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Cathedral of the Incarnation, Nashville, Tennessee

Photo courtesy of the Cathedral of the Incarnation

Spotlight On...
Cathedral of the Incarnation,
Nashville, TN

The Cathedral of the Incarnation is the second parish in the Diocese of Nashville. Construction of the cathedral began in 1910, lasted four and a half years and was formally dedicated on July 26, 1914.

The cathedral resembles a typical Roman basilica: rectangular in shape serving as a court of law during the Roman Empire. The exterior is comprised of yellow glazed brick and a red tile roof which was modeled after the church of San Martino ai Monti in Rome. The tower, rising 100 feet above the Cathedral, is a replica of St. Damase in Rome.

The cathedral interior is decorated in 13th-century Italian Renaissance style. Just two of the many beautiful features are the ceiling and clerestory windows. The ceiling is made of an ornamental plaster called rigalico. Upon the plaster, symbols associated with the death of Jesus are placed in the north end of the nave, while His birth is represented near the sanctuary on the south end. The clerestory windows were designed to provide light and to focus one's attention on the sanctuary. They include blue-flashed glass hand blown in France, antique lead crystal glass, a clear glass that forms a checkerboard effect, prisms and floral patterns made from glass paint. On sunny days, the prisms cast rainbows throughout the Cathedral.

To learn more about the architecture and history of the Cathedral of the Incarnation and the Diocese of Nashville, please visit their websites at or

To see previous Church Spotlights, click here.

Most Rev. David Raymond Choby

Photo courtesy of the
Diocese of Nashville

Most Rev. David Raymond Choby
Bishop of the Diocese of Nashville, TN
See full biography

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Nashville coat of arms

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Copyright 2009 Paulist Press