Cathedral of the Incarnation, RC
Nashville, TN

Pilcher Op. 819 2/17 (1914)
A W Brandt 2/22 (1978) Rebuild/enlarge
Milnar 2/25 (1999) Rebuild/enlarge

8' Open Diapason
8' Rohr Flute
8' Gemshorn
4' Octave
4' Flute d'Amour
2' Principal
1 1/3' Larigot
IV Mixture
Unison Off


16' Bourdon
8' Stopped Diapason
8' Salicional
8' Voix Celeste tc
4' Principal
4' Harmonic Flute
2 2/3' Nazard
2' Spitz Principal
2' Spill Flute
1 3/5' Tierce tc
8' Cornopean
8' Orchestral Oboe
Unison Off


16' Subbass
16' Lieblich Gedeckt SW
8' Principal
8' Bourdon (ext)
4' Principal (ext)

Source: Ken Stein

Incarnation is the third cathedral for the diocese. The first cathedral, Holy Rosary, was located on the present site of the Tennessee State Capitol; it was demolished. The second cathedral, St. Mary's (now St. Mary's of the Seven Sorrows), was completed in 1847 at what is now Fifth and Charlotte Avenues.

Construction of the present Cathedral complex began in 1907. The rectory was first to be build, followed by the school (now St. Albert Hall) and finally the church, itself, which was completed in 1914. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1910 with the erection of the bell tower. About $500,000 later, the church was completed and dedicated on July 26, 1914. The design of the church is based on St. Martin's-on-the-Hill in Rome; the bell tower is similar to that of St. Damase Church in Rome.

The first major renovation was undertaken in 1937. The original hardwood floor was replaced by one made of an asphalt and rubber composite. The clerestory windows, the major source of natural light, were replaced with painted art glass. A vestibule was added so that there was a 'weather lock' between the street and nave. The color scheme of the nave was changed to darker colors. The sanctuary was enlarged and a large sacristy added. The Angelus prayer was inscribed on the upper walls under the windows and an Angelus bell was added to the church tower. New lighting was added, as well as other mechanical changes that were necessary by that time.

The second major renovation occurred in 1987, at which time the nave was closed for eight months while work was accomplished. Since the darkened look of the nave was no longer appreciated, new clerestory windows with prismatic glass were put into place and the entire nave was repainted in soft, bright contemporary colors. The dark oak pews were refinished in a lighter stain. The sanctuary was extended a further ten feet. The floor covering was replaced with a new tile floor from Switzerland and Crossville; thousands of tiles were cut to provide the desired effect. The Baptistry was moved to the north end of the main aisle for liturgical and symbolic reasons and a pool added. The tabernacle was moved to a new Eucharistic Chapel in the main body of the church; a companion chapel was changed into the Chapel of Reconciliation, leading to the Reconciliation Room, itself.

The first known organ was Pilcher Op. 819, a two-manual of seventeen ranks installed in the gallery in 1914. In 1978, A. W. Brandt rebuilt and enlarged the organ to twenty-one ranks. In 1999, the Milnar Organ Company again rebuilt and enlarged the organ - this time to twenty-three ranks.