St. Peter's Cathedral
History and museums
St. Peter's Cathedral, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, was founded in 1869 as a result of the influence of the Oxford Movement. Since that time, the parish has remained Anglo-Catholic in ethos and practice.
St. Peter's was designated a cathedral in 1879 by Bishop Hibbert Binney, the Bishop of Nova Scotia. Over the years, it has served as a second cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia (now called Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). The principal cathedral of the diocese is All Saints' Cathedral in Halifax. The diocese contains two civil provinces of Canada. St. Peter's Cathedral is located on Rochford Square, corner of All Souls' Lane and Rochford Street, Charlottetown.
Attached to the west side of the cathedral is All Souls' Chapel—designated as a National Historic Site in 1990. See All Souls' Chapel (Prince Edward Island).
St. Peter's Cathedral parish was established in 1869. Work on the construction of the building began in 1867 and the first services were held on June 13, 1869. In December 1869, local artist Robert Harris (1849–1919) was commissioned to create scenes for the cathedral's first Christmas celebration.
As mentioned above, the founding of St. Peter's was directly linked to the Oxford Movement — a theological and liturgical revival of the Catholic tradition within Anglicanism, which was underway in parts of the Church of England at that time. The Oxford Movement had begun in England in the 1830s. In the 1850s, when some Charlottetown Anglicans from the Parish of Charlotte (St. Paul's) travelled abroad on business, they were inspired by the effects of this movement on the worship of England's churches. They returned to Prince Edward Island determined that these teachings and observances be practised in Charlottetown.
Anglican parishes on Prince Edward Island were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia. In the Rt. Revd Hibbert Binney, the travellers found a pastoral leader sympathetic to the Oxford Movement. Before long, he decided that a building then being planned as a "chapel-of-ease" of St. Paul's Church would become instead a cathedral under his own control.
The first services were held in June, 1869. Ten years later, on the Festival of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29), the cathedral was consecrated. The cathedral building occupies the corner of All Souls' Lane and Rochford Street. It faces a park known as Rochford Square and is across the street from the Prince Edward Island Government offices.
Throughout its history, St. Peter's Cathedral has continued in the principles on which it was founded, as reflected in preaching, teaching, and worship.
Most of the cathedral incumbents or rectors have served for a significant period of time. The present rector is only the ninth since the parish was founded. The first priest-incumbent, the Revd George Hodgson (1869–1885), was succeeded by the Revd Canon James Simpson (1886–1920). He was followed by Canon Elwin Malone (1921–1952). Following Canon Malone, the Revd Canon Gerald Moffatt served as rector from 1952 to 1958. He was followed by Archdeacon J. R. Davies (1958–1967), Archdeacon G. S. Tanton (1967–1973), and the Revd Canon H. M. D. Westin (1974–1990). The most recently retired rector, the Revd Canon Peter Harris, came to the parish as curate in 1989 and was appointed rector in late Fall of 1990. Upon the retirement of Canon Harris on November 30, 2014, the Revd David Garrett was appointed rector.
St. Peter's Cathedral is well known to tourists and visitors because of the noted All Souls' Chapel, which is attached to the cathedral on the Rochford Street side. It was originally conceived as a memorial to the first priest-incumbent, Father Hodgson. The second incumbent, Canon James Simpson, along with two gifted parishioners, brothers William Critchlow Harris, an architect, and Robert Harris, an artist, envisaged what the future chapel would look like. William chose Island sandstone for the exterior and Robert adorned the interior with eighteen paintings depicting the Church Fathers, scenes from the New Testament and, over the altar, the majestic circular painting of the Ascending Christ. Skilled Island craftsmen succeeded in bringing to life the detail they envisaged. Work on the construction of the chapel began in 1888, and it was first opened for worship in November, 1889. In 1990, All Souls' Chapel was designated as a "National Historic Site". An exterior plaque in recognition of this designation was dedicated at a special ceremony in July 1994.
A new parish hall attached to the cathedral was erected in 2004, replacing an older hall that had stood on that site for over 100 years.
A full schedule of Sunday and weekday worship is maintained (Matins, Evensong, and the Holy Eucharist), and there are numerous parish organizations and activities.