Haitian Cathedral designs presented to Executive Council

Posted Oct 15, 2013

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Featuring both worship and community space, and boasting twice the size of the destroyed cathedral, designs for the new Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Diocese of Haiti) were  unveiled to the Episcopal Church Executive Council during its meeting in Chicago.

“The resurrection of Holy Trinity Cathedral offers hope to Episcopalians as well as a nation,” commented Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “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 people of the Exodus, Haitians know their radical dependence on God, live in hope for a promised future, and celebrate their creation in the image of God through music, dance, the arts, and deeply reverent liturgy.  Their hope-filled witness is a gift of good news to the world.  And the world’s partnership in reconstruction is a gift that will bear fruit thirty- and sixty- and a hundred-fold.”

Destroyed in the 2010 devastating earthquake, the new Holy Trinity Cathedral will be built on the same site as the former edifice.

“The Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince once completed will be the iconic symbol of the Episcopal Church in Haiti,” noted Diocese of Haiti Bishop Zache Duracin. “The first phase of this project is emotional. The last phase will be physical. We have various skilled people involved in this emotional process. We have consulted widely, especially in Haiti and elsewhere for this creative vision. The key to creativity in this project has been to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blue print of the desired result. Today we are presenting that blue print.’’

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.

Features of the new cathedral include:
• Space for 1,200 with seating in a circular fashion around a central altar platform.

• Designed to international earthquakes and hurricane resistant standards.

• A central, massive dome that envelopes the primary worship space.

• Self-sufficiency by generating its own electricity, providing its own purified water and supplying its own telecommunications.

• Incorporation of historic features salvaged from the ruins, including 3 of the 14 world-famous murals depicting Biblical stories with Haitian characters, as well as the bronze bells from the former Cathedral tower.

• A hospitality/administrative area with meeting rooms, public restrooms and administrative offices clustered around a two-story atrium; these areas will be leased to generate additional income.

In addition to being a place of worship, the new Cathedral is expected to be a prominent center for the performing arts.