About Saints Philip & James Catholic Church
& University Parish
James Cardinal Gibbons laid the cornerstone of the first home of Saints Philip & James on September 5, 1897. The present church building was dedicated on June 15, 1930. This grand and imposing structure incorporates the finest features of the Greco-Roman and Byzantine styles it represents. It is considered to be the preeminent accomplishment of the much-acclaimed Baltimore architect, Theodore Wells Pietsch. The interior walls of the church also display the gound-breaking work of John J. Early, who pioneered the use of marble chips in concrete, and represent the first use of this process in Baltimore. After more than a century of faith and service, Saints Philip & James continues to be a beacon of hope to its community and one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant churches in Baltimore.
What do the inscriptions on the Church mean?
Above the front and side porticos of Saints Philip and James Church you will find Latin inscriptions in stone. This follows an ancient custom of decorating monumental buildings as "books in stone" and clearly distinguishing the use for which the structure has been dedicated. Below are the inscriptions under which all who worship at Philip and James Church must pass:
West Portico (Main Entrance)
"INTER SANCTOS SORS ILLORUM EST"
"THEIR LOT IS AMONG THE SAINTS" (Wisdom 5:5)
"DOMUS DEI DOMUS ORATIONIS"
"THE HOUSE OF GOD IS THE HOUSE OF PRAYER" (Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13)
"DOMUM DEI DECET SANCTITUDO"
"HOLINESS BEFITS THE HOUSE OF GOD" (Psalms 93:5)
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