On January 15, 2005, our church was dedicated by Cardinal Justin Rigali in a packed, joy-filled Mass.
The entrance to the church is approached by a tree-lined walkway that extends through the parking lot.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia mandated that all new churches built in the Archdiocese must seat a minimum of 1000 people. For liturgical reasons, the Office of Worship also suggested a fan-shaped design in order to have the people closer to the altar than is possible in a church with a long, narrow nave.
As one enters Sr. Basil the Great Church and looks up, there is a beautiful Jerusalem Cross. The cross was handcrafted from wood recovered from a 200 year old white oak tree that once graced the old St. Basils playground. The crucifix of the Risen Christ the King hanging on the memorial wall is from the previous church sanctuary.
Nave (Center of Church)
The sanctuary is the focal point of the church, regardless of one's location in the nave. The altar table top was crafted from the same old white oak tree as the Jerusalem Cross. Relics of St. Timothy, St. Dympha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. John Neumann, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Claire of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis Xavier were placed in the altar at the church's Dedication. Over the sanctuary is the Pantocrator window. A traditional baptismal font is to the right of the altar where it is best lit, and fitted with a microphone, for maximum visibility and participation.
Behind the altar is an eighteen foot wide high-relief sculpture created by local artist and parishioner Carolyn Walton. Our late pastor Fr. McLaughlin commissioned Carolyn to create this piece of art - a piece that took Carolyn five years to create. The center of this reredos wall features the Holy Trinity. The left panel features all of the canonized relatives of St. Basil the Great in Byzantine vesture and stance, as well as Old Testament prophets. The right panel features Latin Rite saints in Western vesture and stance, as well as Fr. McLaughlin.
In front of the altar is another high-relief sculpture by Carolyn Walton depicting Christ's Resurrection, the Fifteenth Station. You may learn more about the Trinity Altar Wall and Resurrection Altar Front by clicking here.
The pews and furniture were provided by New Holland Church Furniture. New Holland also created the altar top, oils ambry, and Jerusalem Cross from the wood from our William Penn White Oak trees.
The Stations of the Cross
In July, 1999, the very beautiful parish church of St. Anthony of Padua in the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia was closed. These Stations of the cross, acquired from St. Anthony of Padua Church, were created by the plaster masters of Paris over a century ago. Each Station is a classical-style sculpture, standing on an oak shelf, which has the name and number of the Station.
The picture to the left is of the First Station when it was still in St. Anthony of Padua Church.
The Seventh Station, Jesus Falls the Second Time, was missing. Again, local artist and parishioner Carolyn Walton was commissioned to create this station to match the others. You may learn more about the Seventh Station here.
The Stained Glass Windows
Our parish also acquired the magnificent stained glass windows from St. Anthony of Padua Church. The 16 arched stained glass windows were crafted by John Morgan & Sons of New York between 1893 and 1910 in the Munich tradition with imported Bavarian glass. The windows are 11 1/2' tall. They were hand painted, hand etched, hand silvered, and baked at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, rendering extraordinary colors and scrolling details. Two large round windows (the Pantocrator over the altar and the Yahweh in the Chapel) were especially created for the new church for a total of 18 beautiful stained glass windows.
This picture shows the windows when they were still in St. Anthony of Padua Church.
The two arched windows in the stairwell:
1. St. John the Baptist
2. Angel with Child
In the main church, the windows from left to right:
- St. Catherine of Siena
- St. Dominic receiving the rosary from the Blessed Virgin Mary
- The Immaculate Conception
- St. Patrick
- Jesus and the Children
- The Last Supper
- The Pantocrator round window
- Feeding of the Five Thousand
- The Good Shepard
- Sacred Heart
- St. Michael the Archangel
- St. Vincent de Paul
In the Chapel area:
- The Annunciation
- The Yahweh window
- St. Anthony of Padua
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel
The Chapel, connected to the main church, seats 100 people. The Chapel is used for daily Masses. It can also be used for smaller weddings, funerals, private adoration, and a crying room during Sunday Mass. The Chapel is separated from the main church by a glass wall, so that the tabernacle is in plain view from anywhere in the church. The Stations of the Cross in the Chapel were previously used in our original church. Carolyn Walton also created these in 1982 during her last year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The wood carved crucifix between the reconciliation rooms is from the former church sanctuary.
The tabernacle, the "tenting place" of the Lord, is the most special place in the church. Just below the Yahweh rose window, the archangels Gabriel and Michael point to the tabernacle, made of highly polished Russian gold.
The altar in the Chapel is the original altar from the previous church. It was built by the men of the parish.
The icons located on the rear wall of the Chapel were written by Artist Niko Chocheli. Niko is originally from the east coast of the Black Sea in the Republic of Georgia, near where St. Basil himself is believed to have lived.
The icon of St. Basil the Great is in the right arched panel. St. Macrina, St. Basil's sister, is in the left arched panel. The icons of the archangels Gabriel and Michael point to the tabernacle.
These beautiful icons are written on canvas, and the gold behind the figures is 24k gold. If one looks closely, the 3'' by 3'' square pieces of gold that were hammered onto the canvas can be seen.
Click here to see pictures of the icon installation.
The Memorial Rosary Garden
On December 29, 2010 Theresa Burigatto, a parishioner of St. Basils for over 40 years, was called Home to the Lord. In the interest of carrying on Theresa's wishes to support the faith community of St. Basil's and to make it a parish that will grow and prosper, the Burigatto Family donated this Memorial Rosary Garden in Theresa's honor.
This garden, which includes a marble statue of the Blessed Virgin Mother, benches and a walking Rosary, is intended not only as a beautification project for the parish, but also as a place of prayer and meditation. Additionally, this garden is meant to be a beautiful place of memory and a reminder that our beloved are with the Lord in Heaven and Mary our Virgin Mother. Each stone of the Rosary was made available to our parishioners for inscriptions of special intentions as a perpetual memorial to a loved one.
The Memorial Rosary Garden consists of a brick pathway leading up to a statue of Our Lady of Grace. This statue, made of white marble, sits on a decorative pedestal and granite footing creating a seven-foot ensemble for parishioners to venerate the Blessed Mother. Two white marble benches flank either side of the Madonna and are backless so, when seated, you can meditate on the Rosary Garden or adore Our Lady of Grace as you wish.
The Madonna statue leads to a three-foot solid marble cross laid in brick which begins the Rosary. A gravel path leads around to pray each decade, which consists of ten white marble "beads". The marble, which is pure Carrara marble, was imported from Mr. Burigatto's hometown in Italy, where Theresa is laid to rest. Each decade of ten "beads" ends and begins with one rose marble "bead" signifying the Our Father. Additionally, a 14'' x 14'' rose marble diamond represents the Hail Holy Queen prayer.
The garden is adorned with foliage, plants and flowers. The internal body of the garden is ornamented with rose bushes and flowers in yellow, purple, red and white, representing each Mystery of The Rosary: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious.
This Memorial Rosary Garden was the first of its kind in Chester County and was executed by Brickman Landscaping a nationally recognized landscape design company.