The Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain in Port of Spain, a National Heritage Site Asset of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. (Image courtesy Holy Trinity Cathedral)

A major fund-raising initiative will be launched on Sunday November 14th, in support of restoration works at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain.

The Cathedral, a National Heritage Site Asset of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago and architectural gem, was built in 1818 and consecrated in 1823.  One of the city’s oldest surviving structures, its unique architectural merit and strategic geographical location in the heart of Port-of-Spain means it has been used for many historical and social events of significant importance in the history of this country.

However, the Cathedral is in dire need of restoration works to repair and refurbish it, emanating out of the 2018 earthquake, which damaged the structure’s exterior and interior.

And the head of the Anglican church in Trinidad and Tobago is appealing for the public’s support of the project.

During the launch to parishioners of the Diocese held three weeks ago, His Lordship The Right Reverend Claude Berkely, Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago, said the Holy Trinity Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican Diocese and the magnificent spiritual home in the capital city.

“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 in 1816. The Holy Trinity Cathedral was consecrated on Trinity Sunday 30th May 1823 and the 200th Anniversary will be celebrated with the restoration of the Cathedral that sustained devastating damage,” Bishop Berkely said, as he noted the Cathedral’s great significance to the tapestry of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Very Reverend Dr Shelley-Ann Tenia, Dean and Rector of the Cathedral stated the restoration and rehabilitation of the nearly 200-year-old building requires specialist contractors and artisans to restore it to its original state.  Major repair work is needed in the areas of the roof/ceiling; interior walls; exterior walls; stained glass windows; flooring; bells; organs and various electrical, mechanical and plumbing fixtures.

According to the Dean and Rector, there is moisture trapped within the walls and structural timbers which has 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,” Dr Tenia explained.

She revealed the earthquakes in 1825, 1918, and more recently 2018, had caused substantial cracking and damage to walls, the steeple, and chancel roof, as well as the destruction of several stone pinnacles.

Chairman of the Diocesan Restoration Fund Committee, Selby Browne, thanked the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its allocation of $20 million to assist with the works, as well as the tax concessions to Trinidad and Tobago all companies that contribute to Heritage Sites of the National Trust. He stated while some costs were met through the Church’s fundraising activities, additional funds are needed to have the restoration completed.

“The Cathedral continues to suffer from a host of minor and superficial damage that if left unattended, will contribute to further severe impacts in the future,” Mr Browne said.

Approximately $70 million is needed to restore the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

His Lordship Bishop Claude Berkley issued an appeal for donations:

“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 spiritual enlightenment, and community service. With this in mind, please help us restore the Holy Trinity Cathedral to its former glory.”

“The Appeal is for contributions to this Heritage Site, Asset of the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago to continue the historical proud legacy for the next 200 years, for which we thank you in advance,” he added.

Information about the restoration details, as well as on how to donate to the cause is available on the Cathedral’s website at  Bank transfers also can be made to the First Citizens Bank, in the name of the Incorporated Trustees of the Anglican Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago, account number 2696950.

The Formal Launch of the Holy Trinity Cathedral Restoration Fund will be held on Sunday 14th November 2021 at 5 pm at will be streamed on YouTube.