Architecture of St Peter's Church, New York City
Among its most important characteristics, St. Peter's Church architecture is an outstanding example of Greek revival that closely follows the tradition of classic monumentality, like so many of its predecessors in Rome. The extreme simplicity of the smooth masonry walls, grand portico and six ionic columns presents a temple-form building of excellent proportions and lends an air of great dignity to the building. Architects of the present day church, erected in 1834, were John R. Haggerty and Thomas Thomas.
Over the main altar is The Crucifixion painting by the Mexican artist Jose Vallejo., a gift from
Archbishop Nunez de Haro of Mexico City in 1789.
The stained glass windows are conceived in the rich Renaissance tradition, of brilliant flowing color in medallians and figures, against a delicate luminous background of gold and white. The left window group is devoted to four subjects connected with the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ - the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, and the Holy Family. The windows on the right are concerned with the closing scenes of Our Lord's ministry on earth - the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension.
This view of the sanctuary displays the following statues (left to right) of Christ, St. Patrick, St. Therese of Liseux and St. Anthony.
"The pews have been restored to their original wood and refinished", says former pastor Fr. Kevin Madigan. "They were installed in
1840 and made from trees that grew along the
Hudson River when Henry Hudson was sailing
But it is the commanding words of Christ that are most poignant post 9-11. After the World Trade Center tragedy, Fr Madigan added an inscription in the sanctuary; the words flow high across the entire space like a ribbon from one side to the other.
Tall letters in gold leaf proclaim: Tu es Petrus, et hanc super Petramaedificabo Ecclesiam meam. Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.
Translated the words say: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will built my Church. And the gates of hell will not prevail against it."
Above the painting of the Crucifixion is another inscription which translates: "When I am lifted up, I will draw everyone to myself." (John 12:32)
(Quotes of Fr Madigan recorded by National Catholic Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen)