COVINGTON, Ky. – It’s technically unfinished.
But the “finished” parts of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption – inside and out – make the Covington building arguably the most ornate and stately edifice in all of Northern Kentucky:
- A stunning 67-foot by 24-foot mosaic of color deemed the world’s largest stained-glass window in a church.
- 32 gargoyles and 26 chimeras standing “watchful guard against evil spirits.”
- An interior and façade, respectively, modeled after two Paris institutions: the Abbey church of St. Denis and Notre Dame Cathedral.
To acknowledge “an art and architectural gem that will be treasured for centuries,” the City of Covington has adopted a new name for two blocks anchored by the building, which as home to St. Mary’s Parish is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington.
The newly designated “Cathedral Square” acknowledges the history, significance, and distinctiveness of the area between 11th Street and M.L. King Jr. Boulevard/12th Street and Scott Boulevard and the CSX Transportation railroad tracks, according to an order passed Tuesday night by the Covington Board of Commissioners.
In addition to the Basilica, the area includes 79-year-old Covington Latin School; the Cathedral Lyceum, which houses the Diocesan offices; the Parish Office of the Cathedral; and St. Mary’s Park.
Books have been written about the Basilica’s construction, history, and architectural complexities, but here are a few facts from its website and other places:
- Ground was broken in 1894 and the stop-and-start construction ended for all practical purposes in 1915.
- “Basilica” isn’t a generic name but an exalted status gained because of a building’s age, dignity, historical importance, and/or significance as a center of worship. There are only four “major” basilicas in the world, all in Rome. The Covington church is one of 89 “minor” basilicas in the United States and the 8th to gain such status, back in 1953. St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati was the 89th to gain that status, in June of this year.
- The Covington Basilica’s architectural design is Gothic, boasting an internal ribbed (or groin) vault tying together an array of arches and a twin-towered external design. The church contains 82 stained-glass windows, including the stunning 67-foot by 24-foot window at the north transept.
For a virtual tour of the Cathedral, see HERE.