Project Description

Completed in June, 2008, the Mar Thoma Shleeha Cathedral serves the Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago. The 42,600 sf cathedral serves as the center of activities for 800 families in the Chicago area and for 100,000 members of the community in North America. The program features a 1,200 seat worship space, Daily Chapel and Eucharistic Chapel with a basement gathering space and 2nd floor church offices and admin spaces. The exterior design features a baroque inspired front façade with carved symbols of the Catholic faith, a two-story entrance porch with a vaulted niche housing a statue of “Jesus the Good Shepherd,” and images of Catholic saints depicted in stained glass windows. The main worship space features a large octagonal roof that culminates over the Sanctuary in a bell shaped dome that’s reminiscent of Indian architecture. The same dome design is repeated at the exterior cupolas above the octagonal chapel bays, and again at the wood baldachino which houses the tabernacle in the Sanctuary where the Eucharist is reserved. A suspended curtain veil, which operates only at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, was also designed to further heighten the sense of the Sacred at the Sanctuary.