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How to Build a Cathedral

How to Build a Cathedral

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How to Build a Cathedral: The great cathedrals were the wonders of the medieval world – the tallest buildings since the pyramids and the showpieces of medieval Christianity. Yet they were built at a time when most of us lived in hovels.



 

 

Architectural historian Jon Cannon explores who the people were that built them and how they were able to achieve such a bold vision.

 

How to Build a Cathedral

 

Cathedrals were massive buildings built for religious worship. They also showed the power of the Roman Catholic church. The cathedrals also caused rivalries between city.

There were master quarrymen, plasterers, mortar-makers, stone cutters and masons. Then there were the men that were common laborers. Most of the men worked on the buildings because the church told them that if they helped build the cathedrals, their sins would be forgiven. Most were also paid. Many workers were needed because the cathedrals were so large and there was so much tho do.

A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra (Latin for “seat”) of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of “cathedral” are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches.

The word “cathedral” is derived from the French cathédrale, from the Latin cathedra (“seat”), from the Greek καθέδρα kathédra, “seat, bench”, from κατά kata “down” and ἕδρα hedra “seat, base, chair.”

The word refers to the presence and prominence of the bishop’s or archbishop’s chair or throne, raised above both clergy and laity, and originally located facing the congregation from behind the High Altar. In the ancient world, the chair, on a raised dais, was the distinctive mark of a teacher or rhetor and thus symbolises the bishop’s role as teacher. A raised throne within a basilican hall was also definitive for a Late Antique presiding magistrate; and so the cathedra also symbolises the bishop’s role in governing his diocese.

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How to Build a Cathedral
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How to Build a Cathedral: The great cathedrals were the wonders of the medieval world - the tallest buildings since the pyramids