The first Eucharistic celebration of Christ the King parish was held on August 15, 1936 in honor of the Feast of The Assumption by the founding pastor, Father Joseph P. Moylan. The site selected for Christ the King consisted of about four acres on Peachtree Road between Peachtree Way and East Wesley Road. The land, with the existing white mansion built in 1916 by Edward M. Durant, had been the national headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan.
A singular honor came to the parish on January 5, 1937, when Pope Pius XI issued a proclamation changing the Diocese of Savannah, organized in 1850, to the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta. The official decree, promulgated on April 15, 1937, elevated the parish to Co-Cathedral status, equal in rank to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah.
Groundbreaking for the new church and school took place on April 18, 1937 and construction proceeded rapidly on the two buildings. The cornerstone for the church was blessed and laid by Bishop Gerald Patrick O’Hara on October 31, 1937, the Feast of Christ the King. On that same day, the original school building was completed. The Philadelphia architectural firm of Henry D. Dagit & Sons designed the subdued classical cathedral in a French Neo-Gothic style with Art Deco elements embodying a minimalist traditionalism. The Cathedral itself was designated the “Most Beautiful Building in Atlanta” by Architectural Record Magazine in 1939.
On January 18, 1939, the completed Co-Cathedral was formally dedicated by His Eminence, Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in ceremonies attended by distinguished Catholic dignitaries, political leaders, and other prominent community members.
A special year for the parish occurred in 1956. On July 2, the Diocese of Atlanta was created. The Co-Cathedral was raised to the status of the Cathedral of Christ the King with the most Reverend Francis E. Hyland installed in the fall as the first Bishop of Atlanta. He brought with him from Philadelphia Fr. Michael Regan to be his secretary. Father James Boyce became the first Chancellor of the new diocese. Sister St. Raphael became principal for both the high school and primary school.
The Cathedral of Christ the King is a bustling, active parish of over 5,300 families, with a school of 500 children and a School of Religion with over 700 children enrolled. With over 80 active ministries, it continues to grow according to its mission statement, “to know, love and serve as Jesus did.”