On May 21-22, Corpus Christi R.C. Catholic will participate in The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites Open House Weekend. The church joins dozens of religious institutions throughout New York State, and especially Blessed Trinity R.C. Church, the Buffalo Religious Arts Center and the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Buffalo, in welcoming the public to this special event.
Corpus Christi will host tours from noon – 2:00p.m. on Saturday May 21 and from 1:00p.m. – 3:00p.m. on Sunday, May 22 as a way to share this historic treasure with the entire Western New York community. The tours are free and all are cordially invited. This event is part of a year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program.
Corpus Christi Church, designed by noted Buffalo architects Schmill and Gould, was dedicated on June 13, 1909. The magnificent interior features some of the finest ecclesiastical art in Buffalo, including exquisite stained glass windows by Franz Mayer Works of Munich, Germany and the iconic Disputa mural above the altar, which is a rendering of a Vatican masterpiece by celebrated, Renaissance painter Raphael Santi. The church complex is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Disputa is currently undergoing a high profile restoration by acclaimed art conservator Roman Kujawa to return the painting to its original beauty.
Since 1986 The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program has supported more than 660 religious institutions throughout the state which have received over $6.7 million in matching grants. Sacred Sites is the country’s oldest and largest statewide grant program to help landmark religious properties. Corpus Christi received a matching grant from the Sacred Sites program in 2007, and again this year for restoration of the church’s north tower.
Approximately five years ago, water infiltration and freeze/thaw effects caused a portion of the sandstone cornice of the north tower to fracture and collapse. A wind storm in December of 2008 further damaged sections of the cupola. While intermediate steps have been taken to stabilize the tower for the short term, a more comprehensive restoration is required to reverse significant deterioration and potentially more costly remediation to the exterior envelope of the church.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s grant for the north tower work makes it possible to continue the momentum of the church’s restoration at a time when many of Western New York’s historic buildings are undergoing major improvements in anticipation of the National Trust Conference to be held in Buffalo this October.
For additional information on the Sacred Sites Open House Weekend, contact Colleen Heemeyer, Manager of Grants and Technical Services at the New York Landmarks Conservancy at 212-995-5260 or visit http://www.nylandmarks.org/programs_services/grants/sacred_sites_program.