About St. Andrew Church

St. Andrew Church, an architectural masterpiece built in 1927, was the inspiration of Monsignor John McCarthy and architect Ross Montgomery. The Romanesque church tower and facade are replicated from Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a church dedicated in 1123 and situated in Rome on the left bank of the Tiber River.

The interior of the church is a replica of the Basilica of Santa Sabina dating to the early days of Christianity in Rome. In that church, situated on the Aventine Hill, marbles from many lands enhanced the columns. At St. Andrew's, the Corinthian-capped scagliola columns are the work of Italian artisans of the 20th century.

The altar and baldachin are structured of white Carrara marble, and the mural above, depicting the legend of St. Andrew, was painted by Carlo Wostry, a Venetian master descended of Italian mural painters of the Renaissance.

St. Andrew Church is recognized as an extraordinary replica of Romanesque architecture a and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About St. Andrew Tower

The campanile of St. Andrew Church is a replica of the tower of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. This church stands on the left bank of the Tiber River in the ancient city amid an area densely packed with Roman monuments of every date. The tower is of the square Romanesque style which endured for 1000 years and was influenced by the emerging architecture of Constantinople.

Originally, Santa Maria Cosmedin was Santa Maria in Schola Graeca a conventicle in the Greek colony. Pope Adrian I converted the conventicle to a church in the Greek custom. Greek artisans who adorned the church were so appreciated that the church name was changed to Santa Maria in Cosmedin...Greek meaning “to adorn”. The entrance of St. Andrew is also replicated from the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This type of portico was unknown to Romans in the 10th Century but was used by the Greeks as an entrance to their most important buildings.

Santa Maria in Cosmedin as we know it today was ready for conservation on May 6, 1123 on which occasion the date was cut on the table of the high altar. Out of the body of this church surges the tallest of the campanile on the Aventine and the most spectacular of those surviving in Rome at this time.

Founding of the St. Andrew Restoration Committee

Following the earthquakes that occurred during the l970s and 1980s, it became apparent that costly repairs and a number of restoration projects were needed at St. Andrew Church. Fortunately, the Archdiocese would cover the cost of earthquake damage to the Church tower and would pay for some seismic improvements within the Church.

A number of parishioners spoke with the pastor, Monsignor English, to express concern about the proposed work. They wanted to be assured that all work would be done carefully and in keeping with the historic nature of the Church.

Monsignor English invited a number of parishioners to serve on a Restoration Committee. The Restoration Committee began its work by meeting regularly with members of the construction firm working on the Church tower. The Committee also hired its own seismic engineer to assist the Church and to make some additional seismic improvements.

The seismic work was underway but the Committee members quickly realized that the Church was suffering from deferred maintenance. It became apparent that St. Andrew’s faced some expensive restoration challenges.

It was decided to sponsor a fall concert in the Church to raise funds for the needed work. Restoration Committee member, Ann Longyear, chaired the first Concert, which was so popular and financially successful that it quickly became an annual event. All monies raised are used for restoration projects in St. Andrew’s Church.

Here is a list of some of the projects have been completed using funds from the concerts during the last two decades:

  • The baptistery walls were repaired and restored.
  • Inappropriate wood paneling was removed from the vestibule walls. Original paintings beneath the panels were cleaned and restored.
  • New tables were designed for the three Church vestibules.
  • The damaged cast stone balustrade in the Bride’s Room was repaired.
  • The sound system was upgraded.
  • The side chapel was cleaned, painted and new light fixtures designed and installed on the walls.
  • The cast stone was carefully cleaned throughout the Church.
  • All heavy wood doors at the entrances were repaired and re-stained.
  • A new carefully designed lighting system was installed around the main altar.
  • The Stations of the Cross were cleaned and repaired as needed.
  • The stained-glass windows throughout the Church were repaired.
  • The choir loft was cleaned, repaired, and repainted. New appropriate light fixtures were purchased and installed.
  • New cast stone planters, waste receptacles, and benches were installed outside the Church.

The members of the St. Andrew’s Restoration Committee include:

Claire Bogaard, Chair
Father Paul Sustayta, Pastor
Carol Clark
Tom Collins
Ann Longyear
Dan O’Melveny
John Van de Kamp
Mary Shea