American Cathedral in Paris

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Not to be confused with the American Church in Paris.
Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity
Paris (75) Cathédrale américaine 05.JPG
Basic information
Location Paris, France
Affiliation Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
Rite Anglican
Year consecrated 1886
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Status Active
Website http://www.americancathedral.org
Architectural description
Architect(s) George Edmund Street
Architectural type Cathedral
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1882
Completed 1886

Consecrated on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1886, the American Cathedral in Paris (French: Cathédrale Américaine de Paris) (formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity) is the gathering church for the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. The American Cathedral is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church is located in central Paris between the Champs-Elysées and the River Seine on avenue George V in the 8th arrondissement.

History[edit]

The origins of the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal/Anglican church in Paris, date back to the 1830s when American Episcopalians began to meet together for services in the garden pavilion of the Hôtel Matignon, now the official residence of the French Prime Minister, then the home of an American expatriate named Colonel Herman Thorn (1783–1859).[1] In 1859, the formal establishment of a parish took place and in 1864, the first church building was consecrated on Rue Bayard.

The cathedral appears in the painting Après l'Office à l'Église de la Sainte-Trinité, Noël 1890 ("After the Service at Holy Trinity Church, Christmas 1890") by Jean Béraud. The original painting is on loan to the Musée Carnavalet in the 3d arrondissement of Paris.

It was in the 1870s that Dr. John B. Morgan, who was a cousin of J. P. Morgan, became the Rector of Holy Trinity Parish. He decided that the congregation needed a larger church and began a fund-raising effort which was successful in raising the money needed. The site that was purchased for construction is on Avenue George V (then called Avenue d'Alma) and was originally part of the estate of the half-brother of Emperor Napoléon III, the Duc de Morny. The plans by English architect George Edmund Street were approved in October, 1882 and construction was completed in less than four years. The church had its inaugural services in September, 1886.

Consecration of the church took place on Thanksgiving Day on November 25, 1886, which coincided with the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Holy Trinity became a cathedral in 1922, continuing as a parish church and also serving as the official seat of the Bishop in charge of Episcopal churches in Europe.[2]

During the German occupation of France during World War II (1940–44), the cathedral was taken over by the German military chaplaincy.

The American Cathedral is a large urban parish with an active, committed and diverse congregation. The ministries of the church include Parish Life, Christian Education, Development, Finance, Mission & Outreach, Community Outreach, Stewardship, 20s and 30s group and Music. The building hosts a bilingual Montessori school, recovery groups such as AA, weekly free concert series at noon sponsored by Les Arts George V, and many more community-based services.

Architecture[edit]

The stained-glass windows were designed by James Bell and constructed between 1883 and 1893. Forty-two in number, their theme is the words of the Te Deum.[3]

The architecture of the American Cathedral is based on drawings done by George Edmund Street, a leading architect of the English Gothic Revival style, whose work includes the London Law Courts, the Church of St. James the Less in Westminster and the American Church in Rome. When George Edmund Street died in December 1881, before plans had been finalized, the vestry voted to award the work to his son, Arthur E. Street and to Arthur W. Bloom. The work of construction was contracted to Henry Lovatt of Wolverhampton, and building was begun in late 1882. The cathedral is 146 feet in length and 70 feet wide; the nave is 58 feet high, the chancel, 54 feet; the spire is 280 feet. The materials are St. Maximin and Savonniere stone and Ancy-le-Franc marble. The floor is Belgian and Italian marble. The chancel and aisles are vaulted in stone; the nave is vaulted in oak perhaps because in a constricted city area without the possibility of flying buttresses, stone vaulting would have been too heavy to sustain without independent supports.[4]

Gallery[edit]

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Coordinates: 48°52′3″N 2°18′3″E / 48.86750°N 2.30083°E / 48.86750; 2.30083