As its name suggests, the building that houses Lawrenceville’s Church Brew Works began life as a house of worship—St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church. Now, like many of the church buildings that left empty around Pittsburgh, St. John the Baptist has found new life after transformation, open seven days a week to any congregants who want to sit at a repurposed pew and sample one of the brewery’s offerings.
In 2002, Mike Speranzo and Liz Berlin transformed a church Mr. Smalls Theatre. The venue includes a concert hall that can hold 800 people for concerts or other events, a smaller stage, and a restaurant. In the basement there is a small café. Mr. Smalls Theatre has hosted performances by both local and national artists. President Bill Clinton even visited once for a political rally. The building itself was also once a Catholic Church called St. Ann’s.
The sound of church bells is part of the landscape of sound in Pittsburgh just like car horns honking and helicopters flying overhead to the hospital. But they are also much more than that. Bells can carry meaningful and sometimes secretive histories of the churches where they hang. And for Christians who attend these churches, the sound of church bells ringing creates time and space for prayer outside of the secular world. By doing this, church bells make themselves a vital part of religious expression in Pittsburgh.
As one of the most distinctive features of an Orthodox or Eastern Rite Church, the iconostasis is a wall that separates the sanctuary, which houses the altar, from the rest of the church and is made up of many different icons and religious symbols.
The powerful emotions invoked in the music were a staple of the revivalists attempts to galvanize the latent Christian population, strengthen Protestant Christianity’s authority, and bolster church membership.
At Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s a small graveyard connecting the cathedral to First Presbyterian Church. This graveyard is home to some of the earliest Pittsburgh settlers, with one of the oldest marked graves dating back to 1779. The land was originally used as a burial ground for Native Americans as well as French and British settlers before being given to the trustees of the Episcopalian church in 1787. The first Trinity Cathedral was built in 1805, rebuilt and expanded in 1872, and then modernized in 1967 after a fire destroyed parts of the church.
ittsburgh is known for its neighborhood hidden gems, little places that are unique to the city. They are what makes this city home. Perched on top of Troy Hill is one such gem: Saint Anthony Chapel. Inside this unassuming chapel, there is a display of over 5,200 relics, which is second only to the Vatican. The most famous relic is that of St. Anthony’s tooth.
For almost two centuries the First Trinity Evangelical-Lutheran Church has been a staple of Protestant god worship in Pittsburgh.