FAQ

What kind of church is this?
St. John the Divine is an Episcopal church. It is the Cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Is the Cathedral the largest church in the world?
St. John is the largest Cathedral in the world, meaning a church that is also the seat of a Bishop. Measured by length or internal volume, it is one of the five largest church buildings in the world.

How old is the Cathedral?
Construction of the Cathedral began in 1892, making it over 120 years old.

Why is the Cathedral unfinished? When will it be completed?
Like the great Medieval cathedrals and churches of the world, St. John the Divine will continue to be constructed over many decades. Currently, funding is directed to prioritize serving the community through our programming and social initiatives, and to maintaining the architectural integrity of the Cathedral.

Is the Cathedral landmarked?
The Cathedral does not carry official landmark status due to ongoing discussion about whether to landmark only the Cathedral building or the entire Close. The Cathedral’s Madeleine L’Engle Library, located in Diocesan House, was designated a Literary Landmark by the American Library Association in 2012.

Does the Cathedral have stained glass by Tiffany & Co.?
The Cathedral no longer holds any Tiffany & Co. glass. During the first stage of the Cathedral’s construction, services were held in the crypt, which was furnished with a marble and glass chapel designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The chapel was reacquired by Tiffany after 1916. It is currently on display at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida.

When/where was the fire?
In December 2001, a six-alarm fire destroyed the Cathedral’s gift shop, then located in the unfinished North Transept, and caused severe smoke damage to the Crossing, Nave, and nearby chapels. After a multi-year process of cleaning and restoration, during which fire-damaged portions of the Cathedral were closed to the public, the Cathedral reopened in full splendor in November 2008.

Are services held at the Cathedral? When are services?
Monday through Saturday services are held at 8 am, 12:15 pm, and 5 pm, with additional Eucharist services at 8:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sunday services are held at 8 am, 9 am, and 11 am, with Choral Evensong at 4 pm.

When is the Blessing of the Animals? Blessing of the Bikes?
The St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals occurs on the first Sunday of October. The Blessing of the Bikes occurs on a Saturday in mid- to late April, at the start of the cycling season. Please see the Calendar for the confirmed date.

How large is the congregation?
While Cathedrals traditionally do not have their own congregations, St. John the Divine is home to the Congregation of Saint Saviour, which operates independently from the Cathedral. The congregation has approximately 400 members.

Can I be married/baptized/buried here?
Marriages, baptisms, and burials are performed regularly at the Cathedral. Cathedral clergy officiate at all marriage ceremonies, including interfaith and same-sex marriages. Individuals may be interred in the Columbarium regardless of religious affiliation.

Can I visit on my own or do you require a tour to visit?
Self-guided visits are welcome, and tours are not required. Information brochures are available in multiple languages. Visitors interested in exploring the upper levels of the Cathedral may register for one of the regularly offered guided Vertical Tours. Please contact the Department of Public Education and Visitor Services at (212) 932-7347 or education@stjohndivine.org for additional information.

Can I schedule a private tour?
Yes. Private tours may be scheduled by contacting the Department of Public Education and Visitor Services at (212) 932-7347 or education@stjohndivine.org.

Is the Cathedral wheelchair accessible?
Yes. The ground floor of the Cathedral is accessible via the driveway and ramp, located to the left of the main doors, with lift access to the apsidal chapels, Great Choir, and High Altar. Due to the nature of the building, the Vertical Tour, Within the Walls, and Crypt Crawl tour spaces are not wheelchair accessible.

What is the cost of entry?
There is a suggested donation of $10 with entry to support our programming, community initiatives, and maintenance of the building.

Is there a gift shop?
Visitors may purchase vigil candles, postcards, books, t-shirts, glow-in-the-dark buttons, and a variety of other items at the Cathedral’s Pop-Up Shop, located at the Visitor Center.

Is luggage or coat check available?
There is no luggage or coat check available.

Are there restaurants near the Cathedral?
Morningside Heights is packed with cafes and restaurants. In immediate proximity to the Cathedral are the Hungarian Pastry Shop and V&T Pizzeria, both between 110th and 111th streets on Amsterdam Avenue, facing the Close. Within five blocks of the Cathedral along Amsterdam or Broadway are French, Mexican, Korean, Chinese, American, Thai, and Indian restaurants.

Where are the Gospel singers?
While Gospel singers are heard on occasions such as the Winter Solstice concert, the Cathedral’s regular choir is not a Gospel choir, and performs a wide variety of pieces for large masses and other Cathedral events.