St. Francis Xavier Church (Manhattan)

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Coordinates: 40°44′18″N 73°59′43″W / 40.738279°N 73.995152°W / 40.738279; -73.995152

St. Frances Xavier Church
File:St Francis Xavier Church, Manhattan. c.1900 Postcard.jpg
Postcard view of 16th Street Facade of St. Francis Xavier Church, c.1900. The church's exterior has not changed significantly.
St. Francis Xavier Church, 46 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011
General information
Town or city New York City
Country United States of America
Client Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
St. Frances Xavier Church, Manhattan (Flatiron)

St. Francis Xavier Church is a Roman Catholic church in Manhattan at 30-36 West 16th Street between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) in the Flatiron District neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The church attracts many lesbian and gay parishioners.[1]


Founded in 1851 by Jesuits from the village of Fordham,[2][3] the original sanctuary, designed by William Rodrigue, was the scene of a panic on March 8, 1877 when someone shouted "Fire!" in the church during a Mass; seven people died.[4] This church was torn down in 1878. Built over the next four years, the current church has been in use since 1882. Designed by Irish-born architect Patrick Charles Keely – who over his career designed hundreds of churches[2] – the exterior of the church is Neo-baroque[5] in style, while the interior has stained-glass windows with a pre-Raphaelite character.[6]

A campaign for the extensive restoration and preservation of the church that began in 2001 was completed in 2010 under the direction of EverGreene Architectural Arts and Thomas A. Fenniman architect.[4][7][8]


  1. "A Parish Without Borders". The New York Times. April 6, 2012. Many gay and lesbian Catholics travel to the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Chelsea. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes: West 16th Street; A Side-Street Surprise: A Monumental Church" New York Times (March 27, 2005)
  3. Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X. Volume 3: The Province of Baltimore and the Province of New York, Section 1: Comprising the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, Buffalo and Ogdensburg Together with some Supplementary Articles on Religious Communities of Women.. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p.326.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dunlap, David W. (2004) From Abyssinian to Zion. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7, p.204
  5. White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5. , p.192
  6. "St. Francis Xavier Church" on NYC
  7. Saint Francis Xavier: Restoration history
  8. Bahamón, Alejandro and Losantos, Àgata. New York: A Historical Atlas of Architecture (New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2007), p.99.

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