St. Benedict's Catholic Church, Kailua Kona, HI | CruiseBe
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St. Benedict's Catholic Church

Honaunau, Hawaii
History and museums
church, landmark, sightseeing

Saint Benedict's Catholic Church (also called simply The Painted Church) is a parish of the Roman Catholic Church in Honaunau, Hawaii. It was built between 1899-1902 under the direction of the Belgian Catholic missionary Father John Velghe, who then painted frescoes along the interior ceiling and walls. An untrained folk-artist, Fr. Velghe depicted various biblical scenes, such as Cain's murder of Abel, Jesus refusing the Devil, and the writing on the wall, as well as a vivid illustration of sinners in Hell. While the building itself is small and rectangular, Fr. Velghe painted Gothic vaults above the altar, creating the illusion of a European Gothic cathedral, inspired particularly by Burgos Cathedral. Several other priests learned from Velghe and went on to establish other 'painted churches', including Star of the Sea Painted Church, painted by Father Evarist Gielen.

St. Benedict's continues to be an active Roman Catholic church in the Diocese of Honolulu, vicariate of West Hawaii, holding five masses per week. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is open to the public for viewing seven days a week.​​


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