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Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona, USA

This unusual church called Chapel of the Holy Cross (Chapel in the Rock; Rock Chapel) was built in 1956 by the design and will of Marguerite Brunswig Staude who considered the Chapel to be her greatest artistic achievement and the fulfillment of her life's mission. A giant cross at fa├žade symbolizes the Chapel and seems to support the whole structure. Marguerite was an informal student of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright: she is known as a sculptress, philanthropist and devout Catholic who believed the arts should be in service of spirit. She has had an epiphany in 1932 for "Holy Cross Chapel" and has been looking for a place to build for many years. The result was the most peaceful place within picturesque Sedona.

Some prehistory of the Sedona Chapel: Lloyd Wright's son was impressed by her early sketches and they worked together for the first design concept. A nunnery in Budapest was astonished at their creative approach and planned to place the church above the Danube River. But the World War II changed her initial ideas both for the church and for it location. Later, with new ideas for a smaller chapel, she approached the San Francisco based architectural firm Anshen and Allen, which accepted her offer with great enthusiasm and Sedona based chapel was born.

This temple is dedicated to her mother's memory and was financed by Marguerite Staude. It took 18 months to complete the construction of the Chapel at a cost of $300.000, which was a modest sum for the time. The Chapel rises 70m above the valley ground between two red rock formations that accentuate its 27.5m tall cross. Inside of the chapel, on both sides there are two rows of pews, seven on each side, which provide a place to pray or rest facing the huge windows with spectacular view to the Sedona's main attraction- brilliant orange Red Rocks. There are two tapestries on the walls; ruby-red flickering candles provide peace of mind and soul. The chapel's most prominent feature is the huge cross- the religious symbol of Christianity. The Chapel has a gift shop where unique religious articles, unusual crosses and rosaries created of native stone are available. The Catholic Chapel of the Holy Cross belongs to the Parish of Saint John Vianney and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. In 1957 the Chapel was honored with the prestigious AIA National Award of Honor for religious structures. The Holy Cross and Sedona's magical sandstone landscape annually attract over 4 million visitors from around the world.

By Lilit Khalatyan,