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The Church of the Transfiguration



Originally a humble wooden chapel built on a parcel of farmland in 1905, the Church of the Transfiguration's parish flourished to such a degree that a new building was constructed. The lower church was built for the parishioners in 1925 and the upper church was finished in 1928. Capable of seating over 2,500 people, it was one of the biggest and most magnificent churches in Philadelphia, but by the 1970s demographics had shifted in the neighborhood around it and it was eventually closed in 2000.



After its closing it was purchased by conman Raffaello Follieri, a con artist who was supposedly going to use inside connections to buy churches from the Vatican for low prices and rehabilitate them into community centers. Instead, he used investors' money to live a lavish lifestyle with his girlfriend at the time, actress Anne Hathaway. He had no inside connections and lost bids on all other churches he tried to purchase, save for three. Transfiguration was one of them, and sat abandoned for roughly a decade. When it was resold in 2009 after Follieri's imprisonment, the buyers (The Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School), only wanted the school and very quickly demolished the church and rectory before any opposition could be mounted from the community. It is currently an empty lot and the majority of the building was dumped in a landfill.

Photographs and text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.

ite, missa est portfolio Photos Taken: July 2009
Status: Demolished in 2009
Last Updated: March 2014
mysterium fascinans portfolio Photos Taken: July 2009
Camera Used: Olympus Evolt 510
Last Updated: November 2009
The Church of the Transfiguration Historical Photos portfolio Historical photographs of the Church of the Transfiguration