Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

The largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania


Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

Credit: T. O’Keefe


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Opened in 1864, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter of Paul serves as the principal or Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as it houses the chair or “cathedra” of the Archbishop.

The largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania, the Basilica was modeled after the Lombard Church of St. Charles in Rome and is the only cathedral in the United States built in the Roman-Corinthian architectural style.

With its massive stone columns and highly recognizable great dome, the Basilica is Philadelphia’s largest brownstone structure. It was designed by Philadelphia architect Napoleon LeBrun, whose notable work includes the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and John Notman, who also designed St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

Throughout the interior of the great dome are paintings by Constantino Brumidi, famed painter of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

Inside the sacred structure, visitors will discover various shrines, altars, statues and art. For additional information during your visit, look for the helpful Cathedral Ambassors dressed in maroon blazers.

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