Basilican Architecture

The church’s architecture is a contemporary expression of an ancient basilican form, first used by the Romans, and later adopted by the earliest Christians, reflecting both the Community of Jesus’s ecumenical vision, and its monastic identity. Its shape and design beautifully accommodates the worship that takes place within it – both the daily celebration of Eucharist, and the Liturgy of the Hours. The strong longitudinal layout, the columns and arches flanking the central path, the central roof trusses, and the apse that envelopes and displays the altar, all underscore the altar’s significance, and give directional movement to the sanctuary. Antiphonal seating allows for chanting the psalmody. The unique placement of the organ chambers in the side aisles allows the organ to speak throughout the church.

Nine other buildings encircle the monastic center. A common or green organizes gathering and movement like a New England town common. The Church, Chapter House and Bell Tower are constructed of Minnesota limestone, evoking permanence and the sands of Cape Cod. Support buildings are white New England clapboard and shingle.

For information about a guided tour of the Church please visit


William RawnWilliam Rawn Associates,  Boston, MA

William Rawn has served as Principal for Design for the Church of the Transfiguration, Orleans, Massachusetts and the overall architectural master plan for the Community of Jesus. He is the founding principal of William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., in Boston, a firm that has developed an international reputation for a broad range of design projects, from music and theater buildings to college campuses and complex urban buildings. The firm has won seven national American Institute of Architects Honor Awards in the past eleven years, and fifty-six city, state, and regional AIA Awards. Mr. Rawn’s design for the Galvin Family Chapel at Babson College was featured in Architecture for the Gods, Recent Religious Architecture in the Americas (1999) by Michael J. Crosbie. Major past projects include the 1200-seat Seiji Ozawa Hall for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, recently ranked as the 13th best concert hall in the world (Le Berenek, Concert Halls and Opera Houses). Major current and recent projects include the US Courthouse at Cedar Rapids, Temple Beth Elohim (Wellesley, MA), UMBC Performing Arts and Humanities Facility (Baltimore, MD), and University of Virginia Band Rehearsal Hall.

G. Thomas Ryan Liturgical Consultant: G. Thomas Ryan Orleans, MA

As a pastoral liturgist, Tom Ryan served as the consultant on liturgy, architecture and liturgical art for the Church of the Transfiguration. He has served as the Director of the Center for Pastoral Liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC, coordinator of Liturgical Architecture for the Archdiocese of Boston, and liturgist for the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston. Tom is internationally known for his writings, including The Sacristy Manual – the definitive guide for all English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries, and The St. Andrew’s Bible Missal. Since moving to Cape Cod in 1991, Tom also served as building consultant and liturgist for the new parish church at Corpus Christi, Sandwich. He is on the Board of Directors of the Cape Cod Council of Churches, and Coordinator of the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission.