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Best Religious Sites in St. Louis

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Christ Church Cathedral

Fans of Gothic architecture will not want to miss this fine example of the style, complete with a belfry tower flanked by gargoyles. The church's most impressive feature, however, is found inside behind the altar, an area graced by intricate carved screens called reredos made of stone from France. Parishioners held the first service in this church on Christmas Day of 1867. It is the seat of the oldest Episcopal parish to be established west of the Mississippi River. Free tours are conducted weekdays inside the cathedral that is a National Historic Landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Louis, MO, United States
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Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France

By the 1960s, almost all of the buildings on the riverfront were cleared out to make way for the Gateway Arch. The only building on the Arch grounds that remained was the Old Cathedral, just west of the Arch's south leg. The Old Cathedral was inaugurated in 1818. Inside there are religious statues and paintings that tell the story of Christ's crucifixion. There are postcards available for sale inside a gift shop on the west side of the building. Guests are welcome from the morning through the afternoon.

St. Louis, MO, United States
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Shrine of St. Joseph

An enormous Catholic church on the edge of the downtown business district, St. Joseph's Shrine dates back to the 1840s, when ethnic churches primarily German, Polish, Italian and Irish ones ministered to and schooled new immigrants. After a Vatican-authenticated miracle occurred there in 1864, the church was greatly enlarged in 1866 and then again in 1881, at which time its Baroque facade and twin towers were added. In the 1960s and 1970s, when the neighborhood had long since given way to commercial development, the underused church was almost demolished. A local group spearheaded a drive to save and restore the massive church, spending well over $1 million in the process. Tours are offered every week after the 11am Sunday service.

St. Louis, MO, United States
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Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

Though the Cathedral Basilica's Romanesque exterior is undoubtedly impressive, the interior of the cathedral is what is truly inspiring. The seat of the Catholic archdiocese in St. Louis, this massive complex contains a mosaic collection that is said to be the world's largest. Over the course of 76 years, 41.5 million pieces of glass tesserae were affixed to the walls and ceiling to illustrate numerous religious stories. The life story of King St. Louis IX, the city's namesake, is told in mosaic on the walls of the portico. Choir concerts are scheduled throughout the year, and choral programs and organ recitals take place on most Sunday afternoons. Check the website for more details.

St. Louis, MO, United States
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