The soaring Rockefeller Chapel—modeled after the cathedrals and historic college chapels of the British Isles—is a major center for the performing arts as well as serving as the ceremonial and spiritual center of the University of Chicago.
A similar range of events takes place at the more intimate Bond Chapel, the jewel-like space adjacent to the Divinity School, treasured for its concerts and smaller spiritual and ceremonial gatherings.
First-time visitors are often surprised and awed as they step into Rockefeller Chapel. “I expected it to be smaller than this,” they say, perhaps conjuring the image of an airport chapel or the side chapel of a large church. Instead, they find themselves in a vast, cathedral-like space, with the intricately tiled ceiling almost eighty feet up, and the trumpet pipes of the magnificent E.M. Skinner organ protruding horizontally over their heads. With a seating capacity of more than 1,500, this is a majestic chapel of the kind found at many of the world’s greatest universities: a gathering place for academic ceremonies and for a wide variety of events.
It’s a place where music is made: choral music, jazz, contemporary music, and much more. The Chapel’s moveable stage, erected for special events, hosts everything from the student circus to visiting orchestras and bands and theatre events.
It’s the largest indoor gathering space of the University of Chicago. Those who have spoken to great crowds here have included Albert Schweitzer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jawaharlal Nehru, Jane Addams, Karl Barth, Martin Buber, Toni Morrison, Desmond Tutu, Angela Davis, Barack Obama, Wangari Matthai, Elie Wiesel, and Jane Goodall.
The architecture is unquestionably ecclesiastical, but Rockefeller Chapel is not a church in any traditional sense. The great liturgies of the Christian year are indeed celebrated here, but the prayers and ceremonies of many other traditions occur with equal regularity, and interfaith gatherings also.
Bond Chapel, where events are managed by the Rockefeller staff by kind arrangement with the Divinity School, likewise hosts a wide range of artistic, ceremonial, and spiritual events in its smaller (150-seat) and equally lovely setting. For information about holding a wedding at Bond, please see our weddings page.