St Luke's in the Fields

St Luke's in the Fields (45)

It was in October 1820 when a small group of Greenwich residents decided to stop meeting at Catherine Ritter's house and organise an Episcopal church for their ever-increasing community. They named it St Luke's in honour of the Luke the Evangelist, a doctor by profession, since this area of the city was a common place of refuge from the yellow fever that hit New York every summer. It is also important to note that one of its founders was Clement Clarke Moore, who later played an important role in the development of Chelsea.

In 1821 the foundation stone was laid on Hudson Street, donated by the Trinity Church, and the church was finally consecrated a year later, making it the third oldest church in New York. Soon after, in 1845, with thousands of faithful, the church became a reference for Anglicanism in the United States.

In 1891, St. Luke's became a chapel of Trinity Church and remained so until 1976, when it became an independent parish once again. Unfortunately a fire almost destroyed the church in 1981, but thanks to donations from citizens it was reconstructed in 1985, when it was consecrated again.

As you can see, it is a federal-style building, very austere. In this style, function always prevailed over form. You'll be interested to know that it was originally surrounded by farms that often flooded and could only be reached by boat.

Do not forget to visit Barrow Street Garden, which is usually open to the public on Sunday afternoons. A tree grown from a cutting from the legendary Glastonbury Thorn, reputed to have sprouted miraculously from a staff cut from the tree that produced Jesus' crown of thorns, grew here until 1990. Quite a legend.

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