Photo: Helena Kubicka de Bragança

The Pulpit Green

At the heart of the Cathedral’s 11.3-acre Close, the shaded and flower-bordered Pulpit Lawn is a pocket of calm in the busy neighborhood.

In the center of the lawn is a 40 foot-high gothic spire of carved Daytona stone. Its four sides bear reliefs of an eagle, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an angel, the symbols of the four Evangelists. The spire was erected in the early phases of the Cathedral’s construction, when services were often held outside, to serve as a proper pulpit for mass.

Funds for the pulpit were given by Olivia Phelps Stokes in memory of her sister, Caroline Phelps Stokes. It was designed by their brother’s architectural firm, Howells and Stokes. The firm’s principal, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, appears in one of the famous society portraits done by John Singer Sargent at the height of his career. The portrait, Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes, was completed in 1897, and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.