The bishop’s coat of arms is prominently featured because the cathedral occupies a special place in the worship life of the Diocese of Orlando. From the cathedral, the bishop is called by the pope to lead and serve the local Church. Every new priest ordained for a lifetime of service to the Church of Orlando lies in supplication before the altar of the cathedral and receives the indelible mark of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The Cathedral is the seat at which the Bishop presides over the sacred liturgies of the Church. The word Cathedral comes from the word Cathedra which means the house of the seat of the bishop, so there is only one bishop’s seat in the Diocese of Orlando and it is at St. James. The cathedra is a symbol of the bishop’s teaching authority in the Catholic Church. Another chair is placed near the altar for use by any other presider who is not the Bishop of Orlando.
The altar is located in the center of the sanctuary. Consecrated by the Bishop through the Rite of Dedication of an Altar, it is the place where the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. Around this table, Catholics gather to be fed by Christ who is wholly and entirely present to us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. An image of the Paschal Lamb is engraved onto the front of the altar which symbolizes Christ’s passion, death and resurrection for the redemption of the world.
Above the Altar, six murals were hand painted and depict important scenes in the life of Jesus and the apostles. The Pentecost mural is located in the Sanctuary dome and was designed and handpainted by Renata Rohn of Rohn and Associates from Pennsylvania. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, is descending upon Mary and the Apostles 50 days after Easter. The seven rings or power emanating from the dove represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that each Catholic receives at their Confirmation.
Dozens of symbols and pieces of art are showcased throughout the cathedral. Along the outer borders of the wooden pews, the symbol of the scalloped shell is engraved. The shell is the traditional symbol of St. James because he was a fisherman in Galilea.
Located in the nave and eastern transept of the cathedral, there are 20 stained glass windows depicting the 20 mysteries of the rosary.
Tours are scheduled for groups by appointment. For more information on future tours, please call the parish office at 407-422-2005.