Tuesday, April 4, 2006

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Illinois and serves the people of Belleville and the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, which includes all of southern Illinois. In 1842 a parish was established on a location to the east of the present cathedral that was named St. Barnabas the Apostle, the name being changed five years later to the Church of St. Peter. In 1863 a new, larger brick church was built on the present site to accommodate the rapidly growing parish. In 1887 this church became St. Peter’s Cathedral and seat of the new Diocese of Belleville and was nearly destroyed by fire in 1912 with only the exterior brick walls remaining. The present cathedral was modeled in the English Gothic style after the Cathedral of Exeter, one of the smaller but more beautiful cathedrals in England. In 1956 the brick walls were refaced with Winona splitface dolomite and trimmed with Indiana limestone. In 1966 St. Peter’s Cathedral underwent a major renovation of the sanctuary and saw the addition of the south end of the Cathedral bringing its seating capacity to its present 1,270 people.