Take a quick glance at the Charleston skyline, and it’s easy to see why the town is often called the Holy City. Founded in 1670 as an English colony, immigrants from many different European countries settled here in search of religious freedom and tolerance. When they did, they brought a variety of Protestant denominations, Judaism, and Roman Catholicism to the region. Thereafter, the 18th and 19th-century descendants of these newly formed congregations used their merchant wealth to build many of the immaculate Charleston churches that still stand today. In total, Charleston, SC, now boasts over 400 places of worship.
5 of the Best Charleston Churches
In centuries past, when Charleston was first establishing itself as one of the largest and most active seaports on the East Coast, the towering church spires that still pepper the cityscape helped guide incoming ships into the Charleston Harbor. Today, they stand as a tangible reminder of religion’s role in Charleston history. Whether you’re new to the area and are looking for a permanent church family or you’re visiting the Lowcountry and would like to experience a unique service during your stay, consider attending a service at one of these historic Charleston churches.
1. Grace Church Cathedral
Grace Church Cathedral is the diocesan cathedral of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The beautiful Gothic sanctuary features stained glass windows, rich in religious symbolism. In the nave, you can see a carved stone cross from the Canterbury Cathedral that was gifted to Grace in 2016.
2. Circular Congregational Church
Founded by Charles Towne’s original settlers in 1681, the Circular Congregational Church is one of the oldest continuously worshipping congregations in the South. It also features Charleston’s oldest burial grounds. Its sanctuary and Lance Hall are designated National Historic Landmarks. Today, the progressive church celebrates the diversity of its congregation.
3. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. It was founded in 1749 and has remained an important part of the Jewish community in Charleston. Its sanctuary was built in 1840, making it the second oldest synagogue building in the country and the oldest in continuous use.
4. St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church
As the oldest Roman Catholic Church in South Carolina and mother church of Catholicism in the Carolinas and Georgia, St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church was established in 1789. Its current sanctuary was built in 1839 and offers unique Greek Revival architecture to discover.
5. St. Michael’s Church
Saint Michael’s Church in Charleston, SC, is the oldest church edifice in the city. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1752 on the spot where the first church in Charleston, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, was built in the 1680s. Since the 1760s, very few of St. Michael’s features have changed. When you visit, you’ll see stunning examples of Gothic Revival architecture and hear the original 18th-century organ and clock tower bells chime.
Spend Sunday Morning in Charleston and Your Afternoon at the Beach!
After attending an excellent service at one of these historic Charleston churches, return to a luxurious home on Kiawah or Seabrook Island for a relaxing afternoon by the ocean. Whether you’re on vacation and are looking for a high-end beach rental or you’re searching for a permanent residence in the Lowcountry, Pam Harrington Exclusives can help you find the perfect place to call home.
If you’re planning your next getaway to the area, browse our spectacular rental properties on Kiawah or Seabrook Island today. Or, if you’re looking for a new home, let us help you in your search. You can learn more about Lowcountry properties for sale online today. Then, contact us to take a tour of the area and schedule a showing. Whatever brings you to our scenic barrier islands, we look forward to sharing the beautiful landscape and our amazing Kiawah and Seabrook properties with you!
Photo credit: Getty Images / SeanPavonePhoto