When settlers began arriving in the areas now known as Arizona in the 16th century, one of the major imports they brought along with them to the land and indigenous peoples was their religion. Over the centuries plenty of struggles happened and, as recent news has shown, continue to occur. However, today we’re going to look at the beauty each of these buildings brings to their congregation and the community at large. Most are open for tours so be sure to check them out if you’re in the area.
1. Brophy College Chapel, Phoenix
Sitting on the same site as Brophy College Prepatory, this historic building was built in 1928 in a classic Mission style. It is a registered national historic site and even has a 15th century Italian painting hanging on the walls.
2. Church of the Holy Cross, Sedona
An Arizona icon, this church was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and follows the architect's well-known organic style. The church appears to emerge from the red rocks and is actually located within the Coconino National Forest.
3. First Methodist Episcopal Church, Glendale
Built in the late 1920s, this national historic relic was designed in the Gothic Revival style as was popular in the early 20th century.
4. Havasupai Bible Church, Supai
If you ever find your way down in the Grand Canyon, check out this building which almost blends into the landscape.
5. Islamic Community Center of Tempe, Tempe
The Islamic Community Center sits a short distance from Arizona State University and was built in 1984. The design was modeled after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the mosque offers tours on Saturdays at 12:00PM.
6. Mesa Arizona Temple, Mesa
Although not technically a church where worship services are held, the Mormon temple is composed of concrete and terracotta. The site is well-known for hosting annual Easter and Christmas events.
7. Mission San José de Tumacácori, Nogales
Franciscans founded the mission in 1691 at a different site but it was abandoned briefly following the O'odham Uprising in 1751 after decades of violence from the Spanish settlers. Construction on this building began in 1753 in a Spanish Colonial style. However, it was abandoned in 1768 after King Carlos III ordered Jesuit priests to return to Spain under suspicion they were attempting to gain power in the New World.
8. Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson
One of the oldest standing Spanish missions in the United States, Father Kino founded San Xavier del Bac in 1692 and Franciscans began building the current mission in 1783. It is best known for its white structure standing against a blue sky and the ornate detail work: a blend of Mexican, Moorish, and Byzantine architectural details.
9. Old Saint Mary's Church, Tempe
Also known as the All Saints Catholic Newman Center, this is the oldest standing church in the Valley. Old Saint Mary's sits at the edge of the Arizona State University campus and is, in fact, considered a national landmark.
10. Pioneer Chapel, Phoenix
This cute little church is actually a copy of the St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church that sat in Globe until 1927. The reconstruction is based off of photos and personal descriptions before the original church was torn down.
11. Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery, Florence
At first glance, this chapel does not look like it would be sitting in central Arizona. However, this building is part of a recent construction built a few miles away from the Monastery grounds, which also features a handful of other buildings open to tours.
12. Saint Augustine Cathedral, Tucson
This church was founded and built in 1776 but suffered from disuse by the 1850s. It was rebuilt in 1897 and in its present condition resembles a cathedral in Queretaro, Mexico.
13. Saint Mary's Basilica, Phoenix
Another old location in the Valley, this church was founded in 1881 and construction on the present day building finished in 1914. Because of its central location, the church is a well-known icon and also a nationally registered historic place.
14. Temple Emanu-El, Tucson
The first synagogue built in Arizona, construction finished and the temple was dedicated in 1910. However, the congregation eventually moved to another location in 1949 and this is now the home of the Jewish Heritage Center of the Southwest.
15. But none quite matches the beauty of Arizona's nature for places for prayer
The best sense of serenity for prayer, worship, or meditation can happen when you walk out into nature at sunrise.
Are there any sites we left out that you think should have been featured? Let us know in the comments below!