History, Culture & the Outdoors

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The Painted Church
The church is a simple and modest building. It's also has some nice landscapping. 7.50 Hawaii ratingStar
The Painted Church guyonthego

St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church also known as The Painted Church is a well-known small church located on the island of Hawaii about 20 miles (35 minutes drive) south of Kona. The ceiling was painted around 1900 to better relate Catholic teachings to the congregation, most of who could not read.

The current church followed an earlier one that was built in the 1840’s closer to the coast where more people lived at the time. Around 1900 people had moved inland, and the church followed suit. At the time the church was lead by Father Velghe, a self-taught artist from Belgium. He took inspiration for his church paintings from European Gothic Cathedrals. For the Old and New Testament scenes that he painted, Father Velghe used a variety of rich and vibrant colors as can be seen in the picture to the right. The church was updated to its present condition through renovation and modernization work which was performed from 1983-2002.

The Painted Church is a popular tourist stop and is located near both the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park and the Captain Cook Monument. Many people who come here combine one or both of these other places in with a church visit.

If you are in the area, the church is worth a brief stop. It will have interest to those who enjoy seeing historical churches and who like art. As the church is beautifully painted, it also has general aesthetic appeal. The church is both a historic site and an active church, so if you are planning a visit, keep in mind that services are still held here.
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January 2021
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