February 17: +Henry Yates Satterlee (1908)

With the significant role Epiphany played in creating the new Diocese of Washington, it will come as no surprise that the parish had equal interest in the selection of its first bishop. In fact, Epiphany’s rector, Randolph McKim and Morgan Dix of Trinity Wall Street were the two main contenders for the position. After a stalemate, Henry Yates Satterlee was brought in as a compromise candidate and won on the eleventh ballot. Satterlee had been rector of Calvary Church in New York for the previous fourteen years. Satterlee’s consecration took place at Calvary on the Feast of the Annunciation. Randolph McKim was one of the attending presbyters.

Bishop Satterlee’s first day in his new diocese was Palm Sunday 1896. His first act was the confirmation of 50 candidates at Epiphany. Ten days later, he confirmed 61 more at Epiphany Chapel. During his twelve years as bishop, Sattleree devoted much time and effort to the planning of a new cathedral for the diocese. Satterlee participated in the laying of the cathedral’s cornerstone on September 29, 1907. Sadly he died five months later, never having seen any of his dream come to fruition. Today his marble sarcophagus lies behind the altar of the cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel, bathed in the light of a window commemorating the Annunciation, the day on which the good bishop ascended to the historic episcopate.

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