St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church, New York City

#90 of 118 in Historic Sites in New York City
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church, also known as the Église St-Jean-Baptiste, is a parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 76th Street in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. The parish was established in 1882 to serve the area's French Canadian immigrant population and remained the French-Canadian National Parish until 1957. It has been staffed by the Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament since 1900.
Financier Thomas Fortune Ryan, a Catholic convert in his teens, bankrolled its construction. It was designed by Nicholas Serracino, an Italian architect practicing in New York, who, inspired by the Italian Mannerists, combined elements of the Italian Renaissance Revival and Classical Revival architectural styles, Seracino won first prize for the design at the Esposizione Internazionale delle Industrie e del Lavoro in Turin, Italy in 1911. It is his only surviving church in the city.

The church is one of the few Catholic churches in New York City with a dome, and only one of two – the other being St. Patrick's Cathedral – with stained glass windows from the glass studios of Chartres. The building was designated a city landmark in 1969, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 along with its rectory. From 1995–96 the interior and exterior were both restored and renovated.

Started in 1882 in a rented hall above a stable, the congregation has been through three buildings at two locations. St. Jean Baptiste High School was started on the grounds as an elementary school by nuns of the Congregation of Notre Dame in 1886. In the late 19th century, an exposure by a visiting priest of a relic of St. Anne, intended for one night, grew into a three-week event during which many miracle cures were alleged by thousands of pilgrims who crowded the church; as a result, the church now has its own shrine to the saint, which led to a failed effort to get it designated a basilica. In 1900 it passed from the control of the founding Fathers of Mercy to the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, who introduced Eucharistic adoration as a worship style.
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  • We attended a very moving concert here two months ago, and have signed up for additional concerts held here on a regular basis. The interior of this church is remarkably beautiful, and a very...  more »
  • This was my mother's church growing up. As a child I was in awe every time I came with her to visit. My uncle was a Priest here as well. This church holds many great memories to me. The inside is....  more »
  • The homiles are concise, very meaningful to daily life and faith deeping. It is like this in every mass and there is the exposition of the blessed sacrament after mass. It's a place that is very conducive to praying wholeheartedly. I wish all churches are like that
  • Its a pretty church. To bad for all these building casting a shadow and blocking its awesomeness. It has a great theatre in the basement liken to being at a Broadway play.

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