Our Facility

Trinity Cathedral is an accumulation of buildings dating from the consecration of All Saints' church in 1896 to the completion of the Cathedral in 1954, and the addition of Trinity Academy in 1965. Walking through Trinity Cathedral in the order in which it was built provides visitors with a good sense of its development over the past century. This guide details just many of the architectural features that enrich every visit to the Cathedral complex. Tours are offered at various times of the year, and always on Cathedral Sunday, the first Sunday in June.

Synod Hall

All Saints’ Church (1896) — now known as Synod Hall — is the oldest building in the Cathedral complex. Its striking wooden beam ceiling is replicated in two of its successor churches — All Saints’ Chapel and the Cathedral. Synod Hall was deconsecrated in 1928 upon the opening of All Saints’ Chapel. Its renewal as a diocesan and parish hall was underwritten by Ferdinand W. Roebling, Jr. For many years, annual diocesan conventions were held in it. It serves as the principal meeting area at the Cathedral and is often used by community groups for classes, dances and parties. Synod Hall was also adopted by the diocesan chapter of the Episcopal Church and Visual Arts (ECVA) as its primary exhibition space.
Read More
The rose window located in the choir loft reflects the symbols of the Christian trinity: the Sacrificial Lamb, the Book of the Seven Seals to be opened upon Judgment Day and seven doves representing the gifts of the Holy Spirit — knowledge, wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. The vine with 12 branches additionally represents Christ and his apostles. This choir area has been converted into a multi-purpose area which has served Academy staff and our outreach ministries.

The windows at the side of Synod Hall depict saints and leaders with special links to the Anglican Communion and Trinity Cathedral. St. Helier (circa 540 A.D.), the patron saint of the Isle of Jersey, was beheaded by pirates wielding broad axes. The instrument of his death is incorporated into his coat of arms. The first bishop of New Jersey, the Rt. Rev. John Croes, is honored in the fifth window, as is St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The altar reredos on the wall facing the rose window includes the seal of the Diocese of New Jersey and below, the shields of the apostles in the order in which they are named in the Gospel of Matthew. Altar frontals are stored in the cabinet beneath the reredos.
Synod Hall

All Saints’ Chapel

All Saints’ Chapel (which succeeded Synod Hall in 1928 as All Saints’ Church) is also known as the Bishop Ralph Ernest Urban Memorial Chapel in honor of Trinity Cathedral’s first dean. A photo of Bishop Urban hangs just inside the Chapel. All Saints’ Chapel provides worshipers and visitors perhaps the most European feel of all the areas of the Cathedral complex. It was constructed in 1927 and features an exquisite carved rood screen separating the nave from the chancel. “Rood” is the Anglo-Saxon word for “cross” and fittingly, atop the screen in the center, is a portrayal of the crucifixion with Mary and John the Beloved Disciple flanking the crucified Savior.
Read More
The windows of the chancel were constructed in the 15th century Gothic style and clearly affirm this sanctuary as a traditional Lady Chapel. The windows depict important persons and events in the life of Mary, the Mother of God, including:
her mother, Anne;
Anne and her father, Joachim, at Mary’s presentation at the temple;
her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, who, recognizing Mary as the woman who will bear the Savior, proclaims, “Blessed art thou among women”; and,
in the sole window on the Epistle side of the chancel, the Flight into Egypt of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus.

In the chapel’s nave, the windows of the Gospel (left side, when facing the altar) feature major Old Testament prophets in the upper panels and corresponding scenes from the life of Jesus in the lower panels. On the opposite wall, the lives of important saints in the Anglican tradition — Paul, Pantaleon, Luke, Hilda of Whitby and Ethelredda — are honored. The baptistry windows at the right rear of the chapel and the large window directly above the altar were fashioned by the internationally known stained glass studio founded in London by Charles Eamer Kempe. His studio’s logo, a sheaf of wheat, can be found on the lower left panel of each window. Additional windows made by the Kempe studio can be found elsewhere in the chapel.

The small stations of the cross mounted between the windows have had an interesting history. The original set of stations was stolen while being restored. Fortunately, the patron who commissioned the original stations had photographed each before they were removed. These photographs and the text of the passion were given to a Chinese immigrant artist to guide his work in producing a new set of stations. His strikingly stark portrayals of Christ’s walk to Calvary are compelling and thought-provoking. It is said that upon the completion of his work, the artist converted to Christianity. The original set of 14 stations had been made for use in an Eastern Orthodox setting. In the Eastern tradition, the order of the stations begins on the right (when facing the altar), continues in a clockwise fashion around the back of the church and ends on the left. However, when the stations were hung in All Saints Chapel, they were hung in the opposite order (starting on the left and continuing counterclockwise to the right) adopted in most Western churches. Consequently, the keen observer will note that from station to station, Christ walks backwards on his way to Calvary.

The tower atop the chapel holds three bells. These were a gift by the City of Trenton to the original Trinity Church on Academy Street in thanksgiving for the end of the Civil War in 1865. They were remounted in the present bell tower in 1931 when the Trinity Church and All Saints’ parishes were merged to form Trinity Cathedral. The area above the chapel narthex has been converted into administrative offices.
All Saints’ Chapel

The Crypt

The third church constructed at Trinity Cathedral was the crypt. Construction began in 1935 and was completed in 1936. In walking through the crypt, visitors are struck by the massive strength of its Norman-style design and construction characterized by rounded arches and octagonal pillars. Its dimensions are 169 feet long by 75 feet wide. Its rounded ceiling appears to be much higher than its 16-foot peak. Its massive, poured concrete columns were designed to hold a load of 4,700 tons and are decorated simply with waved line insets. A recent re-painting of the crypt highlights the strength of these columns.
Read More
The architect of the crypt was Samuel Mountford of the P.L. Fowler Company of Trenton. It was constructed by Karno-Smith Company. Ferdinand Roebling, Jr. paid for the crypt’s construction. His contribution of this space is acknowledged by a plaque on the northeastern wall of the nave. Roebling was the first person confirmed in the crypt in January 1935, circumstances having prevented his confirmation as a youth. Just six months later, Mr. Roebling died. His funeral was the first held in the crypt.

The crypt floor is more than 20 feet below grade. However, its builders wanted natural light to illuminate the stained glass windows. Deep window wells or moats were dug around much of the crypt to reduce the sense of a subterranean worship space. The placement of the windows reveals the great depth of the crypt’s walls, measuring up to 6 feet, 8 inches.

From 1936 through 1954, the crypt served as the Cathedral of the Diocese. During the first years of its use as the Cathedral, Sunday worshipers were greeted by ushers dressed in spats, striped trousers and swallow-tailed vests. Lush velvet curtains framed the west entrance.

The crypt’s high altar of sandstone was transferred from the original Trinity Church. The altar is framed by two openings, through which brilliant blue stained glass windows can be glimpsed. The altar features a reredos of carved limestone. Moses, holding the two tablets bearing the Ten Commandments, dominates the Epistle side, and on the Gospel side, St. John the Evangelist clasps a quill and book. Seven sanctuary lamps symbolizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit hang above the altar. Two plaques mounted on the floor beneath the altar commemorate Bishop Ralph E. Urban and Dean Frederic M. Adams, both of whom were closely associated with the building of the Cathedral and whose earthly remains were interred in a vault below the altar.

In 1954, construction of the Cathedral was sufficiently completed to allow worship services to be moved upstairs. The use of the crypt as a worship space diminished substantially. This reduction in the crypt’s use was further accelerated as certain architectural elements — the Caesarea (or Jersey) Altar, the baptismal font, the Bishop’s cathedra and various art works — were moved to the Cathedral. By 1974, the crypt was used only occasionally for Academy services, periodic diocesan events, and infrequent special services.

In the early 1990’s, grants from United Thank Offering and Girls’ Friendly supported efforts to renovate the crypt as a youth ministry center. New arena lighting and a removable basketball court were installed. Various parish and community groups used the facility, but a change in fire safety codes in 1995 led the Cathedral Vestry to limit use of the crypt to groups of fewer than 25 persons. Over time, the crypt came to be used primarily when the Academy needed it for physical education on rainy or cold days.

A subsequent revision of the state’s fire safety code in response to complaints from many churches and schools once again has made the crypt available for larger groups and functions. Renovations undertaken in spring of 2003 have enhanced the attractiveness of the space. The Vestry is assessing the feasibility of providing elevator access to the area and the Cathedral for individuals with disabilities. We look forward to the rebirth of the crypt as a worship and gathering space for the parish, Diocese, and the Trenton community.
The Crypt

The Cathedral

Trinity Cathedral was dedicated by Bishop Alfred Lothian Banyard in 1954. The architectural firm of P.L. Fowler Company (including Percy L. Fowler, Samuel Mountford, and A.E. Micklewright) designed the Cathedral. The dimensions and layout of the Cathedral are fully congruent with the crypt. The key difference is the soaring roof line, which begins about 40 feet above the floor and peaks at 60 feet at the apex. The cruciform layout continues with two transepts that provide space for side altars. As it exists today, the Cathedral is replete with beautiful art, intriguing stained glass and an atmosphere of both majesty and coziness. Its acoustics are magnificent; it was recently described as being one of the best acoustical performance spaces in the state. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1965 and its mortgage was discharged.
Read More
Among the Cathedral’s most distinctive elements is its walls’ color of soft blushing peach. When the Cathedral opened, the color emanated directly from the plaster. Masons had thrown handfuls of colored dust in the mortar as it was mixed. Due to variations in mortar and the amount of colored dust used, the coloration of the Cathedral varied throughout. Almost fifty years of boiler soot, water damage and incense led to a darkening of the color, until a full repainting of the Cathedral was undertaken in 2003.

When the Cathedral opened in 1954, it was incomplete. The architect’s drawings proposed an additional three arched bays that would extend the church through the “temporary” narthex erected to connect the upper Cathedral with the crypt. A plain cinder block wall was erected between the Cathedral and the narthex, awaiting completion of the architect’s plan. As part of the 2003 building renewal activities, the Cathedral community decided to integrate the 50-year-old rear wall into the Cathedral by fully plastering it and painting it to match the other walls. The so-called temporary narthex has been acknowledged as a permanent part of the Cathedral complex.
The Cathedral

The Chancel

The chancel features a high altar of rose marble mounted atop two platforms of green Italian marble. Two cathedra — one for the bishop and one for the suffragan bishop — usually sit on opposite sides of the sanctuary. The names of all bishops who led the Diocese of New Jersey are carved into the back of the principal chair. During major diocesan events, the chairs are repositioned within the sanctuary or chancel.
Read More
The chancel area holds choir stalls and a magnificent organ designed and constructed by Petty-Madden Organbuilders, Inc. of Trenton. The four-manual instrument is one of the largest organs in New Jersey and is also one of few in the nation designed using 19th century organ construction principles. At present, the instrument has 73 ranks with 4,167 pipes. When completed, it will contain 81 ranks and 4,655 pipes. In addition to its use during Sunday services, the organ is frequently used in concerts and recording sessions by visiting musicians. In 1971, the trompettes en chamade (suspended trumpets) was added, the pipes of which are mounted on the rear wall of the Cathedral.

The stained glass windows of the chancel’s clerestory were brought from the original Trinity Church on Academy Street. In addition to the nine windows from Trinity Church, a final window on the Epistle side of the Chancel was added to acknowledge the contribution of the Roebling family to construction of the Cathedral. This window design acknowledges the style of the other windows in the chancel clerestory without duplicating it. In its bottom pane is a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the many notable construction accomplishments of the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company.

The North Transept

The north transept contains several elements of sacred and historical significance. The Caesarea Altar, known also as the Jersey Altar and St. Helier’s Altar, was created from a mensa, or altar stone, excavated in the British Isle of Jersey. It has been dated as a 9th century altar stone probably from an ancient church or abbey. It was sent from the by the Baliff of Jersey to Trinity Cathedral in the Diocese and State of New Jersey. The Latin word “Caesare” is the root from which Jersey is derived. The mensa is marked by five crudely carved crosses representing the five wounds of Christ. The Caesarea Altar has been identified as one of the oldest Christian altars in use in the Western Hemisphere.
Read More
The reliquary of the Caesarea Altar contains a piece of the stone purported to be taken from the stone rolled away from Christ’s tomb. Archbishop Thorgam Korchakian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent the stone fragment to Bishop Matthews in 1935 in honor of the construction of a new Cathedral for the Diocese of New Jersey.

On the opposite side of the north transept are the first components of a memorial for the members of the Diocese who perished in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Commissioned by the Rt. Rev. David B. Joslin, assisting bishop of the Diocese at the time of the attack, the memorial, designed and created by the Rev. Philip Carr-Jones, consists of an area of reflection featuring an austere votive table punctuated by blackened columns reminiscent of darkened skyscrapers. A bed of crushed concrete reminds us of the physical destruction of the attacks. A Celtic cross fashioned from a girder from one of the Twin Towers complements the memorial. A memorial plaque, naming the diocesan victims of the attacks, completes the setting. The area is guarded by two stone angels taken from Trinity Church on Academy Street and originally placed in the Crypt. The Angel of Resurrection holds lilies symbolizing God’s promise of everlasting life; Archangel Michael, wearing a coat of mail, drives a spear into the devil as serpent. Two icons—Christ breaks from the chains of death and mystic St. Julian of Norwich—have also been added to the memorial.

Arrayed on the outer wall of the north transept are 12 figures of the apostles originally mounted at Trinity Church. All but one of these figures are carved from limestone. One stone statue was destroyed during the move; ironically, that statue was of Simon Peter, the rock.

The massive stained glass windows on the outer wall of the north transept have a Reigning Christ figure in the center and scenes from the life of Jesus on either side. Each scene — the wedding at Cana, the feeding of 5,000, the Last Supper, and the meeting on the road to Emmaus — shows hospitality in its many forms. The MacPherson family that commissioned these windows operated a large hotel in Trenton. In the middle frames of each of the side panels we see figures of four occupations — porter, scullery maid, waitress and chef — associated with the hospitality industry. The MacPhersons also acknowledge their Scottish roots in the selection of saints and others portrayed along the side panels of the center window. Among the saints are Patrick and Bridget. At the top are two individuals associated with Scottish history — Mary, Queen of Scots, and Robert the Bruce, revolutionary. At the base of the center of the middle window is a white cat with an enigmatic inscription beneath it: “Disturb not the cat.”

The South Transept

The south transept includes St. Elizabeth’s Chapel with its white marble mensa. Above the altar are a set of 14 jewel-adorned Russian icons installed in a large ornate case. The icons were donated by Mrs. Ferdinand Roebling, Jr. and installed in a case specially commissioned by the Cathedral for them. The icons are excellent examples of Russian iconography, including pieces that purportedly hung in a private chapel of the Russian tsars and in the Moscow cathedral. Icons are an important component of faith and spirituality in Eastern Christian traditions and are said to provide the believer a portal to the divine. In addition to those in the south transept, the Cathedral has been fortunate to receive icons displayed elsewhere in the Cathedral chancel and in All Saints Chapel.
Read More
The south transept window honors three individuals whose gifts and perseverance ensured the building of the Cathedral: Bishop Paul Matthews, Dean Frederic Adams, and Ferdinand Roebling, Jr. A view of the Cathedral’s exterior can be found in the lowest panel at the center of the window. The central panel shows Christ as King and includes representations of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The flanking panels display St. Paulinus of York and St. John the Divine.

Directly facing the south transept windows is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child carved in the 15th century style. It was polychromed by Valentine D’Ogres, the artist who executed many of the Cathedral’s stained glass windows. The statue was given as a thank offering by Mr. D’Ogres for being permitted to undertake this work in the Cathedral. He also polychromed the Stations of the Cross embedded in the walls of the nave. These three-dimensional stations were bought by Dean Adams after being salvaged from a church damaged by fire. The 10 stations are among his many beautiful gifts to the Cathedral.

In the clerestory above the nave are a variety of windows donated in honor of the Cathedral’s construction, including one window portraying St. Mark on the north side given by the First Methodist Church community, which had used All Saints’ Chapel for services after their building was destroyed by fire.

The Labyrinth at Trinity Cathedral

During 2004, a group of volunteers installed a seven-circuit labyrinth in an area adjacent to the main doors leading from West State Street into the Cathedral. Constructed of paving stones and bricks, the labyrinth offers parishioners and visitors a quiet place for reflection as they follow the single path to the center and retrace their steps to its entrance. Labyrinths are found in some of the most ancient cathedrals and churches in Europe as well as elsewhere in the world. Renewed interest in this form of meditative device in the United States has inspired the construction of more than 100 labyrinths in churches, including Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and St. James Cathedral in Chicago. Visitors may support the labyrinth by sponsoring single paving stones used in the installation. Please see the staff at the Altar Guild Shop or Cathedral’s main office for more information.

Dean Adams Memorial Garden

Need Copy

Trinity Academy

Need Copy