Grace Cathedral, San FranciscoGrace Cathedral Anglicanism Portal
Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral located on Nob Hill in San Francisco, California. It is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of California, once state-wide in area, now comprising parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. The cathedral community is known for its open-mindedness, and is willing to accept teachings from religions besides Christianity.Three-quarters view of cathedral From California Street
The Cathedral has become an international pilgrimage center for church-goer and visitor alike, famed for its replica of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise, two labyrinths, varied stained glass windows, Keith Haring AIDS Chapel altarpiece, and medieval and contemporary furnishings, as well as its 44 bell carillon, three organs, and choirs.
It contains one of only seven remaining Episcopal men and boys cathedral choirs, the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, along with two other choirs with its corresponding boys K-8 school in the United States, along with Washington National Cathedral. Its director of music and choirmaster is Jeffery Smith.
Its ancestral parish, Grace Church, was founded in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The Cathedral is the daughter of historic Grace Church. The first little chapel was built in the gold rush year of 1849, and the imposing third church, for a time called Grace "Cathedral", was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 earthquake. The railroad baron/banker Crocker family gave their ruined Nob Hill property for a diocesan cathedral, which took its name and founding congregation from the nearby parish.
Mark Twain was to satirize the church's efforts to find a short-term rector in the 1860's and 1870s. Among the short term rectors were roll film inventor Hannibal Goodwin and James Smith Bush great-grandfather of former US President George H. W. Bush and great-great-grandfather of current US President George W. Bush.
Dean J. Wilmer Gresham nurtured the young cathedral and work began on the present structure in 1928. Designed in French Gothic style by Lewis P. Hobart, it was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation.
The Ghiberti Doors
The cathedral entrance has an impressive pair of doors, called the Ghiberti Doors. For years, it was believed that they had been removed from a Renaissance church in Florence—possibly the Duomo—but it is now known that a philanthropist, Charles D. Field, hired a contemporary sculptor to take plaster casts of the original doors made by Lorenzo Ghiberti and mounted on the Baptistry of Florence (next to the Duomo) and make replicas of the originals. The replicas were then shipped to San Francisco and installed on the newly-completed church in time for its official dedication in 1964.
Curiously, the original Ghiberti Doors are no longer installed on the Baptistry: Conservators have decided that they must be preserved in a totally dry, controlled atmosphere. The doors now on the Baptistry are also modern replicas, installed in 1990. The originals, after cleaning and restoration, toured various U.S. museums from 2005 to 2007. 
The LabyrinthThe Labyrinth on the floor of Grace Cathedral
The Labyrinth on the floor of Chartres
Laid out on the floor of Grace Cathedral is a labyrinth that is based on the famous medieval labyrinth of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres ( The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres) located in Chartres, France. It is said that if a visitor walks the pattern of the labyrinth, it will bring them to a meditative state.  There is also another labyrinth outside of the cathedral in its courtyards.
- ^ Years of Grace, Part I: Chapel to "Cathedral" - gracecathedral.org - Retrieved January 8, 2007
- ^ http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/10/16/arts/design/16loan.html - accessed 10/29/2007
- ^ Lubow, Arthur. Smithsonian 18:8 (November 2007). The article doesn't mention the San Francisco copies, but has some good photographs of the originals.
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