Pennsylvania has carried on its splendid tradition of religious freedom for centuries. This is why you’ll find some of America’s most charming and historic churches in the state. You’ll see the best ones in the cities of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.
Among these churches, some are well-known. However, a few others are not so popular and most of the locals won’t know them as well. Now, let’s take a look at the most attractive churches you can explore in Pennsylvania:
1. Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
According to the local legends, the architects of this church did something unusual. They threw rocks as high as they could. This was to figure out how high they could place the windows of this cathedral. The idea was to protect the windows from vandals.
Nevertheless, this Catholic church was completed in the year 1864 at the peak of America’s anti-Catholic sentiments. The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is Pennsylvania’s largest Catholic church today. Although all its windows are at the top, the beauty of this cathedral can’t be ignored.
It has the largest brownstone exterior in Philadelphia, the city where it’s located. Constantino Brumidi, the renowned Greek-Italian-American painter, did much of the interior painting. This cathedral is so beautiful that it can compete with some of the famous European churches.
2. Cathedral of Saint Patrick
The Cathedral of Saint Patrick is in the city of Harrisburg. This 20th-century structure is the second Catholic church on the property of State Street. The year of construction of the first is 1826. For the Diocese of Harrisburg, Cathedral of Saint Patrick is the mother church. If you’re seeking an intriguing history while visiting this church, you won’t get much out of it.
Instead, you’ll be in awe of its sheer beauty. It has a Baroque Revival architecture. Besides, it also has some Renaissance accents. This architecture would remind you of the Pennsylvania State Capitol and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The cathedral’s green copper dome is among the most captivating aspects of the city’s skyline.
3. Saint Anthony’s Chapel
Upon entering inside this chapel, it would seem like the world’s most important chapel to you. This is not only because of the beauty of its interiors but also its connection to Saint Anthony. In the inside of this chapel, you’ll find over 5,000 Catholic relics. This astonishing collection is the second largest outside of the Vatican.
The collection dates back to the beginning of Christianity and includes relics from Mary, Jesus, and the twelve Apostles. It also contains relics from Mother Teresa. Owing to the collection of such important relics, this 19th century chapel is a must-visit attraction in Pennsylvania.
4. Heinz Memorial Chapel
This chapel was constructed by Henry John Heinz. He was the founder of H.J. Heinz Company and he built this majestic chapel to honor his mother. The construction of this chapel was completed in the year 1938. After setting aside the funds, it took 26 years to build it. The architect who designed the adjacent cathedral was the one who designed the Heinz Memorial Chapel.
It has the shape of a cross. The most eye-catching feature inside it are the 23 windows of stained glass. They’re made of 250,000 individual pieces of glass. In recent times, this building is a non-denominational chapel. Besides this, it is also used as a concert hall and venue for weddings.