Crypt – Breathtaking design
The Crypt of St Marys Cathedral is considered by many as the jewel in the crown.
The Crypt is a breathtaking cavern of striking architecture and ornate design. It is highlighted by the magnificent terrazzo floor, considered to be one of the finest mosaic floors in the world.
It was created by the Melocco Brothers, who introduced terrazzo flooring to Australia. The stunning Celtic cross inlayed in the floor of the Crypt is a striking feature 42 metres long by 21 metres wide. It is further adorned by five medallions depicting the days of Creation and on the stems and arms of the cross are 18 smaller medallions illustrating the titles given to Mary, the Cathedral’s namesake. The cross with its heady mix of complex swirls and geometric patterns in exuberant colours highlights the inspiration Peter Melocco translated from the Book of Kels, a manuscript of the gospels which traces its origins from the sixth to ninth centuries.
The Crypt, first and foremost is a sanctuary; the resting place of some of our most important Australian Catholic leaders. From pioneer cleric John Joseph Therry to eight Sydney Archbishops the slabs placed above their graves are masterpieces in their own right with delicately written inscriptions outlining the highlights from the lives of the men who lie beneath.
There are altars to remind one of its solemnity and sacred purpose and the altars, which like the floors, abound in rich symbolism. The base reliefs on the Polding and Kelly Memorial Chapel altars depict various scenes from Jesus’ life including His Passion.
Though mainly known now as a stunning venue for art and liturgical exhibitions, music concerts, weddings and other special events, the venue remains a true artistic masterpiece.