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Miraculous Cathedrals of Santa Fe

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Beautiful walking Experience featuring our historic churches

Part of Santa Fe's unique history & lore are the legendary cathedrals, churches & chapels. Included in this self guided tour is the Cathedral Basilica Of Saint Francis Of Assisi, the Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel, and San Miguel Mission, which is considered to be the oldest church in the country.

The Church of the Holy Faith

The Church of the Holy Faith is an historic Episcopal church located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The parish was established in 1863 and is the oldest Episcopal church in New Mexico.

The Church of the Holy Faith represents the period of eclecticism in revival architectural styles promulgated by the arrival of the railroad and a flood of new building materials.

The Church of the Holy Faith was built by the first Episcopalian congregation in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. It is a simple, stone, English Gothic Revival Style building with lancet windows, a pitched roof, and Norman Style tower. Erected in 1882, the original church is presently the nave of the current expanded structure. In 1926, the congregation commissioned John Gaw Meem to design a parish hall complementing the primary structure, and the architect was again employed to expand the church in 1953.

Meem, the son of an Episcopal minister, designed numerous Episcopal churches in the Southwest, including the Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque, another Gothic Revival building but much grander in scale. Today, the Church of the Holy Faith remains an active parish.

From Old Santa Fe Today, 5th edition by Audra Bellmore

Monday 9AM–4:30PM

Tuesday 9AM–4:30PM

Wednesday 9AM–4:30PM

Thursday 9AM–4:30PM

Friday 9AM–4:30PM

Saturday Closed

Sunday 7:30–9:30AM,


Cathedral Basilica Of St. Francis Of Assisi

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, commonly known as Saint Francis Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

The City of Santa Fe was founded in 1610. That same year the first church was built on this site. The original adobe church was replaced in 1630 by a larger one, which was destroyed by the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680.

The expelled Spaniards returned in 1693, but were not able to rebuild the church until 1714. This new church was named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Santa Fe.

The only part of this church still existing is the small adobe chapel dedicated to Our Lady La Conquistadora. Brought from Spain in 1625, the statue is the oldest representation of the Virgin Mary in the United States.

In 1850, Santa Fe received its first Bishop, Father John Baptiste Lamy of France. Judging the 1714 old adobe church as inadequate for the seat of the Archdiocese, Bishop Lamy ordered a new Romanesque church built, and brought French architects and Italian stonemasons to build his Cathedral.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1869 and continued until 1887. The new Cathedral was built around the former adobe church and, when the new walls were complete, the old church was torn down and removed through the front door.

The stained glass windows in the lower bay are from France and depict the twelve apostles. Seven archbishops, including Lamy, are buried in the sanctuary.

Dedicated in 1887, the Cathedral’s spires were never completed due to lack of funds. During the most recent structural renewal in 1967, the Cathedral was strengthened, new sacristies were added, and a Blessed Sacrament Chapel was built. In 1987, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the stone church, a monumental altar screen depicting famous saints of North and South America was installed.

The Cathedral was elevated to a Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Basilica means a church of particular importance in Rome and abroad. Churches are honored by the Holy Father because of their importance in the history of spreading Catholicism.

Monday Closed

Tuesday Closed

Wednesday 9:30AM–3:30PM

Thursday 9:30AM–3:30PM

Friday 9:30AM–3:30PM

Saturday 9:30AM–2:30PM

Sunday Closed

Loretto Chapel

In the heart of historic Santa Fe, New Mexico we attract people from all over the world who want to find out more about our revered, "miraculous staircase." The chapel is a historic phenomenon that must be witnessed during your travels. We attract the most devout, the most intrigued, and those that are looking for that rare place they will never forget. We are a mystery waiting to be solved by you!

Three mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder, the type of wood used, and the physics of its construction

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel. Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. It is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the full-length movie titled "The Staircase", starring William Petersen and Barbara Hershey.

Monday 9AM–5PM

Tuesday 9AM–5PM

Wednesday 9AM–5PM

Thursday 9AM–5PM

Friday 9AM–5PM

Saturday 9AM–5PM

Sunday 9AM–5PM

San Miguel Mission

San Miguel Mission, also known as San Miguel Chapel, is a Spanish colonial mission church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally built around 1610, it is often referred to as the oldest church in the United States.

When the chapel is open, you are invited pray, explore, & rest. Docents are available for information & tours.

Monday 1–3PM

Tuesday 10AM–3PM

Wednesday 10AM–3PM Thursday 10AM–3PM

Friday 10AM–3PM

Saturday 12–3PM

Sunday 12–3PM

Santuario de Guadalupe

The Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is a historic Catholic shrine in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is the oldest church in the United States dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and is listed on the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties.

Monday 11AM–4PM

Tuesday 11AM–4PM

Wednesday Closed Thursday 11AM–4PM

Friday 11AM–4PM

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed

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