NYC Cathedral Damaged in 2001 Fire Rededicated

NEW YORK (AP) - African drums boomed and pipe organ music
swelled as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine opened for worship
Sunday after years of cleanup from a fire that struck the world's
largest Gothic cathedral in 2001.

The cathedral's 98-year-old Skinner organ was played for the first time since the fire, heralding a new beginning for the spiritual home of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined church officials and 3,800 parishioners at the rededication service.

The opening procession traversed the 601-foot length of the sanctuary with its 124-foot vaulted ceiling. Firefighters who had battled the Dec.18, 2001, blaze joined Episcopal bishops and leaders of other denominations, including Cardinal Edward Egan, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

St. John the Divine has a floor area of 121,000 square feet, larger than the French cathedrals of Chartres and Notre Dame combined.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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