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Our History

Here at Holy Cross, we appreciate our history and how the Lord has worked through our church in the past, but this church is by no means a museum! We are a “living and active” church, excited for the present and future as God’s Word is “living and active” in us, continuing to transform us in Christ to share the hope of eternal life with others!

How long has Holy Cross been a church in Ste. Genevieve?

Holy Cross was founded on May 11,1867, just after the Civil War, by a small group of German Lutherans living in and around Ste. Genevieve. Among the founders of the congregation are many pioneer German-American citizens who settled in Ste. Genevieve County. For the first two years, this group of pioneers attended services in a building on Main Street.


In 1867, Holy Cross was served by the Pastor Besel of Peace Lutheran Church, Freidenburg. While he was pastor, the brick church, pictured here, was built,  with the cornerstone being laid October 21, 1867 and is still in use today. While construction costs of $3,500.00 seem insignificant to us today, it was no small undertaking for this tiny group of Germans. In fact, Roman Catholic friends and neighbors stepped forward to give financial help.



Where did that altar come from?

When you visit Holy Cross, you cannot help but notice the large and distinctive altar. It is the handiwork of Italian craftsmen, dating to the early 18th century. This altar was installed in 1950, replacing the original smaller German style. 


The original location of the altar remains uncertain. Some records suggest that it was used in New Orleans in a Roman Catholic church. Others speak of a Lutheran church in Texas. During the late 19th century, it was in Old Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Louis. From there, it was moved to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Chester, Illinois, and finally to Ste. Genevieve in 1950.


The statues are made of wood with plaster overlay. Jesus Christ is the central figure, with the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.


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Holy Cross Today

As mentioned above, we are a living and active church because God's Word is living and active. We continue to gather together for worship and Bible study, where we receive God's love, forgiveness and grace for us in Jesus Christ again and again! We continuously look for new ways to share God's love with our Ste. Genevieve community in our daily lives. Come join us!

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