St. James Cathedral (Orlando, Florida)

St. James Cathedral is a parish church and the seat of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, John Noonan. The cathedral's patron saint is James, son of Zebedee, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred.

The scallop shell has long been the symbol associated with St. James, and the cathedral uses it as its primary symbol. The parish operates St. James Cathedral School on nearby Robinson Street which offers classes from pre-school through eighth grade.HistorySt. James Parish traces its roots to May 20, 1881 when Bishop John Moore of the Diocese of St. Augustine, which then covered the entire state of Florida, purchased land to establish the first Catholic Church in the Orlando area. The first permanent pastor, Father Felix P. Swembergh arrived in 1885 to organize the congregation from the area's residents. Between 1880 and 1885, the population of Orlando increased from 200 to over 4,000 people.The cornerstone for the first church building was laid January 23, 1887 and it was completed in June 1891. The wooden structure measured 40ft by 70ft and accommodated 240 worshipers. The entry was capped by a belltower 45ft tall.The parish established a school in 1928. The two-story Mediterranean Revival school building, which was completed the same year, is a contributing property in the Lake Eola Heights Historic District. It features a bell tower, an ornate entrance, and embellished friezes.

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Orlando, FL
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