The Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross Vortex
This amazing historical site was built directly into the red rocks and has become a staple of “Must See” sights in Sedona. One of Sedona’s earliest landmarks is also one of its most endearing — the Chapel of the Holy Cross, where people of all denominations come to offer their prayers, supplications, and praises--and to marvel at the building’s distinctive architecture and the panoramic vistas from its site. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel built on Coconino National Forest land into the buttes of Sedona, Arizona, run by the Diocese of Phoenix, as a part of St. John Vianney Parish in Sedona. The chapel was built in 18 months at a cost of $300,000 and was completed in 1956 which sits atop a pinnacle 250 feet above the valley floor. The American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel an Award of Honor shortly after completion in 1957. In the sculptor’s words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men (and women) and be a living reality.” 
In 2007 the chapel was voted one of the 7 Wonders of Arizona by the Arizona Republic, reflecting the culture and history of the state, from cliff dwellings built in the steep sandstone walls to the chapel built into Sedona’s red rocks blending in with its surroundings, looking almost as if it was a natural formation. 
The Chapel of the Holy Cross was a gift from Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a sculptress, philanthropist, and devout Catholic, who believed art should be in service of spirit and considered the chapel to be her greatest artistic achievement and the fulfillment of her life’s mission. While gazing at the newly completed Empire State Building in 1932, Staude had an epiphany which she saw a cross superimposed on the structure, and thought, “What an idea for a church!” This idea, which seemed to affirmed her belief that churches should speak to the people, would go on to haunt and inspire Staude. “God can be worshipped as a contemporary--bringing him closer to earth and every one of us,” she said.
Initially, Staude envisioned the chapel as a modern skyscraper cathedral that would encircle one whole city block. Apparently, early sketches impressed Lloyd Wright, son of the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, but the drawings were not approved by the archbishop of Los Angeles, her home at the time. A nunnery in Budapest became excited about the design and planned to place the church above the Danube River. World War II aborted those plans. Then both of Staude’s parents died in the 1940s. It was her mother’s last wish that she leave behind a living spiritual trust. This is when Staude decided to resurrect her idea for a chapel, but this time she envisioned it in Sedona, a place she had come to love. “Our monument would become a chapel dedicated to finding God through art,” she said. 
In the initial stages of the chapel dream, there was one major glitch in securing the land, “It belonged to the National Forest Service.” After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain the land locally through various means, Staude flew to Washington, DC, and met with Senator Barry Goldwater, who records indicate was a personal friend. Staude showed Senator Goldwater her ideas and he caught her enthusiasm, marching Staude to the office of the Secretary of the Interior who granted the necessary permit in 1955.
Mrs. Staude being a good Roman Catholic gave the Chapel of the Holy Cross to the Diocese of Gallup, whose Bishop was Bernard T. Espelage, who then assigned Father John Driscoll as the priest to the then new mission church. The chapel was built during the “hot times” of the Cold War, during which there was a television series called “I Led Three Lives.” The main character of the weekly program was a man named Herbert Philbrick, who began each week’s episode by saying something like, “My name is Herbert Philbrick, and for 20 years I led three lives. During that time, I was a husband, an American Citizen, and a counterintelligence spy for the FBI.”
In a peculiar sort of way, some have said: “Herbert Philbrick’s multiple identities is a bit like the Chapel of the Holy Cross, for as it too, has had three very distinct lives.”
THE LIVES OF THE CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS
At the start, for a number of years, the chapel was the parish church for the local Roman Catholic people in the Verde Valley. News stories were written about the chapel in places like Life Magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, even Arizona Highways did a piece on the chapel in 1957. For the most part, it appears things went along well for a few years at the chapel where priests came and went, the locals attended Mass regularly, tourists visited, so it seemed for a while everything at the site was just fine. Or was it?
A House of Prayer and Worship
In the first year, there were some interesting quotations found in the guest book of the chapel which helps give some insight into what people of the day thought of the chapel. The Christus (See image above) hung in the chapel from 1955 until sometime in the late 1970’s. Because of its odd and slim design people in the area began to speak on the impressions the Christus left on them so the very odd looking figure on a cross soon became known as the “Christ of the Atomic Age.”
The following are some of those remarks left in the guest book.
- “The Chapel is beautiful. I also think the Crucifix is beautiful as it gives me the feeling of the terrific agony our Lord went through for us.”
- “The Corpus denies the resurrection of Our Redeemer. Christ’s body was never in such a state of decay.”
- “Magnificent in concept and execution. A shrine to live in the heart of the wayfarer as long as the memory of this superb setting lives.”
- “The view around is beautiful but not the Chapel. The Cross is atrocious.”
In time things began to change at the chapel until one day the chapel stood empty, after the congregation built a new church in town, instead of being “way out there” on the side of a mountain. And so, they did, and the chapel stood empty and for a period of time.
A House of Learning and Leisure
In 1963 a second life for the chapel began to flourish through the work of a Carmelite priest, Father William McNamara. Records indicate Father McNamara spent much of his time on the road giving lectures and conducting retreats until he came across Mrs. Staude during a California lecture who must have taken a liking to the man for soon after the encounter the chapel would be open once again under the banner of “The Spiritual Life Institute.”
It appears things went well at the chapel for some time. In 1965 CBS did a television program at the Chapel on Christmas Eve, which was termed a unique Christmas Eve all-color TV program called “Tell It On the Mountain”, starring folk singers Chad Mitchell and Judy Collins. By 1968 the chapel became less and less a place where the faithful gathered for worship, and more and more a place where other things happened, instead.
Father McCarthy subsequently later would become the pastor at Saint John Vianny Catholic Church when the end of the second era/life of the chapel took place: then the odd-looking Christ of the Atomic Age was taken down and spirited away one day, never to be seen again.
A House of God Through Art and Gifts
Just before the Christus was destroyed, rumored to of been cut up into pieces, the arms, legs, and head were cut off, put into a vehicle, and the body, legs and arms disposed of somewhere in the desert between Sedona and Los Angeles, someone got the idea to build a gift shop downstairs in the basement. And so, the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross stands today - sanitized and devoid of that odd and to some offensive Christus.
Chapel of the Holy Cross Vortex
Many sacred temples and churches have been built near or on top of powerful vortexes. In fact, it has been a common practice of the Vatican in the past throughout the world to build its churches of Rome directly on top of ancient sites in the attempt to plant its flag on conquest. By building directly on top of sacred locations some of which are considered to be “Gateways to the underworld” the church would then show its dominance and attempt to convert the people in that area.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross Vortex is known for being one of the strongest and most easily felt premier vortexes in all of Sedona. People travel from all over the world to visit.
Archangel of Sedona Vortex
One of the most perplexing UFO sightings to take place in the Sedona/Verde Valley took place on September 2, 1966, when Tony Peluso along with fellow ASU student and friend Dan witnessed strange glowing lights described as Unidentified Flying Objects zipping through the sky above the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross. Decades later one of the men, a retired Army Airborne Lieutenant Colonel who also practiced law for 40 years, decided to write a novel about the experience titled “Archangel of Sedona” after changing names, merged characters and adjusted small details to protect privacy. However, though Archangel of Sedona is a work of fiction, according to the author most of the episodes and vignettes described in the story are completely true and accurate ultimately based on real events.
The fictional story is of someone who’s been brought up by the Vatican’s Jesuits Order that decides to engulf on a trip out into the wilderness of Arizona with a new army buddy, a guide and a priest, ultimately resulting in a standoff with a heavily armed, highly organized group of possible drug dealers somehow linked to an extra-terrestrial cult hidden somewhere within the Verde Valley. The journey spins a person into one of the regions most mysterious vortexes on location at the site of a world-famous architectural marvel found tucked into the mystical red rock mountains surrounding Sedona, Arizona at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Taking the reader deeper down into the mystical and sacred underworld waters of the Montezuma Well the tale travels back in time to 1086 A.D. at the upper Verde Valley River. Sinagua shamans are performing ceremonies and secret rites in kivas along Beaver Creek by Montezuma Well. A local spirit was demanding a reckoning from the sinners of the Verde Valley so the region could regain its fragile balance. The shamans had prophesized that the spirit would unleash a dreadful devastation if the Sinaqua people failed to heed their omens.
These people did not practice human sacrifice like the Toltecs from Mesoamerica yet they knew they had to do something radical for penance for sins ultimately to win back the talking spirit’s favor. As restitution, the elders select the most beautiful maiden of 15 summers as an offering. The elders planned to lower the drugged girl to the bottom of the sacred sinkhole, adjacent to the ceremonial site, leaving her fate to the spirits. However, the maiden’s family so loved the young girl who then attempted a daring rescue literally going to the edge of the underworld at Montezuma Well but were unfortunately too late. The maiden’s father cursed the spirits only then to witness a shooting star slowly shot across the sky from the north to the south then a moment later, the star stopped and turned from south, north, then west, and then sped east at unimaginable speeds.
No doubt the author specifically spun a clear message after having had a personal UFO encounter prompting him to create a rather fascinating tale drawing anyone to the fact something paranormal was seen in the sky specifically above the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross. To make the point even more clear the author created pseudo petroglyphs for the book to represent what was witnessed giving rise to the “Schnebley Tank Petroglyph” and legend.
Author Tony Peluso created a fictional novel containing images of ancient petroglyphs found in the region to describe something which really happened while at the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross. The UFO sighting notably became known as the “Archangel of Sedona.” (Remarkably the same conclusion has been presented for the Sunset Point UFO.) Thus the Schnebley Tank Petroglyph is not so ancient after all but a modern version using tools of today to present actual events symbolically. Notably modern and pre-historic scribes have been compelled to etch an accurate replication of what has actually been seen in the region. People living in the area in ancient times wanted to leave a clear message to all who happened to look upon the artwork there was something odd taking place in the region. Nevertheless, the image was inspired and created by true events to describe supernatural events ironically also preserved at numerous actual ancient petroglyph sites found throughout the region and seen in the skies today where people are capturing images of these events on cell phones. Clearly, from ancient times into the 60’s and beyond into the present there has been “legendary” paranormal activity occurring in the region. The unusual events have caused some people to investigate the source and cause of these supernatural occurrences only to lead them into mysterious vortexes on a few levels like those found in the depths of Montezuma Well rumored to be the gateway to the underworld by the local Native Americans in early history and today long before divers discovered the false bottom.
After researching this chapter, the points I would like to have recalled for the chapters coming up is how Marguerite Brunswig Staude, closely connected to the church, used her influence to somehow get a Senator to take her dream to the office of the Secretary of the Interior who granted the necessary permit in 1955 to build the chapel on National Forest Service land. The Vatican would also use its influence to accomplish the same task on top of Mount Graham years later through local legend Senator John McCain.
Today the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross is visited by all kinds of people from all walks of life. Being one of the main attractions in the area for tourists it’s no wonder why the gift shop continues to thrive. Visitors from all over the world have made this a “can’t miss” destination in Northern Arizona.
The Chapel has a Prayer Service every Monday at 5:00 pm. There are NO Liturgies at the Chapel. According to Diocesan Policy, all Liturgies are to be celebrated in the parish church. There are NO WEDDINGS held at the Chapel but the view sense removing the Christus is still spectacular! 
Could the church be built on top of some type of portal or doorway to the underground? The site is already known to be the premier place for Soul/Astral Travel in the area. If it’s up or even perhaps down one would like to go it seems the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross is the doorway to accomplish such a task for this legend of the Verde Valley. There is, of course, a reason to have a cross pointing toward the sky in a region having some of the highest recorded paranormal activity. The Cottonwood Vortex (Vortex of the Heavens) clearly show there are doorways in the region where beings travel back and forth just a short distance away.
“Indeed the Verde Valley as a whole has heights and depths most are unaware.”
 Wikipedia, Chapel of the Holy Cross https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapel_of_the_Holy_Cross_(Sedona,_Arizona)
 Arizona’s magnificent 7, The Arizona Republic, July. 6, 2007 http://archive.azcentral.com/travel/features/articles/2007/07/06/20070706az7wonders0707.html
 Gateway to Sedona: The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona Architectural Landmark http://www.gatewaytosedona.com/the-chapel-of-the-holy-cross-sedona-architectural-landmark
 Saint Luke’s Church: The 3 lives of the Chapel of the Holy Cross http://www.episcopalnet.org/TRACTS/ThreeLives.html
 Of Spirit and Soul: Earth Vortices, Ley Lines and Tectonic Plates http://www.ofspiritandsoul.com/earth%20vortices/vortices.html
 Verde Valley Vortex, Facebook video: Timothy Alberino, Gen6 Productions, https://www.facebook.com/296270657183002/videos/1056617031148357/
 Center for the New Age, Chapel of the Holy Cross https://sedonanewagestore.com/sedona-visitors/vortex-tours/vortex-locations/chapel-of-the-holy-cross-vortex
NOTE: This information has been taken from a chapter in the book theSedona/Verde Valley Vortex and or will be added on the next update.
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