Church of St. Paul the Apostle
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History - written by church staff
On January 4, 1876 the cornerstone for the Church of St. Paul the Apostle was laid, and so began the construction of the Mother Church of the Paulist Fathers. The church was the fulfillment of the ideals and hopes of Father Hecker, who dreamed of building a noble basilica that would combine the artistic ideals of the past, with the American genius of his day. After visiting and studying noted European churches, he communicated his ideas to the architect Jeremiah O'Rourke who drew up the plans for the present building. Father George Deshon, one of the original Paulists, and a West Point engineer, later took over as architect-in-charge and brought the church to completion in January 1885.
Inspired by the 4th & 5th century early Christian basilicas in Ravenna, Italy, the church is 284 feet long, 121 feet wide, and 114 feet to the highest point of the towers, which are 38 feet square. The grand exterior of the church reflects 13 th century Old Gothic. To decorate and beautify the interior of St. Paul's, Father Hecker engaged the eminent American artists John LaFarge, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Lumen Winter, Stanford White, and later, William Laurel Harris. Their combined majestic artwork can be seen throughout the church in its beautiful stained glass windows, murals, and sculptures...
The church also contains a world-class organ. This fine instrument, replacing an earlier Skinner organ, was constructed in 1965 by the M.P. Moller Company, and restored by the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company in 2000. It has 4 manuals, 82 ranks, 78 stops, and 4965 pipes. The Moller organ has attracted many famous organists eager to play this fine instrument.