Historic Structures

Church of the Holy Cross, Troy New York

Date added: February 7, 2010 Categories: New York Church

The Church of the Holy Cross was founded by Mary Warren in the early 1840's. Under the direction of Mary Warren's son, Nathan B. Warren, the church nave was built from designs by Alexander Jackson Davis in 1844. The chancel addition, by Richard Upjohn, was completed in late 1848 and dedicated in January, 1849. In 1846, the Church of the Holy Cross instituted the first full choral service in an Episcopal church in the United States. In the full choral service, the psalter, creed and responses of the English Cathedral Service are chanted by the choir while the officiant intones his part. In 1863, the Mary Warren Free Institute was built adjoining the church to the south in order to further religious and musical instruction in the Episcopal Church.

The Church of the Holy Cross was founded by Mary Warren in the early 1840's. Her son, Nathan B. Warren, carried on the building project, employing Alexander Jackson Davis to design the original church in 1843, Richard Upjohn to expand the chancel in 1848, and Henry Dudley to complete the proposed additions to the ante-chapel suggested by the Ante-Chapel at New College, Oxford, England. The altarpiece for the original church, representing "The Evening of the Crucifixion", was presented to the church by Robert W. Weir, Professor of Drawing at West Point. The Bible was given by Amos S. Perry, a resident of Troy, and the prayer books were an offering from the Clergy of Northern New York who gave them as an expression of sympathy for the death of the founder and respect for her family's continuation of the enterprise.

The first rector of the church, the Reverend John Ireland Tucker, held that office for fifty years. During this time he was prominently identified with Episcopal Church music. He was editor and/or author of prefaces for The Hymnal, With Tunes Old and New (1873), The Service Book of Anglican Chants and Gregorian Tones (1878) and The Hymnal, Revised and Enlarged [1894) which became popularly known as the 'Second Tucker,' During his administration, the Church of the Holy Cross instituted the first full choral service in an Episcopal church in the United States, The impact of religious music on the congregation must have been of increasingly important concern to the Warren family and the Church of the Holy Cross; in 1865 the Mary Warren Free Institute was completed, adjoining the church on the south, and dedicated to the teaching of religion and church music.