Washington National Cathedral is widely known as an architectural landmark and the setting of presidential funerals and post-inauguration prayer services. What is less well known is that the cathedral is officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
The word cathedral derives from “cathedra,” a word with Greek and Latin roots that means “chair.” In English it has come to refer to the ceremonial chair or seat of a bishop. The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is the seat of both Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Diocese of Washington, and the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The cathedral was founded in 1893 when Congress granted a charter to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, allowing it to establish a cathedral and schools. The charter was signed by President Benjamin Harrison.
The Very Rev. Randolph “Randy” Marshall Hollerith serves as the cathedral’s eleventh dean. Bishop Budde is chair of the cathedral foundation’s board of directors.