The Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea has been closed for the summer for renovations to the columbaria and other maintenance in the chapel. One of three lower-level chapels depicting key moments in the life of Jesus Christ, St. Joseph’s Chapel holds the distinction of being the base for the building’s 300′ Gloria in Excelsis central tower. Huge columns at the four corners of the impressively vaulted space support the great piers in the crossing of the nave.
St. Joseph of Arimathea was the wealthy man who donated his own grave to the disciples, following the Crucifixion, for use as Jesus’ tomb. The scene is movingly depicted by a bold mural behind the chapel’s main altar, painted in 1939.
The chapel’s west gate leads to the Cathedral columbaria areas set aside for the burial of ashes, and spaces for full-body interments. The renovation work in these areas includes expanded columbaria capacity and better lighting.
A gallery of images from key moments in the chapel’s history is viewable online at www.nationalcathedral.org.