The Congregational church was built in 1862 and stands on the corner of Victoria Parade and Simpson Street (176 Simpson Street), East Melbourne . It remained a Congregational Church for more than 70 years until 1937 when the building was sold to the Syrian Orthodox Church. It is now known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas.
The three light west window above the principal entrance was crafted by Ferguson & Urie. The centre light contains a scrolling ribbon with a piece of scripture from the King James Bible;
“BEHOLD THE HEAVEN AND HEAVEN OF HEAVENS CANNOT CONTAIN THEE HOW MUCH LESS THIS HOUSE THAT I HAVE BUILDED? 1st KINGS 8:27”
At the bottom edge of the centre light there also appears a very rare occurrence of the company name “Fergus & Urie”. The two outer lights have obvious evidence of replacement pieces of rudimentary painted glass which has faded to a light brown colour.
Photos taken: 11th September 2012.
The Age, Melbourne, Wednesday September 10th 1862, page 3.
“A new Congregational Church in Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, was opened for public worship on Sunday last. Sermons were preached by the Revs. J. W. Beer, J. Taylor, and J. Bickford. Yesterday evening a public soiree to celebrate the event was held, the ladies of the congregation providing the necessary refreshments gratuitously. A public meeting subsequently took place, at which George Harker, Esq., presided. Addresses were delivered by the Revs. J. L. Poore, I. New, Moss, Day, W. Butters, and J. Beer; and by the Hon. G. Rolfe, M.L.C. The church is a handsome building, though possessing no pretensions to a high order or architecture. It is 65 feet long by 39 wide, and is capable of comfortably seating from 400 to 500 persons. The windows are of stained glass, manufactured by Messrs Ferguson and Urie, of North Melbourne. The building cost altogether 1300; of which about 200 is still due, though a liberal offer was made in the course of the evening by Mr Ramsden, to subscribe 100 if the balance of the debt was raised by the congregation. It need scarcely be mentioned that the cost of the construction is solely borne by the members of the congregation, no portion of it being received from the state-aid grant”.
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