Cathedral of the Incarnation, Nashville, TN
New freestanding altar echoes the Cathedral's Rambusch designs of the 1930s. The Pelican, sacrificial symbol of Christ feeding the faithful, is carved in translucent calcite alabaster on a book-matched field of Versilia marble.
The Pelican, symbol of Christ feeding the faithful, is hand-carved in translucent calcite alabaster on a field of book-matched, brecciated Versilia marble. Rambusch designed this new freestanding altar of sacrifice, a cathedra and an ambo to echo the Cathedral of the Incarnation’s furnishings of the 1930s. These new pieces were installed in 2015, marking its 100th anniversary.
While the Cathedral of the Incarnation was under construction between 1910-1914, Bishop Thomas Byrne envisioned an altar finished in fine Italian marble. However, World War I had begun in Europe and there was no way to import such stone. He could not have known that an altar of wood and plaster would serve the needs of his Parish for the next twenty-seven years.
Then, during the Cathedral’s first major renovation in 1937, Rambusch designed a new altar for Bishop William Adrian, built of stone sourced from Carrara, Italy. The next renovation occurred in 1987 with an overarching goal to increase the sense of lightness within the space by extending the sanctuary and repainting it in contemporary colors.
Today, 100 years after Bishop Byrne dreamed of a finished stone altar, the latest renovation has improved the sanctuary even further with new furnishings that reference the 1937 designs of Bishop Adrian. The beautiful white marble of which these furnishings are built originates from the same Italian quarry. Bishop David Choby blessed and dedicated the new Rambusch altar on January 20, 2015.