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Best Religious Sites in New York

By: Cityseeker
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St. Paul's Chapel

This Episcopal Chapel, located in what is now the bustling financial district, was dedicated in 1766 and is the oldest remaining church in Manhattan. Rich in history, George Washington worshiped here on his inauguration day, and his personal pew is still on display. During the 9/11 attacks, this little chapel survived the disaster and remained as a bulwark against the chaos and turmoil outside the chapel doors for many first responders. Today, services are held regularly, along with noonday concerts.

New York, NY, United States
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Trinity Church

Trinity Church, a distinctive Gothic-revival church at the end of Wall Street, is one of the earliest churches established in New York. The church itself has undergone many incarnations since its original charter in 1697; the original parish was destroyed in a fire during revolutionary times and the second one was demolished in 1838 after structural damage. The church which now stands was built in 1846 and it is considered a National Historic Landmark. In the cemetery, many well-known city denizens are buried, such as Alexander Hamilton, Robert Fulton and James Lawrence. The church was also the original location of King's College, now the venerable Columbia University. Check the schedule for services, noonday concerts and tours.

New York, NY, United States
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Mahayana Buddhist Temple

This temple is the largest Buddhist temple in Chinatown, and inside rests what many believe to be the largest Buddha in New York at a towering 16 feet (4.88 meters). Two golden lions guard the entrance to the temple, which also houses a large urn with burning incense. Besides the expected Buddhist worship services, the temple also has a gift shop for visitors, and a donation of USD1 is rewarded with a small fortune scroll.

New York, NY, United States
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Eldridge Street Synagogue

Eldridge Street Synagogue is preserved as a historical site by the Eldridge Street Project. Since it's inception in 1887, the synagogue has been a symbol of architectural and historical preservation, and also of the way of life, customs and religious beliefs of the Judaism. The building itself is a beauty, with a Victorian touch to the interiors highlighted by painted murals and stained glass windows. It was the first religious site built by Ashkenazi, and today this famous place welcomes people from all backgrounds.

New York, NY, United States
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St. Patrick's Old Cathedral

Before the massive Fifth Avenue St. Patrick's was completed, New York's Catholic community was centered at this small, dignified cathedral in Little Italy. Completed in 1815, the landmark building houses a beautiful marble altar surrounded by ornate hand-carved reredos. Historically significant, Old St. Patrick's weathered early American anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant sentiment and organized its congregation against their attackers. Still active, Old Saint Patrick's celebrates masses in English, Spanish and Chinese.

New York, NY, United States
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St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

The magnanimous Clement Clark Moore, the man who gave the moniker of Chelsea to the neighborhood, established this church in 1831. The original chapel features a Greek-revival design, however a few years later, a larger church was constructed right next to the smaller chapel (which is now the rectory) in the Gothic Revival style. The Episcopalian denomination also attends events at the the massive General Theological Seminary right down the street and the church hosts the Atlantic Theater Company in an adjacent building. Also of note, St. Peter's presents Music in Chelsea, a concert series with live music ranging from classical to folk. For more details, check the website or call ahead.

New York, NY, United States
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St. Patrick's Cathedral

This massive cathedral, situated across from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, is the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States. With its two soaring 330-foot spires, St. Patrick's Cathedral is also one of the city's most spectacular architectural sights. Construction on the neo-gothic structure had started in 1850 and completed in 1878. Inside, it boasts a seating capacity of 2,500, numerous altars and stained glass windows, and a giant organ with over 7,300 pipes. Services are held throughout the day, and many New Yorkers stop in for a moment of serenity in their otherwise hectic lives.

New York, NY, United States
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Saint Thomas Church

This church was founded in 1823, and the impressive cathedral was built in the French Gothic style right in the heart of what is now Midtown. The contrast between the architecture of this beautiful building and the skyscrapers surrounding it is breathtaking. The church offers regular Episcopal services, but the highlight of any visit is the renowned St. Thomas Choir.

New York, NY, United States
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The Cathedral Church of Saint John The Divine

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is not merely for the faithful, but for anyone who appreciates impressive architecture. This huge structure is not only the fourth largest church in the world, but it's also one of America's crown jewels when it comes to stone work, a truly stunning example of expert design and craftsmanship. Inside, the large pipe organ, a number of stained glass windows and artist-created altars present a magnificent image. Inside the church, there is a poet's corner as well, which notes the distinguished contributions of celebrated American authors. Construction on the church began in 1882 and though it has received countless refurbishments and additions, it is still not complete according to the original design.

New York, NY, United States
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Riverside Church

A soaring Neo-gothic church with architecture inspired by the cathedral at Chartres, Riverside Church church houses the world's second largest carillon in its impressive tower. Construction of the church began in 1927 and it was completed three years later. Riverside Church is interdenominational, however it is most prominently affiliated with the American Baptist Church and is famous for MLK's riveting speech called 'Beyond Vietnam', given in 1967. This church is also a thriving multicultural community center and sponsors a wide array of programs including anti-racism and anti-poverty initiatives. Carillon recitals are held on most Sundays and on special occasions. Check the schedule for regular services and tours.

New York, NY, United States
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