Brooklyn Orthodox Christian Church building nominated for historic status

St. Nicholas Antiochan Orthodox Cathedral on State Street, Brooklyn, originally St. Peter’s Protestant Episcopal Church. Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson/Wikipedia

A church building at 355 State St. in Boerum Hill is one of 19 buildings Governor Kathy Hochul has nominated for state and national registers of historic places.

The church was built as the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Peter, but since 1920 it has become the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas. As such, he played a key role in fostering Brooklyn’s Arabic-speaking Orthodox Christian community in the early 20th century.

Most of the original members of the congregation were Syrian and Lebanese immigrants who first formed a congregation in Manhattan in 1895 and then moved to a location on Pacific Street in Brooklyn several years later. The present church house is the oldest continuously used Antiochian Orthodox Christian church in North America.

According to the church’s website, when the church purchased the former episcopal house of worship, “The parishioners managed to convert it into an Orthodox house of worship with the iconostasis, icons, chandeliers, etc. managed to rent it on a monthly basis.”

In June of this year, the block of State Street where the church is located was co-named “St. Raphael of Brooklyn Place,” at a ceremony attended by several officials. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, born in Lebanon, was the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America, and he served as Bishop of Brooklyn until his death.

Other notable buildings proposed by Governor Hochul include a “castle” built by prominent Catskill Mountains photographer/aviator Otto Hillig; a Buffalo bakery that helped introduce Wonder Bread to America; and a community library in the Adirondacks.

“New York’s historic places are priceless treasures that help us connect with our state’s past and rich heritage,” Governor Hochul said.. “These nominations reflect the fantastic breadth of the state’s history and the prominent role New York has played in the events that helped shape our nation. These additions to the historic registers will help ensure that resources are available to protect these iconic places and that their stories will inspire us long into the future.

Listing on state and national registries can help property owners revitalize properties, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as state grants and historic rehabilitation tax credits. state and federal. Over the past decade, the state has approved the use of business tax credits for the rehabilitation of more than 1,000 historic properties, generating more than $12 billion in private investment.

“Part of our mission here at State Parks is to help preserve and promote the incredible range of history present in the state,” said the Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Erik Kulleseid.. “Ensuring recognition of these places provides resources that will help keep this history alive and vibrant.”

State and National Registers are the official listings of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, and culture of New York State and the nation. .

There are more than 120,000 historic properties statewide listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Landowners, municipalities and community organizations across the state sponsored the nominations.

After recommendations are approved by the State Park Commissioner, who serves as the state’s Historic Preservation Officer, properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, then nominated, reviewed, and , once approved, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. .

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