Tuesday, 2 November 2010

FRIENDS OF HOLY TRINITY resolute to reawaken cathedral’s former glory

LADIES OF THE REVOLUTION: Members of the Friends of Holy Trinity support body at a recent group meeting.

Considered an important religious landmark with a rich history and potential for massive tourist attraction, the Holy Trinity Cathedral (the jewel of North Street, Kingston) is poised to relive its glory days if a small group of “friends” are successful in their bid to spruce up the long-serving Catholic establishment by restoring the church’s stunning iconography to attract visitors from everywhere. Not that the place has lost an iota of its quaint charm, even as it approaches its centenary.

The Friends of Holy Trinity is a non-profit body that has been established as a support group for the church (a Byzantine structure built in 1911) to raise money and awareness about the massive restoration work being undertaken. “Really our aim is to raise awareness of this wonderful sacred edifice and what it means to us as Jamaicans and our culture,” explains Enith Williams at a recent Sunday morning gathering of the group at the cathedral.

With financial aid from the NCB Foundation, the Spanish government and the Heart Foundation, among the other entities, the work done so far includes removing the layers of gray paint covering the cathedral’s 3,000 square feet of original frescoes, intricate murals and other historical artwork on the ceilings and walls. Still, much more is left to be done, to be completed hopefully by January 2011. An estimated $60 million is needed to fund effort. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Urban Development Commission (UDC), Wayne Chen, encourages the work of the Friends, which he describes as part of the preservation of our national art and cultural heritage. “It is my dream to see [the Holy Trinity Cathedral] become an oasis in the city. This is a great project being undertaken not just for Kingston but for the entire Jamaica.”

BREATHING NEW LIFE: Examples of the restored frescoes adorning the ceilings and walls of North Street's Holy Trinity Cathedral.

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