Cathedral Renovation

Comprehensive building inspections were performed on the historic 100 year old Cathedral and the Parish Center in 2003.  These inspections indicated that major repairs to the Cathedral were badly needed; including replacement of the original copper roof and the main dome windows, waterproofing of the entire foundation, repairs to the bell tower/steeple, and upgrading of the attic electrical wiring to meet code.

A multi-million dollar Capital Campaign was commenced in fall 2004 towards restoring the historic Cathedral to its original condition and beauty.  To date, parishioners have made personal commitments totaling $2.7 million to the restoration project.  Loans from parishioners and a bank have been obtained for the additional funding required.  Restoration work is currently being done and is scheduled for completion in fall 2006.

We invite all of our friends to share our passion for the preservation of this historic Cathedral.  Please consider making a financial contribution to the St. Mary's Cathedral Capital Campaign.  Gifts may be sent to the Cathedral Office at 1701 Fifth Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.  Thank you for your consideration and good will.

As of June 1, 2006:

Summerís arrival this year marks a period of transition for St. Maryís.†Pentecost services on June 11th will be the last service at the Cathedral for the summer.†Beginning June 12th, work on the roof of the main dome at the Cathedral will begin and our services will move to the gymnasium.†Click here to see photos of renovation progress. Some services will also move to the Cemetery Chapel.†Please keep a close eye on the monthly bulletins and weekly messengers to stay current with the latest changes.

As you have already seen, work has begun on other sections of the Cathedral roof.†The three small sections over the altar area have scaffolding in place, and the steeple section is being serviced by a portable lift that will allow work to begin without affecting access to the church.†As with the Parish Center roof, work was started early to make every effort to ensure that the work will be completed by the end of September.

As of June 12, 2006:

The work on the Cathedral roof and electrical system has been started.  Scaffolding was put up in and around the Cathedral.  Work on the dome began the week of June 12.  We will be worshipping in the Parish Center Gym and Annunciation Chapel until this work is completed, hopefully by the end of summer.

Many of you have asked how the recent rise in copper prices will affect the cost of this project.  Thankfully, our contractor was able to book the copper needed for the Cathedral dome and roof prior to these increases, so we do not expect any financial impact.

Work on the east end of the Cathedral is well under way.  Crosses, cupolas, and the west-end steeple are being cleaned and will be repaired as needed.  The re-roofing of the Parish Center is complete, and because the contractor was allowed to start early, the project thankfully came in under budget.

3-bar cross

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering three-bar copper crosses made from the roof of the old Cathedral dome later this summer.  Click here to see details. This will be a fundraiser to help defray the costs of the renovation.  We plan on offering two sizes of the cross: 3” and 6”.  This will be a one time, limited edition, heirloom offering.  Cost and availability will be determined by the amount of usable copper available from the old dome.  More information will follow in the next few weeks.

Earl Langlais and Jack Novak are meeting with our contractor, McGough, and all sub-contractors every two weeks for updates and progress reports.  Updates on the progress of the work will be provided to the parish on an on-going basis through the Messenger and Bulletin.

As of August 20, 2006:


We are pleased to announce that Sunday Divine Liturgy services will resume at the Cathedral starting August 27th at 9:00 AM.  Construction work on the roof repairs has been accomplished faster than scheduled for a number of reasons.  First, the weather has been much better than average during the construction.  This has resulted in fewer “down days” than predicted.  Second, and more importantly, the substructure of the roof was found to be in much better condition than anticipated.  The combination of these two events is allowing us to reoccupy the Cathedral approximately one month earlier than scheduled.


For a variety of reasons, we are also pleased to announce that the cost of the repair work to the Cathedral roof will be coming in approximately one million dollars ($1,000,000) under budget!  We know that this will generate a number of questions, but please keep in mind that the exact figure is yet to be determined since some work remains to be done. 


What does all this mean?  Without question, the best news in all of this, is that we can continue moving forward with the entire restoration project!  With a savings of approximately one million dollars, we are already looking at which items would be appropriate for the next phase of the project.  A committee has been formed that has prioritized the next items to be accomplished in the project.  The exact costs and details are still being worked, but the next phase will concentrate on the remaining items to be accomplished in the Parish Center.  These include an elevator for accessibility, window replacement on the south side, water pipe replacement, kitchen upgrades, air conditioning options and possible insulation on the north wall.  We will be moving fairly quickly to finalize these costs so we can make a recommendation to the parish.

Concurrently, another committee has been formed to look at the next stage of work in the Cathedral.  This will include interior items (i.e. painting, iconography, etc.) as well as lighting, electrical and air conditioning items.  This process will be much more time intensive, so we are anticipating at least a year just for the planning.

So, what can you expect in the near future?  We anticipate having a recommendation for the parish some time this fall.  When the proposals have been approved by both the Restoration Finance Committee and the Church Board, we will call a Special Parish Meeting so that we can continue moving the project forward. 

The donations for the restoration have been coming in at or above the planning timeline—keep it up!  Your generous donations have allowed us to move quickly to repair and upgrade our facilities.  Your continued generosity will help us get the entire project done even earlier than anticipated—thank you all.

April 22, 2007:

Our Parish has been very blessed. The Restoration Project has been progressing on schedule - and under budget!! Although much has already been accomplished, we still have some work to do. Thank you to everyone for your patience, financial support, and prayers during the first several Phases of our Project. This will provide an update on the Cathedral Restoration Project Phase IV planning = "The Interior of the Cathedral."

In September of 2006, a committee was formed to begin the planning process that explores the many aspects of the restoration, improvement, and updating of the items and features of the inside of the Cathedral. The committee members are: David Johnson, JoAnn Lucs, Mike Lynch, Fr. Andrew Morbey, David Nelson, Barb Neumann (co-chair), Jack Novak, Steve Tomczyk (co-chair) and Jim Varian. The committee members are committed to examining the many current features of the Cathedral's Interior, deciding what features and items need updating, researching and reviewing the many options available for updates and renovations, and then making sound, prudent, and fiscally responsible improvement recommendations to the Parish.

The following is a list of many features of the Cathedral's Interior that the committee has been examining:

1. The Iconography
      - Which icons need repair vs. replacement
      - The style of iconography that would be the best fit for our Cathedral
      - Which iconographer would be the best choice for this work (i.e., high-quality and cost effective)
2. Repair of the Cathedral's Interior Plaster and Repainting
3. Updating the flooring/carpeting
4. Updating the lighting (i.e., cost-efficient and effective lighting)
5. An extra bathroom in the basement of the Cathedral
6. Air conditioning options for the Cathedral
7. The pews (i.e., replacement vs. refinishing and repair of existing pews)
8. The proper and most cost-effective coordination of the above-listed projects, with a minimum of disruption to our workshop services.

The committee has learned a lot about the Cathedral's existing structure and features, and we are continuing to explore the many options available for updating and restoration. The goal of the committee is to provide recommendations to the Church Board over the next several months and to present the final recommendations for Phase IV of the Restoration Project at a Special Parish Meeting in early Fall of 2007.

As mentioned earlier, the committee members have been learning a lot about the Cathedral's interior features and the available options for updates. Please feel free to discuss any of your questions, concerns, or suggestions with any committee member.

September 4, 2007:

Cathedral Interior Restoration Informational Meetings:

Our Church has been blessed once again as Phase III of the Cathedral Renovation Project (i.e. the updates to the Parish Center) was completed on schedule and under budget! Doesn't that air conditioning in the dining room feel great on those hot humid days.

Well, now it's time to turn our attention to the final Phase of our Cathedral Renovation -- Phase IV: The Cathedral Interior Restoration.

The Cathedral Interior Committee has been working for one year now researching the current status of the interior of the Cathedral and the options for updates. The committee would like to share what we've learned and our recommendations. We would also like to answer any questions and receive feedback on our recommendations.

Please plan to attend one of the following meetings (note: these are informational meetings only - not voting meetings):

Sunday 11/4/07 at 11:00am in the Cathedral

Tuesday 11/6/07 at 6:30pm in the Cathedral

Thursday 11/15/07 at 7:45pm in the Cathedral (after Vespers)


As of August 30, 2008

Update from the Cathedral Interior Committee:

The Interior Committee has been working hard this summer researching and reviewing potential iconographers for our Cathedral Interior Renovation. Two iconographers will be visiting us in the weeks ahead. They both come to us with an incredible amount of experience and very impressive credentials.

Dmitry Shkolnik will be visiting the Cathedral from September 5th through September 7th. Vladimir Krassovsky will be visiting the Cathedral from October 1st through October 2nd. Both of these visits will include tours of the Cathedral and meetings with the Interior Committee. A meeting was held in June with Debra Korluka.

The committee anticipates finalizing the details of the iconography project in the near future and will then present their recommendations to the Board and then the Parish. Please let any one of the committee members know if you have any other questions.

Steve Tomczyk, Chair, Cathedral Interior Committee

October 12, 2008


What Is Happening With Our Capital Campaign?

  • The energy and spirit of those who have already offered their support to help
    launch this ambitious effort is most gratifying.
  • As you know, the objective of our campaign is to raise $1,588,703 to complete
    the restoration of our Cathedral, with a focus on installing air conditioning,
    completing interior repairs and other necessary improvements.
  • In recent weeks, many parishioners have asked “When are we going to begin
    the campaign?” or “When will I be contacted?”
  • Mindful of your time constraints and your desire to eliminate the need for a
    volunteer to visit you in your home, on Sunday morning October 26 we will
    invite your financial support through a well-organized, dignified, respectful,
    and confidential process.
  • Immediately following the Divine Liturgy on October 26, we will invite you to join
    us for our normal coffee hour, at which time we will offer a brief 20-minute
  • At that time, members of the campaign team will briefly review a folder of
    important information that has been prepared for your household.
  • We will then invite you to consider offering your financial support to help
    secure and grow the future of our faith community.
  • You will NOT be asked to submit your financial decision at this brief session.
    Instead, you will be encouraged to take the folder home, review the
    information, then prayerfully offer your commitment, and return it in the
    confidential envelope that we will provide.
  • Stay tuned, as next week we will provide more details on the campaign.
  • Thank you for your continuing love and generous support of St. Mary’s
    Cathedral, our treasured faith community.
Fr. Andrew Morbey, Todd Pilacinski, Jim Varian,
Dean Capital Campaign
Capital Campaign

February 8, 2009

From the Catherdral Interior Committee:
As announced at the Annual Meeting on Sunday 2/08/09, Dmitry Shkolnik has been selected to create and install new icons in our Church. The two sites in the Cathedral currently under review for these new icons are:

  • The Apse area (over the alter)
  • The East Arch (above the iconostas)

More details will follow soon. But please free free to visit his web site to review examples of his work at other churches:


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