The Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral

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Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in downtown Montreal
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Interior of the cathedral
The Cathedral-Basilica of Marie-Reine-du-Monde (Mary, Queen of the World) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal. It is the third largest church in Quebec after St. Joseph's Oratory also in Montreal and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.

Its construction was commanded by Mgr. Ignace Bourget, second bishop of Montreal, to replace the former Saint-Jacques Cathedral which had burned in 1852. His choice to create a scale model of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome was in response to a rivalry with the Sulpician order who had been the feudal seigneurs of Montreal, and with the Anglican Church, both of which favoured the Neo-Gothic style instead. The site also sparked controversy due to its location in the western part of downtown, in a then mostly English neighbourhood far from the French-Canadian faithful's homes.

The first architect, Victor Bourgeau, refused the project after studying St. Peter's, claiming that it could not be reproduced on a smaller scale. The undeterred bishop sent Fr. Joseph Michaud instead. At the time, the Holy See was threatened by troops of Victor Emmanuel II, king of Piedmont, and the priest's expedition to Rome was a secret mission.

Work began in 1875 and the new church was consecrated in 1894 as Saint-Jacques Cathedral, after Saint James the Great, the patron of the parish the church served. At the time it was the largest church in Quebec. It was made a minor basilica in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV. It was rededicated in 1955 to Mary, Queen of the World, by Pope Pius XII at the request of cardinal Paul-Émile Léger. (The pope had proclaimed this title for Mary in his 1954 encyclical Ad caeli reginam.)

Instead of the statues of the twelve apostles on the façade of St. Peter's, the front of the church is topped by statues of the patron saints of the thirteen parishes of Montreal. The interior, which is also copied from St. Peter's, includes a baldaquin which is a scale model of Bernini's.

In the last few years, the cathedral's esplanade and narthex have undergone significant reconstruction.

The church is located at 1065, rue de la Cathédrale at the corner of boul. René-Lévesque (Bonaventure metro station) in downtown Montreal.

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