A Cathedral find

In a city that boasts enormous and magnificent religious structures like the National Cathedral and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there is one gem of a cathedral in the middle of a neighborhood that goes mostly unnoticed.

Buildings don’t really hide obviously, but there are a few hidden marvels every now and then that get overshadowed. A few months back I was walking from my job to meet Claudia and I ran across one such structure.

The Cathedral of St. Matthews is a pretty plan brick building that from the outside doesn’t call much attention to its self among the “high rises” of the Dupont Circle Neighborhood. The simple brick façade certainly doesn’t compare to the massive stone structures that are throughout DC. Aside from one semi circle mosaic over the entrance one would never realize the elegantly decorated vast space that lies within.

The interior has just several amazing works of art. Several religious murals surround the alter, coffered vaulted ceilings lead to the clearstory windows of the central dome, and numerous mosaics are found on the side alters.

The cathedral also has a vast history that to a degree also gets overshadowed. It was built in 1893, and was the location for the funeral of President John F. Kennedy (a memorial marks were the casket was during the service). I don’t know what this means, maybe some of the more religious people do, but it is also the seat of the Archbishop of Washington. And in 1979 Pope John Paul II held mass at St. Matthew’s.

If you are in DC, and looking at the religious buildings in the area….by all means don’t skip the National Cathedral or the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (more on those later), as those structures are amazing on their own right. But if you are in the Dupont Circle Neighborhood, swing by and take a look, you will be pleasantly surprised.


The Cathedral of St. Mathews is located of the corner of Conneticut Ave and Rhode Island, at 1735 Rhode Island Ave.


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