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The former Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and was later demolished (CNS/David Wethey, NZPA)

New Zealand’s Christchurch Diocese has decided to build its new cathedral on the same site as its last one. Source: Radio New Zealand.

The decision was announced in a pastoral letter to the city’s Catholic community yesterday.

The original Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes Street was opened in 1905, but demolished in 2020 after suffering irreparable damage in the 2011 earthquakes.

Christchurch Bishop Michael Gielen said by building on the same site, the diocese was continuing 160 years of Catholic worship there.

There was no timeline for construction, but Bishop Gielen said he understood the congregation’s wish for urgency.

“This will be the first new Catholic cathedral built from scratch in New Zealand for more than 120 years, so it will be a complex undertaking,” he said.

“As people in Christchurch know, it takes several years to erect high-quality buildings. Our new cathedral will take time, but the wait will be worth it.”

Bishop Gielen would initiate a process to select a name for the new cathedral in the next few weeks.

Diocesan general manager Simon Thompson said three possible locations were considered for the new cathedral – Barbadoes Street, a central city site in Armagh Street, or expanding St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on Manchester Street.

Almost 85 percent of 1604 respondents to a community survey about the proposal supported the Barbadoes Street option.

Bishop Gielen said that site also made the most financial sense.

“Our analysis said that the Barbadoes Street site would be the most economical option for our cathedral. “This decision supports our goal to be a financially stable diocese.”


Christchurch’s new Catholic cathedral will be built on same site as last one (RNZ)


New Christchurch Catholic cathedral will be built on Barbadoes St site (NZCBC)