The Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago has launched an US$11 million capital campaign on 14 November 2021 to restore Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, which was badly damaged by earthquakes and floods in 2018.
Construction began in 1818 and the cathedral was consecrated in 1823. Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the oldest structures in Trinidad and has been in continuous use since its foundation. On 21 August 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the southern Caribbean, damaging many buildings in Trinidad. A hurricane then struck the island on 20 Oct 2018, leading to three days of intensive rain and widespread flooding.
The two natural disasters caused extensive damage to the building. The dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. Shelley-Ann Tenia, reported that earthquakes in 1825, 1918, and in 2018 caused substantial cracking and damage to walls, the steeple, and chancel roof, as well as the destruction of several stone pinnacles.
A survey of the building reports the roof and ceiling; interior walls; exterior walls; stained glass windows; flooring; bells; organs and various electrical, mechanical and plumbing fixtures, need to be replaced and repaired. She further stated that there was moisture trapped within the walls and structural timbers which had resulted in rotting and significant damage.
“The Cathedral continues to suffer from major leaks with numerous broken roof slates, cracked gutters, and failing old repairs that need serious attention. Vegetation growth has caused cracking and further deterioration of the structure, and the Church’s roof also suffers from termite damage,” she said.
The Rt Rev Claude Berkely, Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago, spoke of the importance of the cathedral to the nation. “The founders of our country and holders of the highest office in the land, have been at the heart of the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, including Governors, Presidents and Prime Ministers. The legendary Governor Woodford oversaw the construction and design of the Church and laid the cornerstone on May 30th 1816.”
At the fundraising kickoff broadcast on Facebook on Sunday Bishop Berkley said: “Seventy million dollars ($11 million US) is a huge sum in this guava season, yet there are factors that encourage us that it will be achieved in God’s name. I call on brothers, sisters and friends to seriously consider this effort to restore the cathedral church.”
“This majestic landmark which has been the site of so much of our islands’ rich history must be preserved, to tell our nation’s story and to continue as a bastion of spiritual enlightenment and community service. With this in mind, please help us restore the Holy Trinity Cathedral to its former glory.”
Information on the cathedral’s restoration can be found at www.trinityrestorationtt.com.