St. Stephen's Cathedral, officially the Cathedral of St. Stephen of Hungary is a large Gothic cathedral, as well as the oldest church building in Carrington. The cathedral combines elements of Gothic and neo-Gothic architecture. It is also the seat of the Diocese of Markstad.
Construction of St. Stephens (at the time Sint-Stefanuskerk) was necessitated due to a rise in the population of Sint-Markstad in the 1360s. The first stone was laid in 1366, following a Gothic style plan. Due to financial constraints, work was slow and it was fully stopped in 1381 as funds dried out. Work resumed around 1408. It immediately became the seat of the Diocese of Markstad.
During the War of Independence in 1427, Sint-Markstad was the site of a battle involving the local townspeople and Venetian troops. As they burned down the town, the cathedral was also set ablaze and after being put out, all that was left were the shell and the walls.
A massive rebuild began under the auspices of the new bishop in 1429, being one of the largest and most expensive works undertaken in medieval Brunant. The design was enlarged and the detailing was modified into a more intricate, French-inspired Gothic design. The sculptures for the St. Stephen's were sculpted by Johannes Domenicus Cania. After much work, often going over budget, the nave and vaulted ceilings were completed in 1654.
Funds again ran out in 1655 and work was halted. During the Civil War, Sint-Markstad was looted by rioters, who caused some damage to the cathedral. While relatively minor, it was enough to require replacing large sections in order to camouflage the repairs. Work continued in 1665 and by 1710, the main sections were completed. But the repair works were not fully done well and in 1728, a portion of the south wall collapsed, which necessitated a redesign to ensure its safety. Work slowly inched forward due to financial constraints and the most important work was completed by 1849.
The cathedral's façade was completed in 1860, following a neo-Gothic style, and statues, stone details and the towers were built similarly from 1858 to 1910. Despite this, work continued on the outside and in the interior until halted in 1941. During the occupation years in WWII, the cathedral received significant structural damage, as well as receiving shell damage to the spires.
After the war, work was resumed in 1953 and an association to collect funds was set up in 1955, now the present Friends of St. Stephen's. To this day, work is still being done on the outside, with scaffolding having constantly been there since 1958. In 1966, the 600th anniversery of the cathedral went by with work still not completed. Today, one can see significant restoration work and scaffolding on the rear of the cathedral, with work advancing painstakingly slow. According to some estimates, work is expected to continue until around 2020, but recent estimates from the church suggest 2017 or even as early as 2016 is looking to be likely.
Visiting the cathedralEdit
The cathedral is open for guided visits Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00-18:00. There is an entry fee of 1 euro, charged by the Friends of St. Stephen's organization, which goes toward the restoration and completion of the cathedral.