Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
Charleston, SC 29401
Hours: Open to the public
Monday - Friday: 9:00a to 4:00p
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, built in 1854, was the first brownstone cathedral. But, it was destroyed in the Charleston Fire in December 1861. It took 45 years of fund-raising to begin rebuilding the present cathedral. The cornerstone for the new cathedral was laid in January, 1890 and was opened in 1907. The cathedral was renamed Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and is a magnificent structure that is built on the foundation of the old cathedral.
The structure of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is Connecticut tool-chiseled brownstone. Over each entrance are unique stained glass windows including the Papal coat of arms and the seal of the state of South Carolina. The pews are carved Flemish oak and the three original altars are of white Vermont marble.
The Cathedral seats 720 people and is noted for its Franz Mayer & Co. stained glass windows and hand painted Stations of the Cross, and neo-gothic architecture. The spire was not built at the time due to the lack of funds during the construction of the cathedral and its numerous renovations. The church was finally completed on March 25, 2010 with the addition of the steeple with bells. The Cathedral with its new spire is the seventh tallest building in the city. The spire is covered in copper lattice and is topped with a 16x9 foot gilded copper Celtic cross.
In the nave are 14 large two-light windows, representing the Life of Christ from His Nativity to the Ascension. Above the high altar is a five-light window copied from Leonardo DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” The rose window above it is the Baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist. In the clerestory of the sanctuary are windows honoring the four evangelists.