170th anniversary of Cathedral consecration

Photo from NB Museum, c. 1900

Christ Church Cathedral is an important architectural and historical landmark in Fredericton, and August 31, 2023 marks the 170th anniversary of its consecration.

The Cathedral was consecrated on August 31, 1853. Bishop Medley wrote in his journal on that day,

"The Cathedral, the corner stone of which was laid October 15, 1845, was consecrated this day. All praise be to God, who has enabled me, amidst many difficulties, to finish it. May the Lord pardon all that is amiss, and make it His holy dwelling place for evermore. Amen."

A description of the events was included in a history of the Cathedral published in 1910, during the episcopacy of Bishop John A. Richardson (1907 - 1938).

Photo from 1910 history booklet

The Consecration was of course performed by the Bishop of the Diocese. There were present also the Bishop of Quebec, Right Reverend G. J. Mountain, the Bishop of Toronto, the Right Reverend John Strachan, and Right Reverend Horatio Southgate, a Bishop of the Church in the United States, besides the Reverend Dr. Haight, of New York, Dr. Edson, of Lowell, Mass., Archdeacon Coster, Rector of Fredericton, Reverend Richard Podmore, Curate of St. Anne's Chapel, Reverend F. Coster, Rector of Carleton, and other Clergy of the diocese to the number of sixty. A procession was formed at 10 a.m. in which were several members of the Bench and Bar in their robes, Officers of the 76th Regiment, the Mayor, and other distinguished inhabitants of the city and neighborhood, attended by boys bearing banners.

The sermon was preached by Bishop Southgate from Ps. cxxii., v. 8, 9. It was an able and eloquent address, expressive of the deep joy felt by the members of the American Church in this event as an earnest of the wider extension of catholic unity.

The music at the consecration service was very fine, and included a beautiful anthem by Dr. George Elvey, organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and was well rendered by a large and efficient choir. The organist was Mr. S. A. Hayter, who had received his training at Salisbury Cathedral. The organ was built by Mr. Naish, who had served his apprenticeship with Walker, the great London organ builder, and who was brought out by the Bishop to do this work.

Photo from 1910 history booklet

The services connected with the consecration of the Cathedral lasted for a week; during which eloquent and appropriate sermons were preached by the Bishop of Quebec, formerly Rector of the Parish of Fredericton; by Dr. Haight, and by Dr. Edson. The Bishop held his first visitation, and delivered his first charge to his clergy on the Thursday of this week. Addresses were presented to the visiting Bishops and Clergy, and also to the Bishop of the Diocese from his clergy, before the proceedings terminated. The crowded congregations, the reverent demeanor of the worshippers, and the large amount of the offertory collections, showed that the great body of the people took a very hearty interest, and an honest pride, in their new Cathedral.

An updated history booklet was published in 1975, during the episcopacy of Bishop Harold L. Nutter (1971-1989).

Learn more about Cathedral history and explore the building virtually.

Mark the anniversary by stopping by on August 31st to explore the Cathedral with our Lead Tour Guide Alex LeBlanc, on the last day of our summer tour season!


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