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Washington National Cathedral - National Fund For Sacred Places
2021 Cohort

Washington National Cathedral

(Episcopal)

Washington, D.C.

Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is the sixth-largest Gothic cathedral in the world and identifies as “a spiritual home for the nation.”

Washington National Cathedral by Craig W. Stapert
Washington National Cathedral by Craig W. Stapert
2021 Cohort

Washington National Cathedral

(Episcopal)

Washington, D.C.

Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is the sixth-largest Gothic cathedral in the world and identifies as “a spiritual home for the nation.”

The cathedral was designed in 1907 by English architect George Bodley and his trainee Henry Vaughan with construction lasting for 83 years. Stone carvings, statues, stained-glass windows, and woodwork across the cathedral contain iconography from American history. Washington National Cathedral lies at the intersection of civic and religious life, serving as an active Episcopal church and gathering place for all Americans at national moments of significance over the past century. The Cathedral Congregation formed in 2006 and 2007 to formally recognize a regular community of worshippers.

The National Cathedral supports its mission of welcoming all people through prayer services, community food drives, and partnerships with other local churches and organizations. A key initiative is the Cathedral Scholars Program, which provides public and charter school students from Washington, D.C., with college readiness skills and academic support. One hundred percent of students from this program have matriculated into college. The cathedral also projects images and messages from important events and movements, such as Pride, Black Lives Matter, and Juneteenth, on the front of the building to spread awareness and promote solidarity.

A $250,000 National Fund grant with $7,203,500 in matching funds raised by the cathedral supported work in discrete sections of a $16 million earthquake repair project. The National Fund-supported work included restoring three buttresses on the south side of the cathedral. The limestone buttresses were reinforced with steel rods, cleaned, and repointed to ensure their structural stability. 

Washington National Cathedral by Danielle E. Thomas

Washington National Cathedral by Danielle E. Thomas

A (Very) Close Look at Washington National Cathedral’s Earthquake Repairs

A little more than four years ago, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Washington National Cathedral. Staff members ran from the Gothic-style building as the carillon bells clanged in the shaking Central Tower. Pinnacles weighing hundreds and even thousands of pounds tumbled down, most of them luckily falling inward onto the structure’s parapets, rather than outward, where they might have caused bodily harm.

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez