Holy Trinity Church (Chicago, Illinois)

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Holy Trinity Church


Holy Trinity Church is located in United States
Holy Trinity Church
Coordinates: 41°54′8.4″N 87°39′46″W / 41.902333°N 87.66278°W / 41.902333; -87.66278
LocationChicago
CountryUSA
DenominationRoman Catholic
WebsiteHoly Trinity Polish Mission
History
Founded1872 (1872)
Founder(s)Polish immigrants
DedicationHoly Trinity
Dedicated1873 (1873)
Consecrated1909 (1909)
Significant associated peopleRev. Wojciech Mielcuszny
Cardinal Joseph Louis Bernardin
Architecture
StatusMission church
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationFor Polish immigrants
Architect(s)William Krieg
Architectural typeChurch
StylePolish Cathedral style
Groundbreaking1905 (1905)
CompletedOctober 1906 (1906-10)
Construction cost$200,000
Specifications
MaterialsBrick
 
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Holy Trinity Church


Holy Trinity Church is located in United States
Holy Trinity Church
Coordinates: 41°54′8.4″N 87°39′46″W / 41.902333°N 87.66278°W / 41.902333; -87.66278
LocationChicago
CountryUSA
DenominationRoman Catholic
WebsiteHoly Trinity Polish Mission
History
Founded1872 (1872)
Founder(s)Polish immigrants
DedicationHoly Trinity
Dedicated1873 (1873)
Consecrated1909 (1909)
Significant associated peopleRev. Wojciech Mielcuszny
Cardinal Joseph Louis Bernardin
Architecture
StatusMission church
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationFor Polish immigrants
Architect(s)William Krieg
Architectural typeChurch
StylePolish Cathedral style
Groundbreaking1905 (1905)
CompletedOctober 1906 (1906-10)
Construction cost$200,000
Specifications
MaterialsBrick

Holy Trinity Church (Polish: Kościół Trójcy Świętej) - historic church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. It is a prime example of the so-called 'Polish Cathedral style' of churches, in both its opulence and grand scale. Along with such monumental religious edifices as St. Mary of the Angels, St. Hedwig's or St. John Cantius, it is one of the many Polish churches that dominate over the Kennedy Expressway in the Pulaski Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.

Holy Trinity Church is the home of the Holy Trinity Polish Mission since 1987.

Contents

History

Founded in 1872 to relieve overcrowding at St. Stanislaus Kostka, the city's first Polish parish. A twenty-year feud between the two parishes ensued, and the parish was not recognized canonically until an apostolic delegate was sent from the Vatican to resolve the issue. The Congregation of the Holy Cross was brought in to serve the parish under the leadership of Casimir Sztuczko. The parish was long identified with the Polish National Alliance since most of the parishioners were among its most active members. The building of the Kennedy Expressway which cut through the heart of Chicago's Polonia began a period of decline for the parish as many long-time residents were forced to relocate. Robert Kennedy attended Mass here that were part of the festivities surrounding the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade in 1961. The parish was transferred in 1975 to the Resurrectionists and in 1988 to the Society of Christ Fathers who administer it to this day. On September 14, 2006, the parish hosted Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski during a Mass celebrating his visit to Chicago.

Shots of Holy Trinity Polish Mission can be seen throughout Call Northside 777 (1948) starring James Stewart, the first Hollywood feature film to be shot on location in Chicago.

Architecture

View of the altar during evening mass

The original plans were drawn up by Herman Olszewski (better known by his pseudonym Von Herbulis), and had to be scaled down to fit the resources of the parish. Local architect William Krieg drew up the final version of the plans. The church building was begun in 1905 and completed by October 1906.

The building combines a variety of styles. Two towers flank the entrance, which features a monumental portico supported by four Corinthian columns. Corinthian pilasters and pediments adorn the openings in the lower portions of the towers; higher up, toward the cupolas, the decoration becomes exuberantly baroque. A baroque superstructure, constructed primarily of brick and stone, rises above the portico, but the interior segmental arches and the skeletons of the towers are of iron. Inside the church the north and south windows are Gothic-Romanesque in style.

This blend of styles is reminiscent of the many churches of Poland which were built during the Middle Ages and, after being damaged by war or fire, were rebuilt and remodeled to suit later tastes. Often the money was exhausted before the remodeling could be completed so that the exterior was executed in one style and the interior in another. The architect of Holy Trinity evidently followed the pattern of things remembered, hoping to give the congregation a feeling of the old country.

The turn-of-the-century church interior retains its original form. It is spacious (125 by 200 feet) and richly decorated. The segmental vaults are tripartite but, being of iron construction, have no supporting columns. Murals of religious scenes cover the walls, including a group depicting the patron saints of Poland. All of the windows are stained glass and represent sacred symbols familiar to the Polish immigrants who founded the parish, such as the Black Madonna over the altar of St. Francis of Assisi; Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn glows richly above the altar of the Sacred Heart. Other windows feature small windows of Polish Saints and martyrs as well as Polish eagles and folkloric motifs.

The interior decorations of Holy Trinity were executed in 1914 by K. Markiewicz. The mural paintings on the vaults were executed in 1926. The fine stained glass windows were selected in 1940 and installed in 1955. Most were installed by a well-known Polish artist, Irena Lorentowicz. A figure of Our Lady Queen of Emigrants by Professor Wiktor Zin was brought to the church and blessed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1990. 1992 saw the placement of an urn at Holy Trinity filled with soil from sites in the former Soviet Union where mass graves of murdered Poles were buried: Kharkiv, Katyn and Mednoye. Memorial plaques were installed in the narthex in 1993 and 1994; the first was in honor of Casimir Sztuczko, CSC, the longtime pastor of Holy Trinity who oversaw the building of the current church, while the second was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino. In 2000, new metal doors called the 'Millennium Doors' were installed, created by artist Jerzy Kenar. A complete renovation of Holy Trinity began in 2005 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the building of the present church. New copper domes were installed on the two church towers, new granite tile was installed in the presbytery, and the interior was completely repainted and refurbished. A new mural was added above the choir depicting St. Cecilia in the company of an angelic choir. Additionally, relics of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Karolina Kózka and Padre Pio, as well as depictions of St. Faustina, Cardinala Stefan Wyszynski and August Hlond and Pope John Paul II were added to reflect Saintly cults popular among today's Polish community.

Catacombs

Portion of the ceiling mural, depicting various scenes

Casimir Sztuczko CSC, the long-time pastor of Holy Trinity who oversaw the building of the present church, wished to have an area of the church set aside to venerate the holy relics of saints and the beatified. The result is one of the most distinctive and interesting aspects of Holy Trinity, its so-called 'catacombs', inspired by the underground cemetery meeting places where early Christians met while the religion was still illegal in the Roman Empire. The 'catacombs' are found beneath the area formerly occupied by the lower church, and consist of a winding path lined with niches containing saintly relics leading up to the chamber containing the grave of Christ. This was the first area of the church restored during the renovation campaign anticipating the 100th anniversary of the church, since the 'catacombs' had become dilapidated over the years, particularly during the period when the parish was marked for liquidation. Relics of new saints were added, as was a collection of stones from biblical sites in the Holy Land. The 'catacombs' are open on Sundays after Mass as well as during the liturgical season of Lent. Relics of the following saints are found in the 'catacombs', a number of them being represented by more than one reliquary:

Church in architecture books

See also

External links