"The Cathedral of Saint Gorboduc" is the third chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies.


Bellairs turns an amusing eye on religious buildings in this chapter, composed as if a feature story in a magazine or an article in an architectural anthology (indeed, the piece is said to be the first volume in the "Shrines That Live" series).  Located in Spain, construction on Gorboduc Cathedral is said to have begun in 623 and only recently saw completion in 1962.  Bellairs writes the abnormality is "one of the great examples of how many different styles of architecture may blend into a frozen fugue of harmonious integrity."

The Cathedral of Saint Gorboduc (2016 emblem)

Icon celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the third chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies (2016, Bellairsia).

Bowen guesses the completion date was recent only because "Americans expected articles about European cathedrals to emphasize their antiquity as well as their classic beauty - an ideal that John clearly wished to violate as fully as possible in this piece.[1]

Cologne Cathedral in Germany has a similar lengthy history: began in 1248, it took (with interruptions) until 1880 to complete.


  1. Correspondence with Charles Bowen.
Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies


3. The Cathedral of Saint Gorboduc


Cathedral of Saint GorboducDiagonal styleGruyere de la BoucheWhority
Los Honchos, Spain