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Cathedral beauty


Arches. Gothic architecture. And those 82, beautiful stained-glass windows—one of which is among the largest in the world. Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is a hidden treasure in plain sight in northern Kentucky.

The intricately carved tympanum of the Basilica’s central portal was carved in 1914 by renowned Cincinnati sculptor Clement J. Barnhorn. It depicts the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with Madonna and child enshrined between the center doors. Photo: Tim Webb

“The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is the mother Church of the Diocese of Covington and a spiritual home to parishioners and guests alike,” says Very Reverend Ryan L. Maher, V.G., Rector at the Cathedral. “We welcome any and all visitors to our magnificent Cathedral Basilica which stands as a beacon of hope and a clear reminder of the majesty, goodness and presence of the Lord.”

Marble wall panels frame fourteen mosaic Stations of the Cross throughout the interior of the Cathedral Basilica. The Frederick Pustet Company of Cincinnati designed and installed the Stations between 1916 and 1918. The mosaics are from Venice, Italy. Photo: Tim Webb

Building the Cathedral was the dream of the Most Reverend Camillus Paul Maes, the third Bishop of the Diocese of Covington. The project began in 1894, but still today is considered unfinished. Bishop Maes engaged Detroit architect Leon Coquard to design the church.

The Marian Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, carved in Italy of pristine white Carrara marble, shows the figure of the Virgin Mary as she appeared to visionary Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France in 1858. Photo: Tim Webb

The Cathedral’s stained-glass windows are the creation of Mayer and Company of Munich, Germany. They were made in Germany and delivered and installed between 1908 and 1919—a European moratorium on German exports halted deliveries during World War I.

The “Doubting Thomas” window. Mayer Brothers Studio of Munich, Germany created 78 of the Cathedral Basilica’s stained-glass windows. The historic windows are most famous for their deep, rich colors and the intricate beauty of the artistic detail. Photo: Tim Webb

After a fundraising campaign in 2000, the Cathedral underwent a renovation, which included cleaning and repairing the stained-glass windows. 

Thanks to Stephen Enzweiler for providing photo caption information about the Cathedral’s gorgeous stained-glass windows.

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