Chicago's St. John Cantius Voted Most Beautiful Church in America

“I never expected this thing to take off the way it did," contest creator Patrick Murray wrote

It appears the most beautiful church in the country is in Chicago.

According to a recent report by the Art and Liturgy blog, run by Patrick Murray, a projects consultant for the Granda Liturgical Arts, the city’s St. John Cantius church was voted as the most beautiful in America.

The title was given to the church in a contest dubbed Church Madness 2016, a March Madness-style bracket challenge featuring 64 churches across the U.S.

In total, 16,363 votes were cast, and St. John Cantius Church topped Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine.

Murray said he started the competition not expecting much more than his typical 10 views per day, but the contest quickly took off and he was instead generating thousands of views per day.

“I never expected this thing to take off the way it did, but in hindsight, maybe I should have,” Murray wrote. “Our culture is starved for beauty. The very authentic and emotional response to all of these beautiful churches has been amazing, but not surprising.”

The church, in Chicago’s River West neighborhood, said it was “honored” by the recognition it received.

“So many people to thank,” the church tweeted. “A real heartfelt thank you to to [sic] all of you who gave us such support.”

The Diocese of Salt Lake City also responded to the final results.

“What a fun contest and a great opportunity for outreach!” they tweeted. “Looking forward to next year.”

Murray plans to hold a Church Madness 2017 on March 19 next year.

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