Scenic USA - Hawaii

Painted Church

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St. Benedict's Catholic Church (The Painted Church) - Captain Cook, Hawaii

Photos by Ginny West

   Saint Benedict, born during the 5th century, was the founder of the Benedictine Order. The order is viewed as one of the bright spots during the Dark Ages, preserving western culture. Today, Saint Benedict is hailed as a Patron Saint of Western Europe. The Painted Church
   Hawaii's St. Benedict's Catholic Church was built in 1899 by Father John Velge. His miniature version of a vaulted nave was patterned after the Spanish Cathedral of Burgos. Resting on the leeward slopes of Mauna Loa near Honaunau, the small wooden church served a local population from 14 surrounding villages. In an attempt to overcome a language barrier, the Belgian priest taught with pictures and paintings. During four years of construction, Father John created frescos on the inside walls and ceiling, with representations varying from hell to the Temptations of Christ. Today, the Painted Church is a popular stop on the Big Island's western coast, about three miles from Honaunau Bay. The church is listed on both the Hawaii and National Register of Historic Places.

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