WASHINGTON -- The Washington National Cathedral has received a $5 million gift from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for restoration of damage caused by last year's 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

The quake damaged several tons of hand-carved masonry on the cathedral's three high towers. Cathedral officials say the grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment will allow them to begin active stonework restoration on Thursday. Previously, stonemasons had been stabilizing damaged stone and mapping the extent of the damage.

The restoration work is expected to last years and cost $20 million. The cathedral also has $30 million worth of preexisting preservation needs. The Rev. Francis Wade, interim dean of the cathedral, says the Lilly family played a key role in building the cathedral, and the grant will help ensure it will be "preserved for future service."

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  • National Cathedral Repairs

    Against a foggy backdrop, Joe Alonso, left, head stone mason, and Andy Uhl, stone carver, at the Washington National Cathedral, oversee the removal of damaged upper portions of the southeast grand pinnacle, weighing two tons, from the central tower of Washington National Cathedral in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • National Cathedral Repairs

    Workers erect scaffolding around the northeast grand pinnacle of the central tower at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • National Cathedral Repairs

    Against a foggy backdrop, Joe Alonso, left, head stone mason, and Andy Uhl, stone carver, at the Washington National Cathedral, oversee the removal of damaged upper portions of the southeast grand pinnacle, weighing two tons, from the central tower of Washington National Cathedral in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • National Cathedral Repairs

    Against a foggy backdrop, Joe Alonso, left, head stone mason, and Andy Uhl, stone carver, at the Washington National Cathedral, oversee the removal of damaged upper portions of the southeast grand pinnacle, weighing two tons, from the central tower of Washington National Cathedral in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • National Cathedral Repairs

    Joe Alonso, left, head stone mason, and Andy Uhl, stone carver at the Washington National Cathedral, oversee the removal of damaged upper portions of the southeast grand pinnacle, weighing two tons, from the central tower of Washington National Cathedral in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • National Cathedral Repairs

    The central tower of the Washington National Cathedral is shrouded in fog as a worker secures a beam on the of the southwest grand pinnacle, in Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The Cathedral's central tower pinnacles were damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck the East Coast on August 23. The damaged portions of pinnacles are being removed to make the pinnacles and central tower stable until the stonework can be repaired and put back in place.

  • Washington National Cathedral Inspected For Earthquake Damage

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Katie Francis (L) and Emma Cardini, members of the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, use rapelling ropes to scale down one of the towers on the west front of the National Cathedral while looking for damage from August's magnitude 5.8 earthquake and high winds from Hurricane Irene October 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. The DAT members used cameras, cell phones and iPad computers to record places on the cathedral's west front where damage was apparent. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Washington National Cathedral Inspected For Earthquake Damage

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Emma Cardini, a member of the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, uses rapelling ropes to scale down the nirth tower on the west front of the National Cathedral while looking for damage from August's magnitude 5.8 earthquake and high winds from Hurricane Irene October 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. DAT members used cameras, cell phones and iPad computers to record places on the cathedral's west front where damage was apparent. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2011, file photo, damage to the Washington National Cathedral is seen the day after a earthquake shook Washington and much of the East Coast. The unexpected jolt cracked the Washington Monument in spots and toppled delicate masonry high atop the National Cathedral. The shaking was felt far along the densely populated Eastern seaboard from Georgia to New England. While West Coast earthquake veterans scoffed at what they viewed as only a moderate temblor, last yearÂ's quake has forever changed the way officials along the East Coast view emergency preparedness.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)