Upon the death of
Bishop Richard Channing Moore there were many testamonials to the
fruits of his years of labor in the diocese. However, before
listing those remembrances of his service we include first, directly
below, a statement concerning the state of the Episcopal Church in
Virginia before Bishop Moore's consecration and arrival in Richmond.
Following that are some testamonials to the work of Bishop
State of the Church in Virginia, 1814
The committee of the
house of clerical and lay deputies, appointed to examine the journals
of the different State conventions, Episcopal charges, addresses and
pastoral letters, and to draw up a view of the state of the church in
their report, made the 21st, May, 1814, thus speak of Virginia:
variety of causes, not necessary and perhaps not proper to detail here,
the church in this State has fallen into a deplorable condition; in
many cases the ministers have thrown off their sacred profession; her
liturgy is either contemned or unknown, and the sanctuaries are
“It would rend my feeling
heart to see spacious temples, venerable even in their dilapidation and
ruins, now the habitations of the wild beasts of the forests.
“But amid this gloomy scene a
ray of light breaks in upon the prospect, cheering the hearts of the
friends of the church. Her members in Virginia have been
taught, by a dreadful experience, the value of their peculiar
institutions. The look back with regret, and sigh when they
talk of former days, when they were wont to go with joy into the courts
of Zion; they are ready and desirous to return to that fold from which
they have wandered so long, and sheep having no shepherd.
They anxiously seek the restoration of their primitive and apostolical
form of worship and sound doctrine, and pray that ministers of zeal and
piety may come and help them.
“Perhaps no place in the
United States presents a more extended field for the faithful
laborer. Here are the best of materials, and here are the
noblest inducements of duty, of honor and reward.
“The disposition of the
people, and especially of some eminent laymen, who have come forward
with interest and zeal, afford pleasing pledges of those good fruits
which their active exertions will not fail to produce.
“A magnificent church has
sprung up in Richmond from the ashes of the Theatre; is has the
patronage and support of men of the greatest talents, and highest rank
in Virginia. They have chosen as their pastor the Rev.
Richard Channing Moore, D. D., who is now the bishop of the diocese,
and under whose auspices there is reason to hope for the most favorable
“The corner-stone of a large
and respectable church has been laid in Fredericksburg, on the site of
the old building, which has gone to decay. For Leesburg also
they have obtained a subscription adequate to the expense of erecting a
respectable church; and in the counties of Frederick and Spotsylvania,
and perhaps in other places, from which reports have not been received,
the state of the church is improving, In Alexandria there are two large
and respectable congregations. From the present excitement
which is manifest throughout the State, nothing more seems wanting,
under the blessing of God, than faithful ministers, to realize the
hopes which are entertained of the future prosperity of this important
part of our Zion. Let all who wish her well pray the Lord of
harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest.”
The Rev. Mr. Norwood, than whom few could have enjoyed better opportunities
of knowing and appreciating the merits of the lamented bishop in the
closing years of his life, prepared a sketch of his life and character,
which was extensively published, and has been preserved in the Southern
Literary Messenger, Vol. VIII, January, 1842. The subjoined
extract is from that sketch:
“But it is in his parochial
character, as rector of the Monumental Church congregation, that he is
best known and most beloved in Richmond.
“His pastoral labors here, for
twenty-seven years, have exceedingly endeared him to his
congregation. Gentle, aimble, kind and courteous, with a
heart full to overflowing with benevolence, with a charity which
included in the wide circle of his affection all the lost world for
whom the Redeemer died; always under the influence of the most kindly
feeling for all men, and the tenderest sympathy for the afflicted, he
associated with his people as their spiritual father and guide.
“He delighted in the gospel;
Christ crucified was his constant theme, and he loved especially to
dwell in his preaching on the bright and cheering topics of
“The mercy of God; the tender
and kind invitations of the Savior; the soothing consolation of
religion, and its glorious hopes, constituted the burthen of his
preaching; and when set forth with great animation, the most moving
pathos in an eloquent style of composition, aided by a delightful voice
and fine manner, gave to his preaching a peculiar charm which all
“He dearly loved the liturgy
of the church; and as in its eloquent and holy strains he presented to
God the prayers and praises of his people he often wept.
“Love to God and love to man
dwelt in his bosom and pervaded his conversation and sermons.
He could seldom speak of the dying love of Christ without tears; and
like the beloved apostle whom Jesus most loved, and whom he greatly
resembled in character, the prevailing sentiment of this aged minister
of Christ, during his latter years, was ‘Little children
lover one another.
“O that his bereaved people may remember and obey this godly admonition.
“They will love him, and well
they may; for there are few of the younger part of them whom he did not
receive in those arms now cold and stiff in death, and at the baptismal
font dedicated them to God’s service, and admit them into the
Church of Christ, and make them heirs of all the precious promises of
the Christian Covenant.
“O that they may never forget
the obligations then assumed for them, and that they may not, by
failure to comply with the conditions of salvation, forfeit that rich
inheritance, the title to which was then bestowed upon them.
“Most of those of his flock
who now mourn his loss also had their earthly happiness cemented by him
in holy matrimony. The large body of communicants now
worshipping in the Monumental Church were all, with very few
exceptions, admitted to that sacred means of grace by the imposition of
his hands in the apostolic and beautiful rite of confirmation.
“Often have they assembled
around that channel before which his venerated remains so lately lay
cold in the embrace of death, and seen that much loved orm instinct
with life within their kneeling circle, and heard that gentle and dear
voice, now silent for ever, invite them in the most affectionate tones
to the spiritual feast of their Lord, and receive from his hands the
emblems of the crucified body and shed blood of their dying Redeemer.
“Brethren, let the memory of
these consecrated scenes of the communion of saints never fade from
your minds, and never forget the faithful teaching of this godly old
“Few among you who so lately
followed the beloved pastor to his last resting-place on earth, have
not been led by him to that city of the dead where his dust will lie
until summoned on the resurrection morn by the archangels trump to a
new and eternal life; you have there seen him commit your loved ones to
the grave, in the solemn service of your church, and with the trembling
accents of the deepest sympathy and tenderest love.
“Remember, also, those solemn
scenes, and O, prepare to follow them to the tomb, and him to the bliss
“He loved social and friendly
intercourse with his people, and all have enjoyed his sprightly and
cheerful conversations, and heard his fatherly advice and spiritual
encouragement around their firesides.”
“Bishop Meade, who in conjunction with
two or three others had been most active in calling him to Virginia, in
a statement quoted by Bishop Johns, expresses himself thus:
“I was not so well pleased
with him at first as I expected. He brought with him more of
New York than was to my taste, or the taste of many others.
But his good sense, his amiable disposition, and sincere piety,
gradually accommodated him to the clergy and people of Virginia; and we
all loved him more and more to his life’s end, and he became
more and more one of us every year.”
“Bishop Moore had some fine qualifications for the work of revival.
“His venerable form, his
melodious voice, his popular preaching, his evangelical doctrines, his
amiable disposition, his fund of anecdote in private, and his love for
the church, all contributed to make him popular and successful, so far
as he was able to visit and put forth effort.”
The address of Bishop Meade to the next
convention after Bishop Moore's death commences with this reference to the bereavement that the
diocese had sustained:
“The great head of the church,
who for a long time has continued to the diocese of Virginia the
counsel and superintendence of a very beloved father, has, since our
last meeting, been pleased very suddenly to take him away. I
hope it will only make us look the more humbly and steadily to Him from
whom all good counsels come, that the interests of true religion may
not suffer in our hands.
“If there be any of you, my
friends, who deeply feel absence of our beloved father, (and which of
you does not!) how much more must I, who for so many years had been
unitedly and harmoniously laboring as his side, as a son with his
father, and who had begun seriously to think that my auxiliary services
might probably be over before he should be called to his rest.
“God has otherwise determined,
and permitted to devolve on one illy able, either in body or mind, to
sustain it, the undivided responsibility of superintending this diocese.
“It is not my intention to
undertake either an eulogy or biography of our departed father; that
having already been done, and often and well done, by others, both from
the pulpit and the press. And indeed there was something so
peculiarly amiable in his character, and so correspondingly interesting
and venerable in his form and countenance and manner, that it were
worse than useless to attempt a delination of one who has been so
recently among us, and who can be so much better remembered than
“May God rather give us grace
to imitate those traits which endeared him to the heart. For
myself, who of necessity must now take his place, and enter more
entirely upon all the anxieties and responsibilities of the Episcopal
office, I must ask of you, my brethren both of the clergy and laity,
not only great indulgence for infirmities and unfitnesses, of which I
am daily more and more sensible, but a very large share in your most
earnest entreaties at a throne of grace, that the cause you have
entrusted to me may not suffer. This I ask not in feigned
humility, but, as God knows, from the very depth of a heart which feels
more of its deficiencies than can be known to any human
The Richmond Whig, edited by Mr. Alexander Moseley, says of him:
Few men have lived who
performed all the duties of a good Christian and good citizen with a
sweeter grace, and never was pastor more beloved by those entrusted to
The Richmond Compiler, edited by Mr. James A. Cowardin, says:
“This event has sorely
afflicted his church; the loss of so good, so venerable a minister may
well bear heavily upon its members; but the dispensation which so
afflicts them imparts sorrow throughout this community, for everybody
regarded the aged man of God with no ordinary feelings of veneration
“For more than fifty years has
he filled the station of a minister in the Episcopal church ,and no
prelate ever engrossed a greater share of the love of those whose
spiritual welfare he had in charge. In his intercourse with
our citizens, his simplicity, his bland and gentle manners, his
kindheartedness, and the unaffected dignity of his deportment,
commanded the respect of love of all. No one could see the
aged bishop moving along our streets, with his old-fashioned and
becoming dress, his silvery locks streaming over his shoulders, and his
countenance beaming with the peace and love that dwelt in his heart,
without doing him involuntary homage.
“There was a harmony in his
character, a beauty in his life, which gave him great influence and
made him beloved.
What citizen is not pained at
the reflection, that he will no more see this good man in our streets;
that he will not again see him adorning with meek and unaffected grace
the same sacred desk, or hear from his lips precepts of virtue and
lessons of truth and wisdom?
“With peculiar propriety may
we say of him, that he died full of years and full of honors.
“At a ripe old age, after a
long term of service, which was faithfully discharged, has he been
taken away from his flock and the community that loved him, to rest in
the bosom of his God.
“When reflecting upon his
death, how appropriately may we exclaim, ‘O that I may die
the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his.”
Let us hear also what the Richmond Enquirer, edited by Mr. Thos. Ritchie, says:
“Death loves a shining
mark! The rumor which we stated on Friday last, of the
convalescence of the Right Rev. Richard C. Moore, was soon succeeded by
the most melancholy intelligence, and it grieves us inexpressibly to
state that the good bishop is gathered unto his fathers.
“He breathed his last at
Lynchburg; and on Saturday night his remains were conveyed to this city
in one of the canal boats.
“We have never known so deep a distress produced in Richmond by the loss of any man.
“He had set out on Wednesday,
the 3rd inst., on a pastoral visit to Lynchburg. He preached
twice to large crowds in that city Friday, and exhorted on the same
night, with an energy and effect which astonished all who heard him;
but on that night he was seized with a congestion of the lungs, which
baffled all the art of medicine.
“He died as he had lived—a Christian.
“He received the intelligence
of his approaching end with an equanimity which had always
distinguished his character. ‘It is well’
said he ‘I hope I am prepared for this world or the
next.’ He breathed his last on Thursday morning.
“As soon as the tidings of his
death reached us, the bell of the Second Baptist Church, (The Rev. Mr.
Maggon’s,) began to toll, and announced the intelligence to a
“His body was conveyed to the
Monumental Church, on Saturday night, and on the Sabbath the last
funeral ceremonies took place. The town bell was tolled from
sunrise to the end of the service.
“The church was filled to
overflowing. The spectacle was affecting beyond
description. Persons of every sect flocked thither to pay
their last tribute of respect to one who had been the ornament of human
nature. Six ministers of the Episcopal Church were in the
chancel, and two in the pulpit. The services of the day were
most appropriate to the occasion. Mr. Empie read one of the
finest chapters in the Scriptures; and Mr. Norwood preached the funeral
sermon from the memorable text in the twenty-first verse of the first
chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, ‘For
me to die is gain.”
“It was a beautiful and most
touching discourse,--frequently interrupted by the tears of the orator,
and calling forth from his large congregation the most genial
sympathies of human nature. He gave a striking sketch of the
life of Bishop Moore, and pronounced a noble and most just eulogium on
the character of the deceased; but (as was well remarked to us by a
minister of another congregation,) the best eulogium was the tears of
“Every heart sympathized with
the last words of the preacher, --‘O that I may die the death
of the righteous, and my last end be like his.’ The
procession moved on from the church to the city burying ground near the
Poorhouse in the following order, under the management of Messrs. James
Lyons and Thomas Nelson; officiating clergy, Rev. Dr. Empie and Rev.
Rev. Geo. Woodbridge
Rev. R.B. Croes
Rev. Mr. Cobbs Rev. Mr. Doughan
Atkinson Rev. Mr. Hart
Family of deceased.
Vestry of Monumental Church.
The oldest communicants of the church.
Congregation of the Monumental Church.
“We have never seen so long
and mournful a procession in this city. More than sixty
carriages attended, and the number of foot-passengers—ladies
as well as gentlemen—without distinction, notwithstanding the
clouds of dust which enveloped them, was immense. Peace be to
the ashes of this good man!”
Quoted from: History and Reminiscences of the Monumental Church, Richmond, VA., From 1814 to 1878; by Geo. D. Fisher; Richmond, Whittet & Shepperson, 1880.