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17 Most Famous Cathedrals in NYC and New York State

There are an estimated 2,000 churches in New York, with dozens designated as cathedrals. Churches and cathedrals are classic landmarks to visit, as they provide detailed insight into a community, its history, and even unique cultures within a city, state or country. But what are the most famous cathedrals in nyc? 

It’s no surprise that New York City and the state in general offer so many denominations and communities to explore. As an arrival point for so many people to the US, several cultures and communities became rooted here, along with their religious beliefs.  

The churches and their history provide a diverse snapshot of the various communities that make up the great city, its surrounding areas, and its religions.

Here are the most famous cathedrals in NYC and New York State

St Patrick's Cathedral NYC
St Patrick’s Cathedral NYC

17 Famous Cathedrals in NYC

Here are just 17 cathedrals of various denominations that may be interesting to visit or find out more about. If you like, you could even book a tour of churches in NYC. If you’re looking to explore Long Island, Buffalo, and Albany, there are a couple of options on this list as well.

1. Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral 

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: Mulberry Street, Nolita, Manhattan  

The local congregation simply calls it St. Patrick’s. It’s the former central cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York, so it has a significant history for the Catholic congregation of Lower Manhattan.  

Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral PC Wikipedia
Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral PC Wikipedia

The cathedral itself is 200 years old and stands on Mulberry Street, its entrance on Mott Street. A new St. Patrick’s (see below) was constructed in 1858.

2. Cathedral Basilica of St. James

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: Cathedral Place, Brooklyn  

The distinctive green tower and the front-facing golden statue of St. James that adorns it are unmistakable. Despite being the official cathedral church of the Brooklyn Diocese, it is relatively small.  

Cathedral Basilica of St. James PC Wikipedia
Cathedral Basilica of St. James PC Wikipedia

The cathedral was officially completed in 1903, although the history of this congregation and church itself originated from several years before. St. James was founded in 1822 — it is, in fact, the oldest official catholic church in the NY area.  

As a parish, it is the third oldest in modern-day New York. Notably, the original St. James parish was also the site of the first cemetery on Long Island.

3. Cathedral of All Saints

Denomination: Episcopal

Address: Elk Street, Albany  

Located in central Albany, this cathedral serves as the seat of the Episcopal Bishop of Albany. It is also the central church for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.  

Cathedral of All Saints albany PC Wikipedia
Cathedral of All Saints albany PC Wikipedia

This was the first building constructed to resemble the classical Anglican cathedrals in the UK. In addition to the church, the complex is intended to contain a convent, hospital, school for girls and even an orphanage.

Cathedral of All Saints
Cathedral of All Saints

4. Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Denomination: Episcopal

Address: Amsterdam Ave, Manhattan  

Interestingly, the cathedral structure is technically unfinished, despite being started in 1892. The reasons for the incomplete construction range from changes in design to interruptions and disasters. Originally conceived as a Byzantine and Romanesque design, at one point, the decision was made to change to a more Gothic vision.  

cathedral of st john the divine manhattan
cathedral of st john the divine manhattan

In 1941, further delays occurred due to financial difficulties. A fire in 2001 caused further complications, despite consequent renovations. Nonetheless, the remarkable cathedral church is the world’s sixth-largest in terms of area. This makes it an ideal venue for many religious and community-based events.

5. Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Denomination: Greek Orthodox

Address: East 74th Street, NY  

This, one of the largest orthodox churches in the US, is also the central cathedral for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The cathedral was opened in 1891, but not at this location. It has been on the Upper East Side since 1932.  

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity new york PC Wikipedia
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity new york PC Wikipedia

Contained within the cathedral complex are additional institutions like the cathedral school, the Greek afternoon school, various youth programmes, Greek classes, and other social programs.

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity new york PC Wikipedia
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity new york PC Wikipedia

6. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: Eagle St, Albany  

The cathedral was built between 1848 and 1852 and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One interesting aspect relating to the construction is that the nave and towers were built almost exclusively by immigrant workers and volunteers.  

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception PC Wikipedia
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception PC Wikipedia

The building is marked by distinctive spires, which were added later. But the ornate interior platter work is part of the original construction. The cathedral was nearly closed in the 1960s, as its congregation had declined significantly due to other churches being constructed. Fortunately, the church was saved, and in fact, restored.  

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The church remains a beautiful example of classic cathedral architecture, reminiscent of its original conception — and just one of several amazing historical places to visit in New York.

7. Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Denomination: Orthodox Church in America

Address: 12th St, Brooklyn  

This historic Russian Orthodox cathedral is officially designated in the Landmarks Preservation Commission as a New York City Landmark. It is also officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord PC Wikipedia
Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord PC Wikipedia

Built between 1916 and 1921, the classic design of the Byzantine domes adorned with the Russian orthodox crosses are hard to miss. The original founders of the church came from modern-day Poland. The architecture is loosely based on the Cathedral of the Dormition within the Moscow Kremlin.   The church officially became a cathedral in 1932.

8. Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: Pacific Street, Brooklyn  

A co-cathedral is a cathedral church that also serves as a bishop’s seat with another cathedral. In this case, the co-cathedral is St. Teresa of Avila. This current version of the St. Joseph church — the third incarnation — was dedicated in 1912. The church has also undergone a recent renovation.  

Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph PC Wikipedia
Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph PC Wikipedia

Interesting side fact: St. Joseph was the first church in Brooklyn to be designed with a clock on its bell tower when it started construction in 1861.

Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph
Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph

9. Saints Kiril & Metodij Cathedral

Denomination: Bulgarian Orthodox

Address: West 50th St, Manhattan  

This relatively small but significant cathedral building was originally established in 1899. The Cathedral serves as the headquarters for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for the US, Canada, and Australia.

Saints Kiril & Metodij Cathedral PC Wikipedia
Saints Kiril & Metodij Cathedral PC Wikipedia

Throughout its history, it has served as a gathering place for several groups, many of whom donated or contributed various elements to the structure and interior.  Some examples of groups who gathered here include German and Croatian Franciscans, Lutherans, and even a Polish Catholic congregation.

10. St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, New York

Denomination: Antiochian Orthodox

Address: State Street, Brooklyn  

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, New York interior
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, New York interior

St. Nicholas has the distinction of being the first congregation established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn. This occurred in 1895, making it more than 120 years old. This important cathedral serves as the mother cathedral of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, New York PC Wikipedia
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, New York PC Wikipedia

11. St. Nicholas Cathedral

Denomination: Russian Orthodox Patriarchate Of Moscow

Address: East 97th St, Manhattan  

More than 100 years old, the cathedral was constructed to be a gathering place for the increasing number of immigrants from modern-day Belarus and Ukraine. The effort to construct the cathedral was initiated in 1899, with the intention of accommodating at least 900 Orthodox worshippers.  

St. Nicholas Cathedral PC Wikipedia
St. Nicholas Cathedral PC Wikipedia

The cornerstone was eventually laid in 1901, and the first official ceremony was held in 1902. The official centre for the diocese was transferred here in 1905.

12. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: 5th Ave, Manhattan  

Serving as both a parish church and the seat of the Archbishop of New York, St. Patrick’s started construction in 1858 and was officially opened in 1879. The gorgeous Gothic spires were designed by James Renwick and were at first considered a fool’s errand because the proposed site was “too far” outside the city.  

St. Patrick's Cathedral famous cathedrals in nyc
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

In 1979, the church underwent a renovation to commemorate its 100th anniversary.  

13. St. Paul’s Cathedral

Denomination: Episcopal

Address: Pearl St, Buffalo, NY  

This beautiful old brick building is a landmark in Buffalo, NY. It is one of the older standing cathedrals, dating back to its initial construction in 1817. In 1866, St. Paul’s was designated as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Western New York.  

St. Paul's Cathedral PC Wikipedia
St. Paul’s Cathedral PC Wikipedia

Much of the church was destroyed in 1888 due to fire, but a commitment was made to rebuild, and it was restored in 1890. The building was awarded National Landmark Status in 1990.

14. St. Vartan Cathedral

Denomination: Armenian Church in America

Address: 2nd Ave, NY  

This unique Armenian community church was built to emulate Saint Hripsime Church in Etchmiadzin, which itself was built in the seventh century. St. Vartan does indeed resemble a really old eastern European structure, even in colour.  

St. Vartan Cathedral
St. Vartan Cathedral

It rises to an impressive 36 m, with a dome to admire and a courtyard to explore. Along with this, the cathedral as a whole is a fascinating and rare example of classical Armenian architecture, right in the middle of New York City. For context, St. Vartan was a historical figure involved in the Armenian wars against Persia.

15. Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral

Denomination: Greek Orthodox

Address: Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn  

The church traces its roots back to 1913 when a community of Greek Orthodox immigrants opted to organise a house of worship for their own Brooklyn community. The construction of this cathedral church began in 1916.

Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral
Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral

Soon after, additional buildings were purchased to serve as a community centre and school for the Greek community. Since its first construction, the church itself has been expanded and renovated. It officially became Brooklyn’s Cathedral in June 1966.

16. Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava

Denomination: Serbian Orthodox

Address: West 25th St, Manhattan  

Though not in service at this time, this cathedral (also known as the Trinity Chapel Complex) remains an important historical landmark. The building was erected between 1850 and 1855, originally as part of the Trinity Church. Eventually, however, the building was sold to the Serbian Eastern Orthodox during World War II. It opened under its current name in 1944.  

Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava PC Wikipedia
Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava PC Wikipedia

In 1968, the building was recognised as a New York City landmark. A huge fire mostly gutted the church in 2016. Despite a lobby to destroy what remained, engineers eventually decided that the walls were solid enough to remain for now. Plans to rebuild the church are in progress.  

17. Cathedral of the Incarnation

Denomination: Episcopal

Address: Cathedral Ave, Garden City  

Standing as a landmark at the centre of Garden City, this Gothic-style cathedral was opened in 1885. The height and splendour of the classical ceiling are impressive to the eye, and it even features a superb 60 m spire to indicate its architectural heritage.  

cathedral of the incarnation garden city famous cathedrals in nyc
cathedral of the incarnation garden city

The building was funded by a single patron, Cornelia Stewart, who built the cathedral as a memorial to her husband. Alexander T. Stewart had been one of the three richest men in the US. Interestingly, the organ is a new installation, built and installed in 1986.

Final Thoughts on Cathedrals in New York

Those are just 17 of the state’s most historical and culturally significant cathedrals to contemplate visiting. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll run out of fascinating churches and cathedrals to explore in the state of New York. On this list, most are in the city or on Long Island. But there are also a few as far afield as Buffalo and Garden city.  

Look even further, and you’re likely to find some of the country’s most fascinating cultural history waiting for you to discover.    

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this famous cathedrals in nyc post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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