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 and 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.