Arizona May 13, 2016
There’s No Chapel In The World Like This One In Arizona
Sedona is a place known for its natural beauty and its enigmatic connection to the spiritual side of people. Red rocks, blue skies, and cool temperatures all do their part in creating a perfect environment for finding solace through prayer or meditation. While most churches tend to shield people away from that natural beauty, there is one that uses the landscape to enhance the spirituality people tend to seek.
From afar, the structure is barely seen standing against the red buttes and that may be one of the best design features of the Chapel of the Holy Cross. While most other churches are designed to stand out from nature, this chapel appears to emerge from the rocks surrounding it as though it came from the earth herself.
The Church of the Holy Cross is located at the end of the slightly curved Chapel Road in Sedona. Inspired by the Art Deco designs of the Empire State Building and its prominence in the landscape, Oak Creek rancher and artist Marguerite Brunswig Staude imagined creating a similar religious structure in 1932.
Initially, the plan was to build the structure with Frank Lloyd Wright's son, Lloyd, in Budapest, a city that happened to already be rich in religious architecture. However, World War II broke out not long after and Staude's vision was put on hold.
Instead, Staude moved the structure to her hometown of Sedona and the structure was re-worked into a much smaller version of the massive, Modernist cathedral she originally envisioned by architects Richard Hein and August K. Strotz. Completed in 1956, the chapel today is one of the most iconic structures in Arizona.
From Chapel Road, a long, curved walkway ascends the buttes, leading parishioners and visitors to the small chapel. Several rows of pews sit at the front of the building with prayer candles lining the walls. There is little room for anything other than worship and a breathtaking view of the valley below.
Today, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is considered one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona and attracts tourists from around the world for its architectural beauty. In fact, when the chapel was first built, it was widely recognized for its universal appeal to people of all denominations, especially by Staude herself. Shortly after the chapel opened, she said, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.”
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