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“I am not religious, but I love this cathedral” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Cathedral of Christ the Light

The Cathedral of Christ the Light
2121 Harrison St., Oakland, CA 94612
+1 510-832-5057
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Ranked #11 of 54 attractions in Oakland
Type: Architectural Buildings
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Owner description: Anchored by the world's newest Catholic cathedral - The Cathedral of Christ the Light - the entire Cathedral Center is a beautiful and welcoming gathering place to experience liturgy, arts and cultural events reflecting the diversity of Oakland and the Bay Area.
san francisco
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“I am not religious, but I love this cathedral”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

It has terrible acoustics, so is not good for a concert, but the feeling of the place is wonderful. When my friend had cancer our family lit our candles there, and prayed, and she is now cancer-free! So it works even for the non-religious. My husband and father-in-law went for the Spanish Christmas mass, (no unfortunately, we aren't spanish-speaking), but my FIL decided last minute that he wanted to go to Christmas Mass. They both came home glowing. So I think of this place as sanctuary for all.

Visited December 2012
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38 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
oakland
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Nt all that great looking, and took land off the tax rolls”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

Great location right on Lake Merritt but it doesn't use the location at all. Is certainly lighter than if it had been a concrete monstrousity without the extensive windows, but really nothing special. Worst of all it now takes land off the tax rolls and Oakland needs the tax money far more than it needs another church dispensing fairy tales

Visited December 2012
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Dallas, Texas
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Modern Cathedral for the New Century”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2012

While on a short trip to San Francisco we made a point to travel over to Oakland to see this newly opened cathedral designed by the well-known New York firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. And, I was most glad we did. Situated on the northwest shore of Lake Merritt it definitely makes a bold statement.

The architecture is a radical shift from cathedrals of old as seen throughout Europe and the rest of the world both in it's exterior design as well as interior functions. In fact, I was struck by how very non-traditional everything about the layout was for a Catholic church, for example having the choir in a semi-circle at the front end behind the alter. Except for a few hints it could easily be a church of any denomination. And yet, looking closer and reading more about the architect's vision, you learn that it is filled with design elements that are religious-based and steeped in symbols of the church from ancient times.

The design is a very clean, modern look that is dominated by the theme of light. The projected window of Christ taken from a 12th century image found in the Chartres Cathedral is especially effective as is the interplay of the louvers and roof elements. The mausoleum downstairs is beautifully done and definitely worth a visit as well.

The cathedral is part of a large complex of buildings including an underground parking structure, plaza, gift shop, outdoor fountain, and rectory. Cross over to the lake to get nice overview pictures but unfortunately there is a very ugly building behind it that ruins much of the drama of the building so choose your camera views carefully.

There is a daily tour at 1:00pm on Mondays-Fridays. In addition, there is an advertised short organ concert on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. Unfortunately, although we were told the organ would be played the day we were there, we waited in vain and finally told apparently they had changed the schedule which was a shame.

This is a definite visit for the architecture fan, especially those interested in religious spaces. Much of the design is quite successful and innovative and you will definitely enjoy your visit.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A Cathedral for the 21st Century”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

No, this cathedral cannot compare to Notre Dame, Chartres, Rheims.
It was designed for the new century, as was the new one in Los Angeles.
When we walked inside the first time, the gigantic image of Christ took our breath away. You should arrive at 1 PM for the free guided tour. All of our out of town guests come away impressed; some ask to return. Wife and I plan to be interred in the crypt below . Hopefully, not soon !

Visited June 2012
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Fremont, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“The tour!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

If you go, take the guided tour. I was amazed and moved by this beautiful cathredral (even though not Catholic) and the work the church does for the community in the Oakland area..make sure to go down the stairs to the burial sites..and visit the the gift shop!! Combine that with lunch at the Lake Merritt Boat House, and it will make for a nice outing! ck ahead for concerts....

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