St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia was built in 1843-45. It is one of the largest churches in the Diocese of Virginia, seating 800 people. Located across the street from the Virginia State Capitol, it has long been a popular house of worship for political figures. Known as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy”, St. Paul’s counted Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee as parishioners.

This Greek Revival church was designed by Thomas Stewart of Philadelphia. It has long been considered a master-piece of the style. The original design was one of simplicity and devoid of religious symbols. At the time, such iconography was considered too Catholic for the Episcopal Church. About the time of consecration of St. Pauls, though, the ecclesiological movement was gaining ground in England. Their aim was to revive medieval art and architecture in the church. The movement reached St. Paul’s in the 1890s. At this time, the chancel was deepened and the center pulpit removed. The most important change was the beginning of the installation of the memorial stained-glass windows for which St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is widely known.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

In the late 1920s the Vestry of the Church decreed that the original windows on each side of the organ should stay clear glass as a reminder of the church’s early character. As you will see in these two interior views of the church as we look in both directions along the nave, these two windows alongside the organ are the only two which have not been replaced by stained-glass.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, as reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has recently announced that it will be removing six plaques from its walls which depicted various versions of the Confederate Flag. The Church’s coat of arms which also depicted the Confederate Flag will also be retired. This has resulted in the removal of the kneelers at the high alter as well as some bookplates from the church’s library, all of which depicted the coat of arms. The stained-glass windows which contain depictions of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee as biblical characters will remain.

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