Religious Buildings Walking Tour, New York (Self Guided), New York

New York is often defined by the word skyscraper. But this city also offers a beautiful collection of religious buildings. Each of these buildings feature spectacular architecture and design. Take this walking tour to explore the most famous religious buildings in New York.
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Religious Buildings Walking Tour, New York Map

Guide Name: Religious Buildings Walking Tour, New York
Guide Location: USA » New York (See other walking tours in New York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 Km or 5.4 Miles
Author: doris
Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

1) Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the City and Diocese of New York is the seat of the Episcopal Bishop of New York. It is one of the largest protestant cathedrals in the world.

In 1888, the protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, Henry Codman Potter, proposed that a cathedral be built that would rival the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in architecture and ornamentation. The Leake and Watts Orphan Asylum sold the property to the diocese for the purpose of building the church. The construction was expensive because it took a long time to hit bedrock to lay the foundation. Wealthy financiers like J.P. Morgan gave large donations to ensure that the work continued without hindrance. The Romanesque Byzantine style structure was designed by architects, Heins and Lafarge. The dome was built by well known mason Rafael Gustavino. The church is adorned with sculpture, chapels, elegant stained glass windows and plaques. A fire damaged the cathedral in 2001 and it was closed for restoration. It was rededicated and opened again for worship in 2008.

The church has a well known choir and is the venue for many music performances in New York. It also has a textile conservation laboratory to preserve and maintain its valuable tapestries.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (Evangelismos)

2) Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation (Evangelismos)

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The building was previously a Presbyterian church that was purchased by the old and vibrant Greek Orthodox community in New York City.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox church was established in New York in 1892. It served the immigrant population who sailed to American shores from their native Greece. The parishioners are the oldest Hellenic American communities in New York. Over the years the church has occupied different buildings in the city. The first liturgy was celebrated in the Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Greenwich Village. Later it moved to the Amity Baptist Church at 310 West 54th Street.

In 1952, the Greek Orthodox parish purchased the present building, the Fourth Presbyterian Church. The present church was designed by the firm of architects Heins and Lafarge who also planned the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The building has a Gothic revival style with a rusticated masonry facade. It also has a square bell tower with a highly ornamented parapet.

The Greek Orthodox parish has added a carved wooden screen with gilt icons to separate the sanctuary from the nave and three large chandeliers imported from Czechoslovakia in 1960. The church also has a two and a half storey community hall used as a venue for parish celebrations and functions.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church

3) Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church

The unique architecture of this church was inspired by the Hagia Sophia, the church of the Eastern Christians in Constantinople, now Istanbul. The parish that dates back to 1898 recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Work began for the construction of the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in 1900 under the supervision of Father Michael J. Considine. It took two years for the parish to purchase surrounding property to build the magnificent church it is today. Father Considine wanted to build a church whose ‘beauty would be an inspiration to man and a tribute to God’. He preferred the medieval and Byzantine style of architecture to the prevalent Gothic or Romanesque styles. He worked with architect, Joseph H. McGuire to realize his dream.

The exterior of the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church is of brick and terra cotta and the interior is adorned with patterned tiles, marble and gold leaf. The dome has a diameter of 66 feet and is covered with Gustavino tiles of a pale honey color. There is a lantern for letting natural light at the summit. The church remains one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the country.
First Baptist Church

4) First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church in the City of New York is a Christian congregation based in a sanctuary built in 1891 at the intersection of Broadway and West 79th Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York. FBC is a conservative, independent, evangelistic, mission-oriented church in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, based in Schaumburg, Illinois. The FBC building was designed by George M. Keister, who also planned the Apollo Theater. A balcony was added in 1903. This created a seating capacity of one thousand. Two unequal towers over the corner entrance to the main auditorium are examples of biblical symbolism. The taller tower represents Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. The lower tower, which appears incomplete, was designed to represent the Church, which will remain unfulfilled until the return of Christ. Two shorter towers represent the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Regular services are held on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.; Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Temple Emanu-el

5) Temple Emanu-el

One of the most beautiful synagogues in the world, the Temple Emnu-el is also one of the largest Jewish houses of worship. It is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and serves the large and growing Jewish population of New York City.

At first, the Reform Jewish Emanu-el congregation consisting of German Jews worshiped in a temple on 42nd street in Manhattan. The temple became too small for accommodating the increasing number of worshipers. The location was also unsuitable because of the commercial activity in the street that made it difficult to focus on prayers. It was decided to relocate to a custom built large synagogue in a tranquil place that would meet the needs of the congregation.

Temple Emanu-el was built between 1927 and 1929. Its architectural style is medieval with Romanesque details. The limestone building resembles some of the great European cathedrals. The wheel like window found on the facade is a traditional Magen David or the six pointed Star of David. Inside the temple is a large sanctuary with the capacity to seat 2500 worshipers.

The temple also has a collection of Jewish religious objects from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Tours are conducted around the temple on week days.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Thomas Church

6) Saint Thomas Church

The Saint Thomas Church is an Episcopal parish church located in the heart of New York City. It is one of the few churches where the old Anglican choral tradition is still preserved.

The congregation of Saint Thomas Church worshiped in three buildings before the present structure was built. The church was raised between 1911 and 1916. Architects, Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the building in high Gothic style. It has plain limestone exteriors and sandstone interiors. Sculptor Lee Laurie designed the intricate stone work on the reredos. The stained glass windows were the finest work of English artist, James Hunphries Hogan of Powell and Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd. of London.

Music is an important part of worship and liturgy at the church. The design of the church offers excellent acoustics and there are three old organs and a new instrument added in 2008. The well known choir is supported by the St. Thomas choir school that was founded by the parish in 1919 and is one of four choir schools that still exist in the world. This choir performs the traditional Anglican Evensong, a 45 minute service of music by young boys between the ages of 8 and 13.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Patrick's Cathedral

7) St. Patrick's Cathedral (must see)

The St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. It is located directly opposite the Rockefeller Center and has over 3 million visitors every year.

The St. Patrick’s Cathedral is built of brick covered with white marble. The stones were quarried in New York and Massachusetts. It is the largest Gothic style church in the country. The present structure replaced an old St. Patrick’s Cathedral that is now used as a parish church. The Archdiocese of New York was created by Pope Pius IX in 1850. American architect James Renwick designed the building as the seat of the Archbishop in decorated geometric ecclesiastic Gothic style, popular in Europe between 1275 and 1400. Construction began in 1858 but stopped during the Civil War. Work resumed in 1865, the cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. It has stained glass windows from France and England as well as the Great Rose Window that was the finest work of American stained glass artist Charles Connick and three magnificent organs.

The cathedral holds daily masses and visitors can use a pamphlet available at the back of the church to take a self-guided tour. There is a gift shop selling books and religious items and visitors can check the schedule to attend one of the organ concerts frequently performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Why You Should Visit:
Step into another world and revel in the atmosphere inside this historic building. Now that all of the renovations are complete you get to enjoy the full beauty of the architecture.

If possible, try to attend a daily Mass with impressive organ music and solo vocalist.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Malachy's Church

8) St. Malachy's Church

The St. Malachy’s Church is better known in New York City as the Actor’s church. The theater district moved into the area in the year it was built and it became the place of worship of several well known actors and dancers till the 1960s.

The St. Malachy’s Catholic Church was built in 1920 based on the plans of well known ecclesiastical architect, Thomas J, Duff. An Actor’s Chapel was built under the main church where members of the theatrical community worshiped. It was also the venue of weddings and funerals of famous actors and dancers. Rev George Washington Moore who took over in 1976 was the most active among pastors of the church and he extended the services of the church to help the poor, the elderly and the homeless. He was given a Tony award for services to the parish. The church chimes play, ‘There’s no business like show business’ in honor of the many distinguished theatrical parishioners who worshiped at its pews.

Famous members of the congregation include Bob Hope, Ricardo Montalban, Rosalind Russell, Irene Dunne and Gregory Peck. Ceremonies of theatrical personalities that took place here include the marriage of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Joan Crawford, the funeral of Rudolf Valentino and the baptism of Herb Shriner’s children.

Today the church offers community services called Encore to help the elderly residents of the parish. In 1991 extensive repairs were carried out to make it a comfortable and beautiful place to worship.
Holy Cross Church

9) Holy Cross Church

The Holy Cross Church is a Roman Catholic Church serving the Holy Cross Parish. Since its dedication, the church has worked with the government and community to improve the life and condition of the people living in the neighborhood.

Henry Engelbert designed the present building that houses the Holy Cross Church. It has an Italianate Gothic style with a red brick façade and two towers. The interiors show a combination of Georgian, classical, Romanesque and Byzantine styles. The nine stained glass windows were imported from Munich, and Louis Comfort Tiffany designed the mosaics below the Dome. Mass is celebrated and choral music and congregational hymns sung in both Spanish and English.

The church is also called Father Duffy’s church after its most popular pastor, Reverend Francis P. Duffy. He was decorated for serving as chaplain of the 69th New York regiment that fought in World War I. Holy Cross Church operates a food pantry that serves the poor and hungry and also offers a religious program called LAMP to provide counseling for parishioners and visitors. The church works in consonance with the local authorities to fight crime and drug trafficking in the neighborhood.

Walking Tours in New York, New York

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Travel Distance: 5.5 km
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