St Benedict's Painted Church
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Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park
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Bong Brothers & Sistahs
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84-5140 Painted Church Rd · interesting places nearby
St Benedict's Painted Church information
A pulpit with a view, gravestones bursting with tropical blooms, and a little chapel with floor-to-ceiling 'outsider art' make this church a picturesque side trip.
A self-taught artist and Catholic priest, John Berchmans Velghe, came to Hawaiʻi from Belgium in 1899 and founded the church near the Place of Refuge before moving it 2 miles upslope, snagging one of the coast's prettiest vistas. Determined to convert the illiterate natives, Father John painted the walls with a series of biblical scenes (such as 'Hell' and 'The temptation of Jesus') as visual aids. He modeled the wall behind the altar on the Gothic cathedral in Burgos, Spain. The trompe l'oeil art work is delightful, in that naïf art kind of way. Come early or late, when the light is softer and the birds most vocal. Everything is wheelchair-accessible.