Medieval labyrinths, intricate stained glass, even a sculpture of Darth Vader. There’s no question that America’s churches are just as intriguing as their European counterparts. And not just in grandeur – the stories behind these architectural masterpieces are downright biblical.
Whether it’s a grand cathedral the length of two football fields or a stunning chapel that has been hand-crafted deep in the forest, the most beautiful churches in America are as diverse as the country itself. From coast to coast, we found 12 of the most architecturally inspiring churches.
No matter what your religious affiliation is, everyone can find enlightenment in the towering domes, mosaic artworks, and impressive sculptures, not to mention the stories behind these buildings.
12. The Cathedral Of Saint Andrew – Honolulu, HI
Located in Honolulu’s historic district, the Cathedral of St. Andrew serves as a reminder of Hawaii’s long Anglican (Episcopalian)-Hawaiian history.
In 1861 the reigning royalty offered up a portion of their royal garden and Queen Emma herself later traveled to England to raise money and commission arches and limestone columns (the rest of the stones were quarried in Western Oahu).
Hawaii’s first Gothic vaulted Cathedral was finally completed in 1886 as a memorial to Queen Emma’s husband, King Kamehameha IV. The colorful Great West window of the Cathedral was the largest hand-blown stained glass window ever built at the time.
Queen Emma is also given credit for being the force behind St. Andrew’s Priory School for Girls, which shares the property and doubled as Oxford College among other locations on the television show Lost – the stained glass windows of the Cathedral’s Parke Chapel and the Gothic arches of Davies Hall are also featured in a number of episodes.
Services at the Cathedral are given in English and Hawaiian. Visit on Sunday at 8 a.m. for a chance to see The Hawaiian Choir sing traditional hymns, or on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. to hear The Cathedral Choir, which has been performing for almost 150 years.