St George’s Cathedral, a True and 100% Guyanese Miracle
For those inclined to base their uncommon travels around spiritual enlightenment, Guyana is a good place to go. The country boasts as diverse a collection of ethnicities as anywhere. African, East Indian, European, Chinese and indigenous Amerindian peoples all call Guyana home. This diversity has, in turn, spawned a rich spiritual tradition. Hinduism, Islam, and Rastafari are all followed. The Baha’i Faith is too. As elsewhere in the Caribbean, though, Guyana’s most popular religion is Christianity. Its most enduring symbol: St George’s Cathedral.
Even if it wasn’t so historic, so sacred and revered, St. George’s would still be one of the top must-see attractions in the Caribbean. Reason: it’s among the world’s tallest wooden structures.
St George’s Cathedral soars to a height of 143 feet! Gleaming in stark white, it’s uniquely impressive and inspiring…much like its history.
St George’s Cathedral History
The story of St. George’s dates all the way back to 1810. That’s when the original version was built on the site of what it now St. George’s School. The first St. George’s was small. So small, in fact, that its congregation soon outgrew it. So, plans were made in 1842 for a new, bigger church at its current location in the heart of Georgetown.
This second St George’s Cathedral didn’t last very long. Poor construction rendered the church too hazardous for use soon after it was completed. It was torn down in 1877.
The third and final St George’s opened in 1894. It is this same building, designed and built some 120 years ago, that you can see, visit and worship in today.
So, I guess you can say that the third time was the charm for St. George’s. There is, however, something more to the Saint George’s story. Something that I imagine makes this place particularly special for proud Guyanese, no matter what their beliefs.
Built Guyanese Tough
You see, when that second ill-fated St George’s Cathedral was commissioned, it was built with brick to be exceptionally strong. That obviously didn’t work out too well. This begs the question: Why has the wooden St. George’s endured for all these years in the precise spot where the presumably stronger brick version failed?
The answer, some say, has everything to do with the type of wood used in the construction of St George’s #3.
The miracle wood, Greenheart (Chlorocardium rodiei), is exceedingly strong, durable, resistant to insects, and virtually fireproof.
Most importantly, though, it’s also native to Guyana.
In finalizing the plans for St. George’s #3, church leaders decreed:
Woods of the country and no others were to to be used.
Was this divine architectural planning? Faith in Guyana’s forests? Luck?
Who knows. All I can say is the result is magnificent, not only in its looks, but also in what St. George’s symbolizes for the strength of Guyana.