The Medieval and Modern Cathedral
When you walk into a cathedral, on Nob Hill or in Europe, whether to attend a service, or to hear a concert, or just to look around, you may be struck by questions about the cathedral itself. What’s it like to work in this beautiful place every day? Isn’t it expensive to maintain, especially if it’s 500 or 1,000 years old? How does this institution keep going and stay relevant for centuries, even as society, religion, and politics are ever changing?
The deans of two Anglican cathedrals, Jane Shaw of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and June Osborne of Salisbury Cathedral, England, will share their experiences and the wisdom they have gained as leaders of these great institutions. They will appear in conversation with KQED’s Michael Krasny.
Salisbury Cathedral dates from the year 1220, and one of its founders helped negotiate the Magna Carta. The cathedral weathered the Reformation and all the religious and political upheavals of the centuries that followed. By contrast, Grace Cathedral has its roots in the California Gold Rush. The building was begun in 1928 and completed in 1964, and immediately became one of the three great Episcopal cathedrals in the United States.
The deans will talk about how the role of the cathedral in society has evolved from medieval times to the present, and about the role of faith in an increasingly secular world. We will also ask them to reflect on their own personal experiences as pioneering women in their profession, leading important religious institutions that traditionally have been led by men.
Medieval Matters is a series of public lectures sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies, the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Office for Religious Life, and the Sarum Seminar. It explores the relevance of medieval history and culture to understanding the modern world.