Trinity Church – Boston, MA
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Trinity Church in the City of Boston, located in the Back Bay of Boston, Massachusetts, is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The congregation, currently standing at approximately 3,000 households, was founded in 1733. The current rector is The Reverend Anne Bonnyman. Four services are offered each Sunday, and weekday services are offered three times a week from September through June. Trinity is considered to lean towards "High Church", but while continuing to be a Broad Church parish.
In addition to worship, the parish is actively involved in service to the community, pastoral care, programs for children and teenagers, and Christian education for all ages.
The church is home to several high-level choirs, including the Trinity Choir, Trinity Schola, Trinity Choristers, and Trinity Chamber Choir.
After its former site burned in the Great Boston Fire of 1872, the current church complex was erected under the direction of Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), one of the best-known and most charismatic preachers of his time. The church and parish house were designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and construction took place from 1872 to 1877, when the complex was consecrated. Situated on Copley Square in Back Bay, Trinity Church is the building that established Richardson’s reputation. It is the birthplace and archetype of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by a clay roof, polychromy, rough stone, heavy arches, and a massive tower. This style was soon adopted for a number of public buildings across the United States, and was the first American architectural style imitated in Europe and Canada.
The building’s plan is a modified Greek Cross with four arms extending outwards from the central tower, which stands 64 m (211 ft) tall. The church is situated in Copley Square, in the shadow of the John Hancock Tower. Having been built in Boston’s Back Bay, which was originally a mud flat, Trinity rests on some 4500 wooden piles, each driven through 30 feet of gravel fill, silt, and clay, and constantly wetted by the water table of the Back Bay so they do not rot if exposed to air.
"David’s Charge to Solomon" (1882), a stained-glass window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, in Trinity Church.Its interior murals, which cover over 21,500 square feet (about 2,000 m²) were completed entirely by American artists. Richardson and Brooks decided that a richly colored interior was essential and turned to John La Farge (1835-1910) for help. La Farge had never performed a commission on this scale, but realized its importance and asked only for his costs to be covered. The results established La Farge’s reputation.
The church’s windows were originally clear glass at consecration in 1877, with one exception, but soon major windows were added. Four windows were designed by Edward Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris. Another four windows were exceptional commissions by John La Farge, and revolutionized window glass with their layering of opalescent glass.
Albumen print of Trinity Church detail, ca. 1877-1898Trinity Church is the only church in the United States and the only building in Boston that has been honored as one of the "Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States" by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1885, architects voted Trinity Church as the most important building in the U.S.; Trinity Church is the only building from the original 1885 list still included in the AIA’s current top ten list. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970.
The church also houses sculptures by Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
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