Medieval NewYork | Holy Trinity Main | Byzantine Architecture |  Exterior  | Interior 

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Holy Trinity
Church

213 West 82nd St.
New York NY 10024
212 787-0634

by

Frederick D. Taylor

Believe it or not, but some aspects of medieval culture have filtered into modern society. Although many parts of the medieval age have disappeared and drifted away, its culture still made some lasting contributions. In fact, medieval methods of architecture have definitely lingered on as a heavy and dramatic influence upon the modern era. On any given day you can look around your own town and notice buildings that have traces of medieval architecture. Medieval-like structures are especially apparent in New York City. The Holy Trinity Church, located at 213 West 82nd Street, is just one of many churches which represent medieval architecture.

Background of the Church

It is certainly fitting to acknowledge the beauty of Holy Trinity Church since it is approaching its centennial birth. On October 23, 1898, Reverend Joseph H. Bigley was appointed the right to establish a new parish on the West Side between 77th street and 86th from Central Park to the River. As Father Bigley’s diary reads: "The property selected was the north side of 82nd Street, one hundred feet west of Amersterdam Avenue… [and was] incorporated under the name of "The Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church." Although a parish was established at the end of 1898, the building, as we know it today, did not begin until 1900, when the church was under the supervision of Father Michael J. Considine.

The area on the West Side in 1900 was by no means desolate and therefore presented a problem for Father Considine who wanted to expand the church. Thus, it was not until two years later when the father managed to purchase the surrounding property and develop the perimeters of the parish. On Sunday, July 3, 1910, the cornerstone of the church’s superstructure was finally laid down and the task of completing the parish began.

Father Considine was determined to construct a church whose "beauty would be an inspiration to man and a tribute to God."(The Holy Trinity Church 7) It is quite apparent, when viewing the church today, that Father Considine achieved his goal. One factor, which contributed to this turn of the century church’s beauty, is its uniqueness. Unlike the other churches of the same era, Father Considine and Joseph H. McGuire, the church’s chief architect, decided to stray away from the popular and common use of the classic designs. Both decided not to bind the church’s architecture extensively to Gothic or Romanesque forms. Instead, Considine and McGuire chose to revert to the initial form of Christian Architecture – Byzantine. By the time of the church’s dedication on May 11, 1912, the decision to implement a predominantly Byzantine form for the church proved to be an excellent and regretless choice. As the Catholic News stated at the time, "the new Church of the Holy Trinity…is built of brick and terra cotta and possesses a handsome fašade [and] is considered to be one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in this country…"(The Holy Trinity Church 8)

Sources

Holy Trinity Church, Hackensack, New Jersey, Custombook, Inc., 1973.

Mathews, Thomas F., The Early Churches of Constantinople, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1971.

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Medieval NewYork | Holy Trinity Main | Byzantine Architecture |  Exterior  | Interior