What is a cathedral?

Cathedrals in the Anglican (catholic) tradition are unique as both church buildings and worshipping communities. In the case of Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, the Cathedral is not a parish church but rather exists geographically within the Parish of Fredericton.

The Corporation chair is the Bishop of Fredericton. The word “cathedral” is derived from “cathedra” the seat of the bishop. It is on the door of the cathedral that a newly elected bishop knocks to request his or her “seating” as the episcopal authority of the diocese. Clergy appointed by the Bishop as “canon” are “canons of the Cathedral” and both canons and archdeacons are usually installed there. In Fredericton, they both have specific seating provided in the sanctuary.

Cathedrals serve to provide common worship space for the entire diocese. Synods, ordinations, worship, educational, and other diocesan-wide events often take place in cathedrals.

While the temporal provides physical cues as to the role of a cathedral, it is also ideally representative by holding a unique spiritual role within the diocese. Anglican Cathedrals are flagship churches of their dioceses and for that reason, they often make a concerted effort to represent the very best a diocese has to offer, providing a model for the whole church.

The people who populate the Cathedral congregation are similar in many ways to every other faithful Anglican in any parish. At the same time, being representative of the whole diocese, additional resources often make it possible to occupy a unique leadership role, striving to be centres of excellence and best practices in ministry of social justice, mission, hospitality, christian education and formation, worship, pastoral care, stewardship, and in the support, encouragement, and promotion of music and the arts.

Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton is a visible face of Anglicanism, not only in the capital city of Fredericton but for the entire Province of New Brunswick and beyond.