Find information on Pittsburgh churches, chapels, and cathedrals, from the official online resource of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.


Church of the Epiphany

The Church of the Epiphany, a Roman Catholic church designed in 1902 by architect Edward Stotz, was designed in the form of an Italian Romanesque basilica, and built of redbrick with terra cotta trim. The interior decoration, which includes frescoes, was designed by John Comes, a principal designer of Catholic churches in the Pittsburgh area at the time. The church is the center of a complex of four buildings, including a parish house (1902), a school (1910), and the St. Regis Residence (1914).

First Lutheran Church

Designed by architect Andrew Peebles in 1887-88 and begun while the Allegheny County Courthouse was being completed, the Romanesque style First Lutheran Church reflects the design of the Courthouse with its rusticated stonework and vermilion-tinted mortar. The exterior is dominated by tall gabled roofs and a spire that rises 170 feet. The plan of the church is in the form of a Greek cross, which gives it a centralized character. The white plaster walls are broken with three tall windows; the window in the north transept ("The Good Shepherd") was designed by Frederick Wilson and fabricated by the Tiffany Studios in 1898. The altar, which was installed after 1892, was designed in the Italian Renaissance style, with mosaics.

First Presbyterian Church

Designed in 1903-1905 by architect Theophilus P. Chandler, the First Presbyterian Church stands on land that was donated to the church in 1787 by the Penn family for religious purposes. The church structure was designed by a Philadelphia architect who ended up designing three Presbyterian churches in Pittsburgh. The exterior design is in the English Gothic style, and its twin-towered facade is reminiscent of Gothic cathedral design. The interior was laid out as a single large rectangular space, with the pulpit at one end and galleries raised along the sides. In this way, the architecture emphasizes the preaching function of the service. There are no full-height piers in the space because the roof is carried on two massive arched wooden trusses that span the length of the church, above the fronts of the galleries. These structurally-daring trusses are encased in elaborately carved woodwork. The ceiling between the arches is borne on hammer truss beams. The curved paneled wall behind the stone pulpit opens to reveal a rear wing that is lined with three levels of Sunday-school classrooms. The rough stone walls on the interior are opened up by significant stained-glass windows. All of the nave windows, except one, were designed and produced by the Tiffany Studios in New York. The large east window, in the Sunday-school wing, is the work of Clayton & Bell, of London, and depicts a "Jesse Tree", or genealogy of Christ. The "west" window, in the facade of the church, was designed and built by William Willett of Boston.

Smithfield United Church

This Gothic-style building was designed and built in 1925-26 by one of Pittsburgh's premiere Classical architects, Henry Hornbostel. The mass of the building culminates in a square tower that is capped by an openwork aluminum spire, an early architectural use of aluminum. The Gothic ornament on the exterior is a surface treatment, limited to the exterior stone panels attached to the steel structural frame. The tall, relatively narrow sanctuary at the top of the building is focused on the 18-foot-diameter rose window. The side walls are lined with tall stained-glass windows that depict both the life and teachings of Christ, and the history of this congregation and of the city of Pittsburgh. The interior ornament, like the exterior, is surface ornament dominated by Gothic arches, with plaster fan and groin vaults in the ceiling.

St. Mary of Mercy Roman Catholic Church

St. Mary's is the newest and smallest of the churches in Downtown Pittsburgh. The church was designed by architect William P. Hutchins in 1936, and stands out by contrast with its neighbors, in its size and its red brick exterior, with Gothic details in stone. St. Mary's has been built out at the sidewalk line, with its entrance located under a simple square tower at its corner. The principal aisle inside the church follows the diagonal axis of the entry toward the altar. The interior is relatively plain and auditorium-like: a modern church interior built before the Second Vatican Council.

Trinity Cathedral

Designed by architect Gordon Lloyd in1870-71, the church's parish house was designed in 1907 by Crocker & Carpenter. The exterior was designed in the Early Decorated English Gothic Style that was favored by mid-Victorian Episcopalians, with a single central steeple and side transepts. The interior features a tall nave flanked by aisles and lit by clerestory windows. The plaster nave walls are supported by clustered stone columns, and the austere interior ornamentation, in which the pointed arch predominates, is reminiscent of the work of the American Gothicist Richard Upjohn. Some of the stained glass windows in the nave were destroyed in a fire in 1967, and were replaced by new ones in a medieval style. The rest of the windows date from 1872. The carved stone pulpit was built in 1922 to the design of the renowned American architect Bertram G. Goodhue.

North Shore

Calvary United Methodist Church

An historic landmark in one of Pittsburgh's most charming neighborhoods, the Calvary Church is a stunning example of European-inspired architecture and features three magnificently restored, 30-foot Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. Other features include delicate spires and friendly gargoyles, an elegant wooden ceiling, stunning decoration, and historic Farrand & Votey pipe organ.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Completed in 1886, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, also on the North Side, is a classic example of the work of Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is built on property acquired in 1882 from Macher Warfield -- a cousin of Wallis Warfield, later the Duchess of Windsor. The church's decor includes a "reredos" an impressive ornamental screen behind the altar featuring stained glass angels, mosaics and marble statues.


Heinz Memorial Chapel

It is a place where people find serenity and discover the joy of celebration. Crafted of limestone and solid oak, this Neo-Gothic masterwork instantly captivates in a panorama of vaulted ceilings, soaring arches, and more than 250,000 individual pieces of exquisite stained glass. For over a century, Heinz Memorial Chapel has been the Pittsburgh destination for dream weddings, special concerts, guided tours and quiet reflection.

Saint Paul's Cathedral

Saint Paul's Cathedral was opened in 1906 at its present site on Fifth Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. Designed by Egan and Prindeville of Chicago and built by Thomas Reilly, a general contractor from Philadelphia, Saint Paul's is an example of the Scholastic, or Decorated, Gothic style of the 14th Century. The building rises 247 feet with a statue of Saint Paul mounted on the center pediment. Other exterior statues depict the apostles and evangelists of the Eastern and Western Church. While the overall proportions of the structure are not true to the classic cathedrals of Europe, Saint Paul Cathedral fits the site and (as the cathedrals of old) reflects their spirit and historical significance.

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