Trinity Chapel Complex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Trinity Chapel Complex
Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava.jpg
Trinity Chapel Complex is located in New York City
Trinity Chapel Complex
Location 15 West 25th St.
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates 40°44′37″N 73°59′25″W / 40.74361°N 73.99028°W / 40.74361; -73.99028Coordinates: 40°44′37″N 73°59′25″W / 40.74361°N 73.99028°W / 40.74361; -73.99028
Built sanctuary: 1850-55
parish school: 1860
clergy house: 1866
Architect sanctuary:
Richard Upjohn
parish school:
Jacob Wrey Mould
clergy house:
Richard Upjohn &
Richard M. Upjohn
reredos & altar:
Frederick Clarke Withers
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82001205[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 16, 1982
Designated NYCL April 18, 1968

Trinity Chapel Complex, now the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, is a historic church at 15 West 25th Street between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

The church building was constructed in 1850-55 and was designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in English Gothic Revival style.[2] It was built as one of several uptown chapels of the Trinity Church parish, but was sold to the Serbian Eastern Orthodox parish in 1942, re-opening as the Cathedral of St. Sava in 1944.

The church complex includes the Trinity Chapel School, now the Cathedral's Parish House, which was built in 1860 and was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, a polychromatic Victorian Gothic building which is Mould's only extant structure in New York City.[2] Attached to the sanctuary itself is the Clergy House at 26 West 26th Street, which was built in 1866 and was designed by Richard Upjohn and his son Richard M. Upjohn.[3]

The chapel was designated a New York City landmark in 1968, and the complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.


Trinity Chapel[edit]

With the population of New York City moving ever-northward up Manhattan island in the mid-19th century, Trinity Church, the center of Episcopalianism in the city, needed to provide for its uptown parishioners, especially in the increasingly sought-after residential neighborhoods around Union and Madison Squares.[2] The church's solution was to build a chapel, named Trinity Chapel, on West 25th Street just off of Madison Square as an uptown annex.[4] The architect selected was Richard Upjohn, who designed the third and current version of Trinity Church, as well as the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue and West 10th Street, as well as many other churches in the Gothic Revival mode in the northeast.

The parish was a wealthy and influential one, and Trinity was the only one of Trinity Church's chapels which was capable of supporting itself without assistance from the home church.[4] Among the congregants was writer Edith Wharton, who was married in the church in 1885.[3] In 1892, the reredos and altar were redesigned by Frederick Clarke Withers.[3]

Bust of Nikola Tesla outside the cathedral

Cathedral of St. Sava[edit]

By 1930, as the rich and influential continued their uptown migration, the neighborhood around Madison Square had seriously declined. The Chapel was now located within the Tenderloin, the city's main entertainment and red light district, and the congregation had dwindled. A Serbian Orthodox congregation, founded in the 1930s, purchased the building in 1942, with assistance from various Serbian churches, and the building re-opened in 1944 as a Serbian Orthodox cathedral dedicated to St. Sava, the patron saint of the Serbs. The first pastor was Rev. Dushan Shoulkletovich.[4]

Gradual changes were made to the sanctuary to make it more Eastern Orthodox in style. A hand-carved oak iconostasis was added in 1962, and when a bomb went off nearby the church in 1973, destroying some of the stained-glass windows, they were replaced with new ones commissioned in Byzantine-style.[4] Outside the church are busts of Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, who was instrumental in founding the parish, Nikola Tesla, the inventor and entrepreneur, and Michael Pupin, a physicist of Serbian heritage.[3][4]

The entrance to the cathedral


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Postal, Matthew A. (ed. and text); Dolkart, Andrew S. (text). (2009) Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.) New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1 p.80
  3. ^ a b c d White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5.  p.199
  4. ^ a b c d e Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion. (2004) New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7, p.244

External links[edit]