Walking down on 22nd Street between 8th and 9th avenue in Manhattan nobody would expect to come across anythig like the church of St. Paul's. Built in 1897 the building smoothly merges with the »brown-stone houses« of the quiet district of Chelsea. Only after a second look you recognize the historically valuable and intact example of the architectural style at the turn of the 19th century. Many movies and films have been shot in St. Paul's, as it has all classic marks of a church.
The outside shows a lively, symmetrically built front structure, in which the middle axis emphasizes the main portal on the ground floor with a lavish, multiparted window in the upper level. Three lancet-formed inserts enhance the view way beyond the traditional rose-window, which adorns the starting page of our homepage. The symmetry-axis finally ends in the stony cross, which is located on the top of the slate tiled roof .
The inside of the church measures 27,5 m (about 30 yards) in length and 14 m (about 15 yards) in width and seats about 570 persons. It is divided into the high and narrow main-nave and two lower side-naves. Clustered columns with capitals of acanthus-leaves takek the eyes of the viewer to the roof with its uncluttered, well-proportioned cross vaults, ornamented with hanging capstones. The walls of the five-parted, relatively flat apse are covered with a network framing the windows.
Altar, pulpit and bookrest as well as the number-boards were manufactured by Semmann Wagerin & Co. in Milwaukee. These sacral objects take up and vary typical gothic subjects like ogees and traceries as well as decorated petite columns and »Wimperge«. The well-carved altar-top shows a five-nave church as a crosscut. The middle-niche, which is line with the surrounding apse forms the frame for the crucifix made of brass. The arms of the crucifix end up in decorated squares.
Memorial plaques on the walls are dedicated to deceased pastors and parish members or remember of special events in the life of the parish.
The five colored-glass windows of the apse were made by „Münchener Hofkunstanstalt Mayer & Co.” Munich, Germany. Each window depicts main events of the ecclesiastical year. In the middle of the cycle is the crucifixion. There the vertical arm of the crucifix exactly meets the middle-axis of the church. The crucified is kept in the so called »Dreinageltypus«: The broken down body of Jesus, with his head angled, hangs in front of a blood-red aura which is delimited by schematic frizzing clouds below.
The Easter- and Ascension-windows flank the middle glass-window. Marked as the risen from the dead, with the flag of victory, Christ appears next to the kneeling Maria Magdalena. She has put the salve cup aside to convince herself of the incarnation of Christ by touching him. But the risen right hand of Jesus implicates the ban of touching him. So this scene is called „noli me tangere!“, which means: do not touch me.
In the Christmas window the worship of the shepherds and the portrayal in the temple seem to merge. The old man with beard and long white hair (Simeon?) is kneeling in front of the child who is turning to his mother and holding out his arms to her.
Both windows to the right illustrate the ascension of Christ and the pouring of the Holy Spirit. They are based on traditional templates: enveloped by a light-blue cloud Christ is floating away, out of the middle of his disciples. The illustration of the Pentecost uses the well-known symbolism of the lambent flames and the dove in a hallow.
Take a 360 degrees view of the church (Attention: Large file!)
The church is open for vistors from Tuesday to Thursady between 10 am and 5 pm. Just ring the bell at the door.