Darth Vader on Washington National Cathedral

My boyfriend and I were having a spontaneous and rather long Skype conversation last night. It started with Darlene’s suggestions about churches to see in Chicago, followed by my boyfriend’s love of Gothic architecture. I mentioned that he would probably love the Washington National Cathedral (OK, it’s neogothic…and Anglican), and that we should go see it this summer. Of course, I ended up trolling Wikipedia for interesting information on the church’s architecture, as it’s been over 10 years since I last visited. But I happened upon this little gem: the National Cathedral has the helmet of Darth Vader in place of one of its gargoyles on the outside:

Now, as a sworn fanatic of Star Trek who isn’t really impressed with Star Wars, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Either way, I’m pretty sure my field trip here in the fifth grade never mentioned Darth Vader up on the building; I think we all would have been a lot more interested.

It turns out when the National Cathedral was under construction (a laborious process taking from 1907-1990), National Geographic had a contest in 1980 for what four of the small gargoyles should look like. Darth Vader placed third. As Wikipedia says: “The Cathedral boasts what is probably the world’s only sculpture of Darth Vader on a religious building.” Yeah, probably.

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One thought on “Darth Vader on Washington National Cathedral

  1. Thank you for making my morning. :-D (I am, in fact, a huge Star Wars nerd, though I have love for Trek as well.)

    Speaking of Gothic, two I can recommend in Chicago are St. Ita (which would be my territorial parish, if I weren’t so attached to St. JC) and St. Alphonsus. (Not to far from St. Al’s is St. Clement, which was actually done in a Byzantine style and has both gorgeous art and music — though I’m partial, since I was married there.)

    Okay…I’ll stop with the suggestions. ;-)

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