The Cathedral’s Canterbury Pulpit has hosted everyone from U.S. presidents to Billy Graham to the Dalai Lama. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon here, on March 31, 1968, before he was assassinated later that week in Memphis.
The pulpit was one of the first furnishings given to the Cathedral. Before construction began, Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee acquired stone from the Archbishop of Canterbury that had been part of the Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral, which had recently undergone repair.
Designed by the English architect W. Douglas Caroe from a sketch Satterlee had created, the pulpit was carved in England and depicts the history of English translations of the Bible. Each of the three paneled sections depicts an illustrious church leader: the Venerable Bede (673-735), Stephen Langton (1150-1228), and William Tyndale. The center panel depicts Langton, the archbishop of Canterbury, handing the Magna Carta to King John for his signature.
The four statues separating the panels depict Alfred the Great (871-899), John Wycliffe (1330-1384), Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), and Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901).