(NYT) The rusted gates at the Catholic Church of St. John the Martyr in Manhattan remained padlocked on Sunday, as they have since the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York closed them for the last time in 2015.
This year would have been the church’s 130th anniversary as a house of worship, but the Church of St. John the Martyr is sacred no more.
The church, on East 72nd Street on the Upper East Side, was one of 18 shuttered churches that the archdiocese deconsecrated recently, paving the way for the properties to be repurposed or sold, which appraisers say would bring tens of millions of dollars to church coffers.
The decision to deconsecrate — which means transform the houses of worship to secular purposes — was announced in decrees posted on the archdiocese website in June.
The decree for each church said the move would allow the start of “negotiations that may lead to the sale of the property.” Two canon lawyers said it was the largest number of deconsecrations they had ever seen in a single day. [More]