Spotlight on Blessed Trinity (Buffalo, NY)

This Sunday is the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, which makes it a fitting time to spotlight Buffalo’s Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, a worthy contestant in this year’s Church Madness and “one of the finest examples of 12th century Lombard-Romanesque architecture in the United States.”

Although this description is so specific as to be practically useless (I drive the finest grey 2014 Volkswagen with mountain-lion license plates in my entire neighborhood), the church building is indeed a world-class architectural masterpiece.

What does Lombard-Romanesque mean?

Romanesque art and architecture has been a frequent topic on this site, so it needs no further explanation. Lombardy is a region in northern Italy, of which Milan is the capital. Maybe the most beautiful and noteworthy “Lombard-Romanesque” building in the world is the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan.

Art and Liturgy - Basilica of St Ambrose - Milan Italy - Lombard Romanesque
Photo by Jakub HałunOwn work, GFDL, Link

Another good example is the Palazzo Sforzesco, an awesome citadel and palace, also in Milan.

Art and Liturgy - Palazzo Sforzesco Milan Italy - Lombard Romanesque architecture
Photo by Jakub HałunOpera propria, GFDL, Collegamento

(Fun fact! Several buildings at UCLA are beautiful revivals of this style.)

From these photos I think you can get a sense for the kind of buildings we are dealing with. For our purposes, let’s just say we’re talking about standard Romanesque churches with thick, huge walls made of awesome bricks.

Blessed Trinity in Buffalo

Work on Blessed Trinity began in 1923 under the auspices of Fr. Albert Britton, who studied for the priesthood in Innsbruck, Austria. His European adventures took him to Lombardy, where he was impressed by this style.

(Click to view larger images)

All of the bricks are unmolded and were laid by hand in the antique manner, a skill that was practically extinct even in the 1920s. Interior and exterior are richly decorated with terra cotta panels, which were also hand-laid. Many of the skills and artistic capabilities used at Blessed Trinity have been lost to time (though I do know of one really great company that preserves traditional methods…)

The parish website has a nifty section about the church’s architecture, which I urge you to check out. More detailed information about the architecture and symbolism of the church can be found here.

Here are two amazing videos of the church, taken by drone, inside…

…and out!

If you ever find yourself in Buffalo, make sure to stop by Blessed Trinity and take a look around!

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