St. Benedict's Catholic Church (Honaunau, Hawaii)

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St. Benedict's Catholic Church
Hawai`i Register of Historic Places
St Benedict's Painted Church - Exterior (89964720).jpg
Saint Benedict's Catholic Church
St. Benedict's Catholic Church (Honaunau, Hawaii) is located in Hawaii
St. Benedict's Catholic Church (Honaunau, Hawaii)
LocationHonaunau, Hawaii
Coordinates19°26′6.252″N 155°53′17.952″W / 19.43507000°N 155.88832000°W / 19.43507000; -155.88832000Coordinates: 19°26′6.252″N 155°53′17.952″W / 19.43507000°N 155.88832000°W / 19.43507000; -155.88832000
ArchitectVelghe, Fr. John Berchmans
Architectural styleGothic
NRHP reference No.79000753[1]
HRHP No.10 47 7230[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 31, 1979
Designated HRHPMarch 27, 1979
Interior of the church, showing frescoes

Saint Benedict's Catholic Church (also called simply The Painted Church[1]) 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.[3] 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.[1] 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.[4]

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.[5] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is open to the public for viewing seven days a week.

Monument at St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Honaunau (Hawaii)

A monument for Father Damien stands in front of the church and is often decorated with Leis.



  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ National and State Register of Historic Places. Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources. 2014-12-05.
  3. ^ Williams, Peter (June 27, 2000). Houses of God: Region, Religion, and Architecture in the United States. University Of Illinois Press. p. 284. ISBN 9780252069178.
  4. ^ Mulholland, John (June 10, 1970). Hawaii's Religions. Tuttle Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 9781462912537.
  5. ^ Saint Benedict Church Parish Details. Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Accessed 2015-1-01.