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Destroyed Episcopal cathedral to be rebuilt in Haiti

A proposed sketch of a rebuilt Holy Trinity Cathedral in Haiti. Photo courtesy The Espiscopal Church
A proposed sketch of a rebuilt Holy Trinity Cathedral in Haiti. Photo courtesy The Espiscopal Church

A proposed sketch of a rebuilt Holy Trinity Cathedral in Haiti. Photo courtesy The Espiscopal Church

(RNS) A landmark cathedral that was reduced to rubble in the 2010 earthquake will be resurrected in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Designs to rebuild the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) Cathedral were unveiled Tuesday to the Episcopal Church Executive Council during its Chicago meeting.

It will be twice the size of the destroyed cathedral and will incorporate the bronze bells and three world-famous murals depicting biblical stories with Haitian characters that were salvaged from the ruins of the original church.

The new cathedral is designed to meet international earthquake and hurricane resistant standards and will generate its own electricity and provide its own purified water.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, a landmark Anglican cathedral that was toppled by a massive earthquake a year after the Haiti earthquake is being rebuilt, largely with cardboard tubes.

“The resurrection of Holy Trinity Cathedral offers hope to Episcopalians as well as a nation,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, whose mostly U.S. flock includes the large Diocese of Haiti. “The former cathedral was a spiritual center for the Haitian people, celebrating the creative spirit of God in a nation born in liberation from slavery.”

Like the old cathedral, the new Holy Trinity Cathedral will serve as both a place of worship and a center for the performing arts.

The new design is a collaborative effort among the Diocese of Haiti, the Episcopal Church, the Kerns Group Architects of Arlington, Va., and Studio Drum Architects of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


About the author

Katherine Burgess

Katherine Burgess has lived in California, Cambodia and Tennessee. She has covered subjects as varied as a United Nations tribunal, church leadership conferences and a maximum security prison. She is currently based in Washington, D.C.


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  • Major facepalm moment here. Hundreds of thousands are still homeless in Haiti and they want ti build a church. How many homes or shelters could that money build, how many medical treatments, how much food ? How much of what these people really need, would this money have bought, other than a place full of more false hope and lies. A useless and needless waste of time, money and materials.
    Two hands working are worth more than thousands folded in prayer. I hope no money donated for the Haitian relief is being spent on this waste.

  • Wow, Doug. That’s pretty strong language. I think I understand your outrage, but it turns out that the local church community pled with Episcopal Church leadership to undertake just this rebuilding plan. Folks in the U.S. were mighty uncomfortable with this, for much the reasons you bring up. However, the local community said that the re-building of the Cathedral and its various ministry offices (not just performing arts, I gather) was far more important. Plenty of money pouring in for other relief…not much for the spiritual needs of Haitian Episcopalians.

    Another point to consider is that, for many people around the world, the opportunity to worship in a sacred space, surrounded by the signs of God’s loving presence and power to heal, is not “icing on the cake.” It is the essence of life. Perhaps we are the impoverished ones. Folks I know who travel to and from Haiti have remarked about this matter on numerous occasions.

    With that in mind, our parish gave generously–and with eyes wide open–to this project. I hope you don’t judge us harshly for this.