ST. PETER’S, Tribeca

by Kevin Walsh

Ash Wednesday crowds enter and exit St. Peter’s Church, on Church and Barclay Streets. The church represents the oldest Catholic parish in New York State and is one of the oldest Catholic church buildings in the city. It is a Greek Revival temple-like structure completed in 1840, replacing an earlier church built in 1786. The church’s construction was aided by the donation of 1000 pieces of silver by King Philip III of Spain. St. Elizabeth Seton converted to Catholicism here, and the body of Father Mychal Judge was laid before the altar of the church after the FDNY chaplain was killed during the attacks on 9/11/01.

Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter. Churches dispense ashes produced from the palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday on the foreheads of the faithful in the shape of a cross to demonstrate penitence at the beginning of Lent.



John T February 13, 2013 - 9:04 pm

The inside is beautiful too.

I never thought of this as Tribeca however. Either downtown or City Hall area, I’ve always considered Tribeca’s southern border to be Chambers Street.

nilus February 14, 2013 - 2:53 pm

A coworker of mine here in downtown who exits the Staten Island Express bus near St. Peter’s tells me that at appx. 7:30am ashes were being distributed on the street to the waiting faithful.(Too bad the lines for mass weren’t that long.) I went to Our Lady of Victory, William St. for mine.

John Harp February 14, 2013 - 8:35 pm

I agree with John T – I always called this simply St. Peter’s Barclay Street.

Beverly Seaton February 15, 2013 - 2:25 am

Yes, but not only Catholic churches. Ashes are routinely offered at Ash Wednesday services at Protestant churches as well. I comment because, as usual, all of the media coverage of the ritual shows a Catholic service. “You come from dust, and to dust you shall return” — stardust, I think the scientists tell us.

Kevin Walsh February 15, 2013 - 9:36 am


Anja February 15, 2013 - 5:02 pm

Philip III of Spain (Spanish: Felipe III; 14 April 1578 – 31 March 1621).

I don’t think he donated the 1000 silver.

Thomas June 5, 2020 - 12:03 pm

It was Knig Charles III of Spain.


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