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Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

222 East Harris Street
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, 31401

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia.
Photo: Tim Pierce License: CC BY-SA 4.0
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is a Roman Catholic cathedral and minor basilica in Lafayette Square, Savannah, Georgia. It is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah.
The colonial charter of Savannah prohibited Roman Catholics from settling in the city. The English trustees feared that Catholics would be more loyal to the Spanish authorities in Florida than to the English government in Georgia, however this prohibition faded shortly after the American Revolution.

Most Reverend James Roosevelt Bayley, Archbishop of Baltimore, presided at the dedication of the Neo-Gothic sanctuary April 30, 1876. However, the brick structure lacked spires which were not added until 1896 when it also received a coating of stucco and whitewash.

On February 6, 1898, a fire swept the building and left only the walls and towers, however the congregation quickly rebuilt and was able to celebrate Christmas Mass in the new facility in 1899. But again, the structure was not complete and interior decoration took an additional 13 years. Stained glass windows were installed around 1904. The parish undertook subsequent renovation projects in 1959-1965, which addressed heating, cooling and lighting systems and decoration; 1984-1985, to reinforce structural foundations and implement changes suggested by the Second Vatican Council and 1998-2000 to install new roofing, and restore the original interior color palette and decorations.

Pope Francis elevated the status of the church to minor basilica in 2020.

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