Photographer's Note

A worship at inside of 175 year old The Roman Catholic " Ss. Peter and Paul " Cathedral of Paramaribo, located at Gravenstraat is the largest wooden cathedral in the world.

Also reputed to be the largest wooden building in the Americas.

HISTORY (from information plate) :

After the first Roman Catholic church In Surinam burned down during the great fire of 1821, the R.C Minion purchased the empty wooden Jewish theatre “De Verrezene Phoenix” at Gravenstraat (now Henck Arronstraat) on March 24, 1824. Under the supervision of architect W. de Vroome, the theatre was converted to a church, and a six-sided tower with dome was added. The following text was placed on façade “In isto transfigurato loco offeri nunc soli Deo vero” (In this transformed place we bring offerings now to the one true God). The new church was consecrated on March 4, 1826 and dedicated to St. Peter and Paul.

Restorations and expansions began in 1869 under the supervision of Monsignor Swinkels. Yet the building kept having problems, in spite of constant repairs, improvements and expansions. In 1882, after nearly 50 years, the authorities urged the closure of the church due to the increased danger of collapse. The current Cathedral thus dates from 1882/1883 when Monsignor J. Schaap, the Apostolic Vicar, ordered the construction of a new church. The foundation stone of the main altar was laid on January 1, 1883, and the new church was built around the old one. The design was by Father Franciscus Harmes, who designed many buildings for the Roman Catholic Church after his arrival in Suriname in 1866, including churches in Coronie, Batavia and other locations.

The consecration of the still unfinished church took place on July 10, 1885, while the clocks were dedicated in August. The first Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Schaap on November 1, 1885, The main altar was consecrated on March 19, 1887.

The splendid Maarschalkerweerdt organ was installed in 1890, and the simple tent roofs were replaced with neo-Gothic spires in 1901.

When the Vicarate of Suriname became the Diocese of Paramaribo in 1958, the church became a cathedral

The Cathedral is a unique example of Roman Catholic architecture. It is the largest wooden building in Suriname, and possibly in the America's. The wooden Cathedral is large: It Is 65.72 meters long,18.72 meters broad and 25.82 meters at the transept. A daring enterprise for that time. The most interesting aspect is the use of wood for construction and decoration, including greenheart for the construction and cedar for the interior.

You may have a look an exterior view here largest wooden cathedral in the world

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Additional Photos by Ertugrul Kilic (parbo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2432 W: 15 N: 3160] (11092)
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