St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Manhattan

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Manhattan. Image 1: via

St Peter's Church is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in New York City and part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The church was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. The original church's cornerstone was laid in 1785 and the first solemn Mass was celebrated in 1786. This was nearly three years before George Washington—standing less than a mile away on an open-air balcony of Federal Hall (the nation's first capitol)—took the oath of office as the first president of the United States. The cornerstone of the present Greek Revival church, designed by architects Thomas Thomas and John R. Hagarty, was laid in 1836. The exisiting church was completed in 1840.

Prior to construction, due to anti-catholic sentiments, city officials in 18th-century New York urged project organizers to change the church’s initial location on Broad Street, in what was then the heart of the city, to a site outside the city limits at Barclay and Church. The builders relented and accepted the present location. On Christmas Eve 1806, two decades after the church was built, the building was surrounded by Protestants incensed at a celebration going on inside — a religious observance then viewed by some in the United States as an exercise in “popish superstition,” more commonly referred to as Christmas. Protesters tried to disrupt the service. In the melee that ensued, dozens were injured, and a policeman was killed.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Manhattan. Image 2: via

St Peter’s Church is where Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first United States citizen to be canonized, converted to Catholicism. Saint Elizabeth often prayed before The Crucifixion painting above St. Peter's main altar. (The painting by Mexican artist Jose Vallejo was a gift from the archbishop of Mexico City in 1789).

St Peter’s Church was also the parish of Pierre Toussaint for 66 years who was born a black slave in Haiti and well-known known for his great generosity to the poor. Toussaint is currently in the process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church.

The building was damaged during the September 11, 2001, attacks due to being hit by a portion of the landing gear. The World Trade Center cross temporarily sits on the Church Street side.

based on Wikipedia page
Contact info:
22 Barclay Street,
New York, NY 10007-2705