St. Peter in Chains Cathedral
This evening Roger and I went to a concert at St. Peter in Chains Catholic Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati. The building has had a checkered history. Construction began in May 1841, and it was dedicated on November 2 1845. Over the years that followed it underwent many changes. However, late in the century, despite the efforts of each generation to maintain it, it slowly deteriorated, reflecting the decline in its neighborhood. By the 1920s it was far from a fashionable part of town. In 1938, St. Monica Church in Clifton became the new cathedral, and St. Peter in Chains was left to suffer further effects of time and decay in the inner city.
In 1950, based upon the 1948 master plan devised for the rebirth of the downtown, Archbishop Karl J. Alter announced "We are going home!" The restoration and expansion of the historic building became a major effort for the people of the archdiocese over the next six years; the cost of bringing the Cathedral to its present state exceeded five million dollars.
Work began by 1953: shoring up the foundation, building transepts and adding a new sanctuary, sacristies and rectory/convent complex. The renovation and expansion was plagued by delays and unexpected problems. Long-closed old quarries had to be reopened to provide the same white Dayton limestone. The southern and western edges of the property presented soft, sandy ground deep beneath the surface. Nevertheless, years of planning and work culminated in the rededication of the Cathedral on November 3, 1957.
The concert featured the Estonian Chamber Choir with the Tallin Chamber Orchestra in a program of music by Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür (both contemporary Estonian composers and Antonio Vivaldi. The concert was introduced by Paavo Jarvi, the Estonian born conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra