Boston, Massachusetts

Park Street Church at Boston Common. Photo Creative Commons License Mark Litwa.

Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts and the unofficial capital of the historic New England region. With a population of 590,000 inside the city limits and over 4.4 million in the greater Metro area, Boston is also the largest city in New England. Boston was originally settled by Native Americans of the Massachusett and Pawtucket nations, but these were abruptly driven out when English Puritans arrived in the 1630s. It was the Puritans who primarily shaped Boston's religious and cultural heritage as we know it today. These strict Calvinists worked hard, established businesses, laid out effective cities, and founded Harvard University as part of their emphasis on education.

Today, Boston is a cosmopolitan city that embraces people of all faiths and none. Its rich ethnic and religious composition began in the 1800s, when successive waves of immigrants changed the predominantly Puritan landscape forever. The Irish were the first to arrive, followed by thousands of Eastern Europeans and Italians. Most of these new Bostonians were Catholic, with tens of thousands of Jews arriving as well. By 1900, there were 53 synagogues in the Greater Boston. In 1894, the Mother Church of Christian Science was erected in the city. Since then, many other faiths have established a strong presence in Boston, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons and others.

Cathedral Church of St. Paul
Founded in 1818, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston is a historic Epicopalian cathedral with a thriving congregation.
Mother Church of Christian Science
This is the world headquarters of the Christian Science faith founded by Mary Baker Eddy. It includes two historic church buildings, dating from 1894 and 1906.
Park Street Church
Founded in 1809 as a bastion of Trinitarian orthodoxy against the Unitarian movement, this Congregational church with a tall spire has played a major role in Boston's history and remains vibrant today.
Trinity Church
This striking church overlooking Copley Square is a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. Completed in 1877, the Episcopal church provides daily guided tours.
Old North Church
Founded in 1723, Old North is the oldest church in Boston. It is best known for its steeple, which displayed the lanterns signaling the advance of the British troops - "one if by land, two if by sea."