All of you sportsball fans will be familiar with March Madness, but the real winner of this year's most important bracket is carved in stone here at the Cathedral.

Stone carving of Jonathan Daniels in the Cathedral's human rights porch

The church nerds among you will appreciate this one … the rest of you, well, bear with us.

The 2023 winner of the Golden Halo award over at Lent Madness is Jonathan Myrick Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian and civil rights martyr who was killed in Alabama in 1965 while working to register Black voters.

Daniels’ sculpture joined the Cathedral’s Human Rights Porch in 2015, adding to a quartet of 20th century icons including Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

If you’re not familiar with Lent Madness — and, in this season of Easter, we’ll forgive you for that — it’s an online contest between saints of the church. Or, to be more precise, between their fans. Bloggers rally their supporters in favor of one of their favorite saints, and whoever wins the most votes moves up in the competition until there are just two remaining.

This year’s finals — after the Round of 32, the Saintly 16, the Elate 8 and the Faithful 4 — pitted Daniels against Joanna the Myrrhbearer. Joanna, if you’re not familiar, is credited as one of the unnamed women who brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body in the tomb on Easter morning.

From our pal Neva Rae Fox over at The Living Church:

In its 14th year, Lent Madness is the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck of Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, and the Rev. Scott Gunn of Forward Movement.

The purposes of Lent Madness are: to learn about the lives of the saints, and why there are so important; to offer an educational experience for Sunday schools, individuals, adult forums, and anyone who wants to learn; to promote an avenue for community, both online and in-person; and to add an element of whimsy during Lent.

Previous winners include George Herbert (2010), C.S. Lewis (2011), Mary Magdalene (2012), Frances Perkins (2013), Charles Wesley (2014), Francis of Assisi (2015), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2016), Florence Nightingale (2017), Anna Alexander (2018), Martha of Bethany (2019), Harriet Tubman (2020), Absalom Jones (2021), and José Hernández (2022).


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

  • architecture