Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

Basilica at night

45°29′57.10″N 73°34′6.10″W / 45.499194°N 73.568361°W / 45.499194; -73.568361
Location Montreal, Quebec
Country Canada
Denomination Roman Catholic
Consecrated 1894
Style Renaissance and Baroque Revival
National Historic Site of Canada
Official name: Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada
Designated: 2006

The Cathedral-Basilica of Mary, Queen of the World (French: Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal. It is the third largest church in Quebec after St. Joseph's Oratory (also in Montreal) and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré east of Quebec City. The church is located at 1085 Cathedral Street (45°29′57.10″N 73°34′6.10″W / 45.499194°N 73.568361°W / 45.499194; -73.568361) at the corner of René Lévesque Boulevard and Metcalfe Street, near the Bonaventure metro station and Central Station in downtown Montreal. It and the connected Archdiocese main buildings form the eastern side of Place du Canada, and occupies of dominant presences on Dorchester Square.

The sacrament of baptism is celebrated in the small chapel. The marble baptismal font is surmounted by an impressive stucco crucifix sculpted by Philippe Hébert. The crucifix is one of the most important pieces of religious sculpture in Quebec.



The construction of the cathedral was ordered by Mgr. Ignace Bourget, second bishop of Montreal, to replace the former Saint-Jacques Cathedral which had burned in 1852. His choice to create a scale model of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome was in response to a rivalry with the Sulpician order who had been the feudal seigneurs of Montreal, and with the Anglican Church, both of which favoured the Neo-Gothic style instead. The site also sparked controversy due to its location in the western part of downtown, in a then predominantly English neighbourhood far from the homes of the French-Canadian church-goers.

The first architect, Victor Bourgeau, refused the project after studying St. Peter's, claiming that it could not be reproduced on a smaller scale. The undeterred bishop sent Fr. Joseph Michaud, the chaplain of the Papal Zouave volunteers of Montreal, to produce a scale model to work from. At the time, the Holy See was threatened by the nationalist troops of Victor Emmanuel II, king of Piedmont, who was attempting to assert control over all Italy including papal territories, and the priest's mission in Rome was secret.

Work began in 1875 and the new church was consecrated in 1894 as Saint James Cathedral,[1] after Saint James the Great, the patron of the parish the church served. At the time it was the largest church in Quebec. It was made a minor basilica in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV. It was rededicated in 1955 to Mary, Queen of the World, by Pope Pius XII at the request of cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. (The pope had proclaimed this title for Mary in his 1954 encyclical Ad caeli reginam.)

Instead of the statues of the twelve apostles on the façade of St. Peter's, the front of the church is topped by statues of the patron saints of thirteen parishes of Montreal who donated them, including St. John the Baptist and St. Patrick. The interior, which is also copied from St. Peter's, includes a baldachin which is a scale model of Bernini's

In the last few years, the cathedral's esplanade and narthex have undergone significant reconstruction. The exterior statue of Bishop Ignace Bourget was cleaned and restored in 2005.

On May 14, 2006, the cathedral was named a National Historic Site of Canada.[2][3]


See also


  1. ^ McCord Museum - St. James Cathedral, Metcalfe Street, Montreal, QC, 1886
  2. ^ "Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral". Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada. Parks Canada. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved August 1, 2011.

External links

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