Proclaiming God through Expressive Arts


A work of art in its own right, the Philadelphia Cathedral houses a magnificent collection of soaring vaults, exquisite stained glass, art, tradition, and innovation. The Very Reverend Richard Giles is dean of the cathedral. “When it comes to the environment of worship,” Giles says, “we should never underestimate the influence of our building upon the way we think about God, about each other, and about the relative importance of the activity we have come together to engage in.”

For Giles, this includes the visual arts and the cathedral’s artist in residence program. The Philadelphia Cathedral is one of several around the country that plays host to a community of artists and artisans whose works contribute to approaching and understanding faith. A multimedia video featuring the cathedral’s program is available here. Additional information about the Arts at the Philadelphia Cathedral, under the direction of Riyehee Hong, Director of Music and the Arts, may be found here.

Dean Giles urges the chuch to reclaim its time-honored tradition as patron of the arts. He writes, ”The choice between re-ordering a church building and feeding the poor is like the choice between sunshine and rain; we need both … The church has for most of its history proclaimed God through expressive arts, and this is no time to be abdicating that role, allowing the city art gallery or the shopping mall to usurp its honored place.” – by the Very Reverend Richard Giles, Dean, The Cathedral Church of the Savior, Philadelphia in Re-Pitching the Tent: Reordering the Church Building for Worship and Mission, SCM Canterbury Press, 2004.

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