one of San Francisco’s hilliest sections sits Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal Cathedral. It was founded in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. It’s an amazing structure and one of our favorite places to visit.

The doors are amazing, we stood there a while to appreciate them. They are reproductions of Lorenzo Ghiberti and called the “Gates of Paradise.”

They feature various works by by Jan Henryk De Rosen and a Keith Haring AIDS altarpiece. The artistic elements of the cathedral are everywhere, down to the labyrinths on the floor, there are two.

Keith Haring

The labyrinths are based on the famous medieval ones at Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chartres in Chartres, France. If a visitor walks the pattern it is said to bring them into a mediative state.

The cathedral had a few incarnations, the first one was built in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. There were a couple other churches after the first historic one. The third one was called Grace Cathedral and was destroyed in the fire that followed after the 1906 earthquake. William Henry Crocker gave his ruined land in Nob Hill for another cathedral to be built.

Today’s Grace Cathedral was designed by architect Lewis P. Hobart in French Gothic style. Construction started in 1928 and was completed in 1964. On August 5, 1984 it was designated a San Francisco Landmark.

They welcome all people and get visitors from all over the world. The cathedral is a place of worship and a venue for marriages, straight and same-sex. No one should tell anyone who they can or cannot love because love is love.

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8 thoughts on “Grace Cathedral

  1. Your photos are beautiful! Kudos again to Vic for taking them. How did he capture the one with the light seeming to beam down from the ceiling? (Photo #8 from the top?)

    It’s been years since I’ve visited the cathedral. The first time I went, I was in awe and even a little creeped out: the space was so big, and yet very intimate. I wondered if God was watching me in there. (I was just 15 at the time and had no experience with Christian worship, having been raised Buddhist.) The Keith Haring altarpiece looks just like the one in St. John the Divine’s in New York. I wonder if Haring had them cast together.

    1. Those are ribbons streaming from the ceiling, think that helped the effect. Maybe the camera too why it came out so good. We like this place a lot. I should look into the Haring piece. I use to love going to Haring’s Gallery on Lafayette St across from the Puck building. It’s been closed for some time now. I really like Haring.

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