The New Rev.

Walking up to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. You can’t really tell from this shot but this is really a big, freaking cathedral.


The brand new Rev. Diane Reiners (with Paula, Dennis and Carter). There was a lot of singing during the ordination—two hymns were arranged by none other than Ralph Vaughan Williams! I tried singing the harmony he’d written for those two, and had trouble at first. After a lifetime of singing soprano, I have a hard time finding notes “underneath.” But I managed it in the end. Very satisfying.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “The New Rev.

  1. According to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s website, it’s the biggest freaking cathedral in the world! (They, of course, have left out the word “freaking.”)

  2. Fascinating history. It started out as a Romanesque design, that’s why the columns behind the chancel look so un-Gothic. They worked on it in bursts. The main nave looks really 20th century Gothic, like Riverside Church, as opposed to the very 19th century style of much of the rest of the building.
    I saw some Sufi Moslems there many years ago, doing their Dervish music. Basically Arab music, the guy played a violin in his lap. It all swirled and mixed up to the top of the building and reverberated down. It made you realize that Medieval music would have sounded just right in such a space, and also made me realize why a lot of 18th and 19th orchestral century music sounds so bad in places like that. Much too long a reverb. The sound gets totally muddled.
    Wonderful building.
    Interesting to compare it with Washington National Cathedral, which is almost as large, but finally complete, and all of a piece, design-wise.

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