After nearly seven years of restoration after a December 18, 2001 fire, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine today is returned to its full glory:
The rededication signifies the return of the whole cathedral — all 601 feet of it — to useful life.
Since a fire on Dec. 18, 2001, one part of the cathedral after another has been closed for cleaning, refurbishing and restoration. Now, from the bronze doors on the west front to the stained-glass windows in the easternmost chapel, the cathedral seems to have shed not only the mantle of destructive smoke, soot and water stains (for the most part), but also the general dulling brought on by more than a century of hard use.
. . .
It does not seem unreasonable to think that the cathedral has not looked this good since it was first dedicated, on Nov. 30, 1941, after the nave was completed. As 10,000 people watched, immense gray curtains parted at the east end of the nave, permitting a view all the way to the apse.
“The entire length of this building, America’s greatest cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, now stands open for the worship of God and for the blessing and inspiration of men,” Bishop William T. Manning declared in his sermon that day. He added that he hoped the towers, the crossing and the north transept might be finished while he was still bishop.