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Oregon Avenue Between Crittenden and Arsenal Streets, Benton Park West, Fall 2020

St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church might not get as much attention as other churches in the city, but it often plays a role in fallen police officers’ funerals, as it sits on the east side of Oregon Avenue across from Kutis Funeral Home.

It is in the English Gothic Revival style, and is the second building on the site, as is common in St. Louis, replacing an earlier and humbler structure on the site that was built when the area was more rural.

To the south of the church, and past the rectory, is St. Frances Cabrini Academy, which is still educating students in the neighborhood.

A portion of what looks to be the parking lot of Kutis at the northeast corner of the block across Oregon is actually owned by the Archdiocese and functions as the playground for the school.

This really wonderful glazed terracotta medallion is a reference to John 15;5, ““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Christ obviously is represented by the heraldic shield of the Chi and Rho, the first two letters of his name in ancient Greek, while the the Twelve Apostles are represented by their attributes, many of which are the symbols of their martyrdom. St. Peter, for example, is represented as the crossed keys, symbolizing his role as the first pope, while his brother St. Andrew is represented by the X-shaped cross, which is how he was martyred. We’ve seen such imagery in the entrance gates of Calvary Cemetery.

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