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Cathedral of St. Sava | by mudpig
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Cathedral of St. Sava

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from the New York Times:


A striking hidden midblock complex on West 25th Street -- an 1855 Episcopal church, an 1866 clergy house and an 1870 school -- is partway into a restoration project likely to be long and expensive. Since the 1940's, it has been the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, and even for native New Yorkers both the exterior and interior are likely to be a surprise.


The new Trinity Chapel became one of New York's most socially important churches -- Edith Jones had plenty of time to reflect on her imminent marriage as she walked down the long aisle to marry Edward R. Wharton in April 1885. She did not turn back, although she soon became disenchanted with her husband and developed her writing career around the turn of the century.


Fashion continued to move uptown and by the 1910's the side streets west of Madison Square were filling with loft buildings -- leaving the Trinity Chapel complex an oasis. Trinity Church decided to abandon its little outpost and The Times observed that ''no tears will be shed; it has never been considered a landmark,'' adding ''perhaps it is better to tear the building down than to build little additions to it and let the old church remain, battered and unsightly.''


Trinity Chapel remained open, and the Trinity parish thought enough of it to remove stained glass and other artwork in early 1942, during air raid concerns after Pearl Harbor. But later that year the parish put the chapel on the market, selling it in 1943 to members of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who established the old Trinity Chapel as the Cathedral of St. Sava, named after a 13th-century saint who became the first archbishop of Serbia. King Peter II, the exiled king of Yugoslavia, attended services here in the 1940's and never returned to his native land, which was still under Communist rule when he died in 1970.


Later the Communist Party of the United States moved into 23 West 26th Street, and between 1964 and 1972 there were a half-dozen bombings at their building. In 1966 a powerful one blew out the stained-glass windows in the apse of St. Sava, and the cathedral replaced them with ones of a Byzantine design, more familiar to practitioners of the Eastern Orthodox religion. Two years later the exterior of the complex was designated a landmark.



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Taken on June 7, 2008