An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

St John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia

Historic seat of Henrico Parish, one of the oldest parishes in the United States. The plantation parish of Henrico began in 1611 with the Rev. Alexander Whitaker as its first rector. In 1617 plans were made for the “University and Colledge” of Henrico, and in 1619 ten thousand acres were granted for the college. In 1622 this effort was destroyed by the Indians. Whitaker baptized Pocahontas, the first Indian convert to Christianity. On Mar. 23, 1775, at the second convention of the church in Virginia at St. John's Church, Patrick Henry made his famous speech in which he said, “Give me liberty . . . or give me death.” The Rev. William F. Lee, the rector, started calling the church St. John's in 1828. The present church building is the fourth or possibly the fifth built for the parish. It was constructed in 1741 on land given by Colonel William Byrd, Jr., founder of the city of Richmond. About thirty of the pews and the pulpit remain from the colonial interior. St. John's is still an active parish.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.