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Seeing deeper at the National Cathedral

Seeing deeper at the National Cathedral

The Washington National Cathedral is clearing away all the seats in the nave during the week of January 13 – 17. Visitors will be able to experience the vast nave in a way that is new to modern eyes but would have been familiar in the Cathedrals of medieval Europe.

From the Cathedral web-site:

Capture rare glimpses of the Cathedral as you’ve probably never seen it! This early morning session gives photographers a chance to enjoy the first-ever “Clearing of the Nave” before public hours. Chairs will be moved out of the center of the Cathedral nave (the main section down the center of the building) to provide an unparalleled look at the grandeur and splendor of the world’s sixth-largest cathedral. This grand space will be on full display and you’ll have access to take pictures on the main level of the Cathedral.


Washington National Cathedral opens the full expanse of its main interior space for a week of special offerings that explore themes of expansiveness, immediacy, and insight. With thousands of chairs removed, the nave will be transformed to allow new paths for creative expression—a new spaciousness for the spirit.

Seeing Deeper builds upon and visibly brings to life many facets of the Cathedral’s core mission. By juxtaposing the spiritual and the artistic, practice and hearing, silence and song, the Cathedral opens the doors of this landmark and national treasure to be experienced in new ways while fulfilling our calling to be a spiritual home for the nation. As a place known for its art and iconography and its setting for musical performance, this week of introspection, reflection, and transcendence transforms the Cathedral’s living stones for thousands of worshipers, concert-goers, pilgrims, and visitors.

During the daytime, “Seeing Deeper” provides a fresh look at the building for past visitors and a striking way to view the building for first-time sightseers. The openness shows the nave as cathedrals looked during medieval times and opens striking vantages on the restoration work in the balconies and “above the netting.”


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Adam Wood

Fortunately, the $25 entry fee for early morning access (and $10 normally) ensures that nobody wanders in and accidentally has a spiritual experience.

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