St. Stephen's House seminarian James Bradley has taken another field trip and brought back some glorious shots of St. Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham. You can find the full set at Flickr.
The Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Chad is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and province of the Catholic Church in Great Britain. The cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Chad of Mercia, was the first Roman Catholic cathedral to be built after the English Reformation (becoming the cathedral formally in 1850 when Pope Pius IX restored the Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales). It is one of only three minor basilicas in England (the others being Downside Abbey and Corpus Christi Priory, the latter now disused).
St Chad’s was built between 1839 and 1841 to serve the rapidly expanding Catholic population in Birmingham through the inspiration of Bishop Thomas Walsh, the Vicar Apostolic of the Central District. It replaced a Georgian classical chapel built in 1808 by William Hollins. The present Cathedral was designed in north German 13th century style by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852), the pioneer of Gothic revival architecture, and was consecrated on 21 June 1841 by Bishop Walsh. The Cathedral is built of brick with Bath stone dressings. The south-west spire was added by Pugin’s eldest son, Edward Welby, in 1856 in memory of Canon John Moore (Administrator 1841-1848).
The Shrine of St. Chad above the High Altar contains some of his relics which were rescued from Lichfield Cathedral at the Reformation. St. Chad, the Apostle of the Midlands, was born in Northumbria, one of four brothers, all of whom became priests. He was educated partly at Lindisfarne under St. Aidan and partly in Ireland. He succeeded his brother St. Cedd as Abbot of Lastingham in Yorkshire in 664. He became Bishop of Mercia in 669 and Wulfhere, first Christian king of Mercia, gave him land to establish his see at Lichfield. Chad was outstanding for his humility and simplicity of life. He died of the plague on 2 March 672. He was at once venerated as a saint and his Shrine in the Cathedral of Lichfield was a place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages.
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