New York City is home to some of the largest church buildings in America, including several record setting structures. The greatest of these, hands down, is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Upper Manhattan. St. John’s had its roots in the late 19th century, when the Episcopal Diocese of New York decided to embark on the most ambitious Protestant construction project in history: a cathedral on a scale so massive that it would become an integral part of the New York City skyline. Construction began in 1892, and it took nearly fifty years for the nave alone to be completed. Even though the last scaffolding came down in 2007, the cathedral continues to be a work in progress, earning it the nickname ‘St. John the Unfinished’.
St. John’s is the largest church of any denomination in the United States, the second largest in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth largest in the world. It is also the world’s largest non-Catholic church. Sprawling over three city blocks, this neo-Gothic masterpiece has one of the largest architectural footprints in New York. One of the bell towers is still under construction. The tomb of Horatio Potter, the bishop who inaugurated the project over a century ago, is within. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at the northern end of Manhattan Island, just a few blocks from the massive Riverside Church, the tallest church in America.