St. Peter's Church (Richmond, Virginia)

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St. Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church Richmond.JPG
Basic information
Location 800 E. Grace St., Richmond, Virginia, United States of America
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Status Active
Architectural description
Architectural style Neoclassical
Direction of façade southwest
St. Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church (Richmond, Virginia) is located in Virginia
St. Peter's Church (Richmond, Virginia)
Location 800 E. Grace St., Richmond, Virginia
Coordinates 37°32′26″N 77°26′8″W / 37.54056°N 77.43556°W / 37.54056; -77.43556Coordinates: 37°32′26″N 77°26′8″W / 37.54056°N 77.43556°W / 37.54056; -77.43556
Area 0.2 acres (0.081 ha)
Built 1834 (1834)
Architectural style Romanesque
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 69000358[1]
VLR # 127-0015
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 23, 1969
Designated VLR November 5, 1968[2]

St. Peter's Church of Richmond, Virginia, located at 800 E. Grace St., is the oldest Catholic Church in Richmond. From the erecting of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1850 until the completion of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in 1906, St. Peter's Church served as the cathedral and seat of the diocese.[3] Originally, the church was predominantly Irish American. The church continues to serve a congregation of approximately 300 today.[4]

After the Civil War, St. Peter's basement hosted the city's "colored Catholics." The 13-member congregation included Emily Mitchell (Indian-looking and born into slavery in 1824, brought from Baltimore and who later served Bishop James Gibbons), Julia Grandison (baptised in Georgia and brought to Richmond at age 9), Moses Marx (who began driving Bishop John Keane's buggy at age 12), Liza Marx (who learned to read and reminded the judge reading her mistress' will that he forgot the lines bequeathing money to Elizabeth Thompson and her next child of issue), and Julia Flippen and her children.[5] When the congregation had increased to about 50, including children, Bishop Keane signed a deed for what became St. Joseph's Church on Shockoe Hill, also invited the Josephite Fathers from Mill Hill, London, for help in furthering that apostolate.[6]



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "St. Peter's Church". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Our History". St. Peter's Church. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Nessa Theresa Baskerville Johnson, A Special Pilgrimaage: A History of Black Catholics in Richmond (Diocese of Richmond, 1978) at pp. 13-15
  6. ^ Johnson, pp. 16-18