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Episcopal Church​​​​​​​ Holyrood - Santa Cruz. Photo taken from facebook @HolyroodSCruz.
Episcopal Church Holyrood - Santa Cruz. Photo: Facebook -@HolyroodSCruz.

Latino church declared an historic landmark in New York City

Holyrood-Holy Cross Episcopal Church has just been declared an historic landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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The Washington Heights neighborhood in the northern Manhattan borough, home to a large Dominican and Latino community, is the site of Holyrood-Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, an important social and religious enclave for the Latino religious community in Upper Manhattan for the past 40 years. Last Tuesday, May the church was designated a landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In the press release announcing the news, the architectural and historical importance of the site was highlighted, as well as the relevance and cultural impact that the church has had on the community. Built between 1911 and 1916, Holyrood-Holy Cross is "one of the most impressive and beautiful [churches] in the neighborhood". Neo-Gothic in style and constructed of wrinkle-look stone, along with decorative terra cotta details, it represents and acknowledges the history of New York's Latino community in Upper Manhattan," the statement reads.

The church maintains a close relationship with its community, and is a reflection of the immigration of Dominican, Puerto Rican and other Latino immigrants to the city since the 1960s. As part of its community work, it houses the Dominican Women's Development Center, a non-profit organization that promotes gender equality, social justice and education. In addition, the parish is actively involved in humanitarian and culturally diverse programs for people of all ages, LGBTQ, hearing impaired, immigrant or homeless.

"We believe that the beauty of being a landmark is defined not only by the beauty of its physical structure but also by its ability to allow the community access to enjoy this space as a liberation zone to reaffirm and accompany them in their daily struggles," Pastor Luis Barrios proudly said.

Today Holyrood-Santa Cruz Church has become a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-generational congregation that also addresses its community in two languages, English and Spanish.

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