Newman University Church
|Newman University Church|
|Church of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom|
|Location||87A St Stephen's Green South, Dublin|
|Dedication||Mary, mother of Jesus (as Our Lady Seat of Wisdom)|
|Consecrated||1 May 1856|
|Architect(s)||John Hungerford Pollen (senior)|
|Style||Byzantine Revival, Romanesque|
|Length||61 m (200 ft)|
|Width||12 m (39 ft)|
|Materials||brick, slate, marble, serpentine, alabaster, wood, copper|
|Deanery||South City Centre|
Groundbreaking took place on the site of the gardens of 87 St Stephen's Green in May 1855. It was founded by John Henry Newman for the newly-founded Catholic University of Ireland, and designed by John Hungerford Pollen (senior) in a Byzantine Revival style, due to Newman's dislike of Gothic architecture. It was consecrated on Ascension Day (1 May) 1856. On May 4 (Saint Monica's Day), Newman preached in his sermon the essential place of the church in his plans for the university: "I wish in the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles of philosophy and shrines of devotion. [...] Devotion is not a sort of finish given to the sciences; nor is science a sort of feather in the cap."
The Lady Chapel was added to the church in 1875.
In 1907 it was the site of the funeral of the Fenian James Bermingham.
Since 2016, the church has been stewarded by the University of Notre Dame, which uses the church as a base for the Notre Dame–Newman Center for Faith and Reason; regular masses are still held there.
The interior is richly decorated with a baldacchino over the altar. The semi-dome above the sanctuary was inspired by the apse of the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano, Rome. There is also an arcaded gallery with screens and an elaborate pulpit. The walls are decorated with marble and serpentine from many parts of Ireland. The empty undercroft represents the empty tomb, just as at Westminster Cathedral.
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