St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast City

St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast City

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St. Anne’s Cathedral or Belfast Cathedral is the focal point on Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. It was constructed around the old parish church of St. Anne. The foundation stone was laid by architect Sir Thomas Drew on the 6th of September 1899, however the old parish church remained in use until the 31st of December 1903. The only feature of the old church which remains is the Good Samaritan window.

The Cathedral Organ – the largest pipe-organ in Northern Ireland was built by Harrison and Harrison in 1907 and rebuilt in 1969 and 1975. In 1924 the west front of the Cathedral was built in remembrance of the Ulstermen and women who had served and died in World War I. The foundation stone for this section of the cathedral was laid in June 1925 and construction was completed in June 1927.

Throughout the years numerous other additions have been made to the cathedral including stunning mosaic depicting Saint Patrick in honour of the 1500th anniversary of his arrival in Ireland. The latest of these additions was a 40 m (131 ft) stainless steel spire, which was installed on top of the cathedral in April 2007. “The Spire of Hope” becomes illuminated at night as one part of the planned redevelopment of the Cathedral Quarter. Visitors can view the Spire the choir stalls within the cathedral thanks to a glass platform through which its base extrudes.

Charity

Thirty years ago, the then Dean of Belfast, Rev Samuel B Crooks, started his annual Christmas “Sit Out”, spending the week leading up to Christmas on the steps of the Cathedral, accepting donations large and small, from passers by, which were then distributed amongst many local charities. Dean Crooks soon became known as the "Black Santa", because of the outfit he wore to keep warm. The tradition has been continued by his successors. The week before Christmas each year, the Dean and members of the Cathedral Chapter sit outside the Cathedral from 10 am until 5 pm each day to raise money for charity and are still collectively known as the “Black Santa”. Since the tradition began in 1976 £2.2million ($4.4million) has been raised for charity

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