A few weekends ago, my partner Theo and I took to the country as we sometimes do on a Sunday afternoon. We stopped in provincial city of Bendigo and visited the lovely Sacred Heart Cathedral.
I’m a Pagan with a soft spot for Roman Catholic history, art, and architecture. The Sacred Heart Cathedral may not be as grand or old as Europe’s medieval cathedrals, but it does not disappoint. Sacred Heart is one of Australia’s largest churches and the second tallest after St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne.
What’s the difference between a church and a cathedral? A cathedral contains the seat of the bishop and is thus the central church of a diocese. Sacred Heart is the seat of the Bishop of Sandhurst. It was begun in 1901 and completed in 1977 in an English Gothic style. The foundations consist of local granite and the walls are made of sandstone from the Geelong region. Dressings and carvings are of Australian limestone and the floor is Calacatta Vagli Extra marble from Italy.
Like most traditional Christian churches, it was built on an east-west orientation as the rising sun is seen as a symbol of the risen Christ. It is also traditional for a Christian church to contain relics of martyrs. Sacred Heart is no exception and has relics of saints under its six altars.
The grounds of the cathedral are lovely as well and include several statues and even a grotto depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to Bernadette at Lourdes, France.
For more information about the Sacred Heart Cathedral, please visit its website here.