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Washington Cathedral, a 'National House of Prayer'

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Washington Cathedral, a 'National House of Prayer'

Religion

Washington Cathedral, a 'National House of Prayer'

Washington Cathedral, a 'National House of Prayer'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1953961/1954330" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Washington National Cathedral. © Carl & Ann Purcell/Corbis hide caption

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Former President Reagan's state funeral is being held at the Washington National Cathedral, which towers over the nation's capital. Bishop John Bryson Chane, the dean of the cathedral, says it was created as "a national house of prayer for all people." NPR's Steve Inskeep reports.

It's the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, with a central tower that is the highest point in Washington, D.C. "I think for a lot of people it's a sign of stability and hope... When you drive up and see it, it's huge," Chane says. "And for all of us that's a symbol of permanence in a time that we live in where there's not a lot of permanence."

Chane says state funerals serve as both civic and religious events. Reagan's funeral will be a simple ceremony, at the family's request. It's "not only an event for the nation, where people can really find closure and say their goodbyes, but it's also a time for the family to do that," Chane says.

About the Washington National Cathedral

Official Name: The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Visitors: Nearly 700,000 visitors, worshipers annually
Construction Began: Sept. 29, 1907
Construction Ended: Sept. 29, 1990
Construction Material: Indiana limestone; the building weighs 150,000 tons
Site: 57 acres
Central Tower: Top is 676 ft. above sea level, highest point in the District of Columbia
Ranking: Sixth-largest cathedral in the world, second-largest in U.S.
Stained-Glass Windows: 215, the largest is 26 ft. in diameter
Bells: A 53-bell carillon and a set of 10 English peal bells
Gargoyles: 110
The Great Organ: 10,650 pipes
Rare Holding: King James Bible first edition, printed in London in 1611

Source: Washington National Cathedral

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