A Pilgrimage Round The Cathedral
Explore the Cathedral
On entering the Cathedral, the visitor should stand for a few moments at the west end and as we looks eastward, we will have before us an unbroken view of the whole length and we will be able to experience something of the “feel” of the building. For many concrete is not the most lovable of materials but the architect has achieved beauty and loveliness in the new medium. This lies chiefly in the airy, light and lofty spaciousness of The Nave. The interior would certainly have delighted the heart of Bishop Danson, for in 1919, he wrote of his dream Cathedral in these terms:
“The Basilian style of architecture seems to be the most suited for this part of the world, on account of its wide arches and airy spaces.”
The Twelve Pillars
There are no transepts and the comparative shortness of the chancel gives the impression of great length. There is also the impression of great height. Twelve Pillars each marked with consecration crosses symbolize the twelve apostles upon whose foundation the Church is built. These white concrete piers, thinnest at floor level and thickening as they soar, curve inwards to meet gothic wise under the roof. The arches themselves rise to a height of 48 feet and the beautiful simplicity of the arch is brought out by the careful workmanship of the craftsmen who were specially brought from Hong Kong for the purpose. The columns and arches support white beams and these carry The Roof sloping slightly to left and right. This is painted in lovely canasta red – a colour specially dear to the Chinese for it symbolizes happiness to them and in this instance reminds them as they look up of the happiness of heaven. The pure soaring lines of the piers absolutely uninterrupted from floor to apex makes the utmost of the height.
The Rood Beam
In the opening of the chancel arch two slim concrete uprights carry a lofty beam flung right across the opening. This is the Rood Beam, with figures of the Crucified Lord flanked in ancient manner by Saint Mary and Saint John. The Rood is a memorial to The Right Reverend Francis Septimus Hollis, one of Sarawak’s best loved missionaries who became Borneo’s seventh Bishop.
The visitor will surely delight in the soft warm sunlight colour that fills the Cathedral. This is effected by the use of amber coloured glass in the windows of the nave. The latter were gifts of St. Wilfred’s Church, Harrogate, England and the glass was specially made at a famous glass factory in England.