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Painted Church in South Kona.

St. Benedicts Catholic Church

St. Benedicts Catholic Church was built in the 1880's and was ministered by Father Damien, a Belgium priest that later went to the leper colony over on Moloka'i.  Fr. John Velge decorated its interior between 1899-1904 to teach the Hawaiians the scriptures, he had the beautiful Click for large viewmurals painted on the interior walls of the church.  When delivering his sermons he would use them as references.  Since the Hawaiians did not have a written language at the time, the pictures were sort of a picture language.

The bright Kona sun has faded the murals quite a bit and they are not nearly as colorful as the Star of the Sea Painted Church near Kalapana on the Hilo side of the island, but are still well worth the trip to see the beautiful interior.   

There is a donation box located near the front door and I suggest a donation as this is the principal revenue they use to keep this historic church in repair.

The grounds around the church is full of beautiful gardens with a cemetery in the front.  Many hours of work are provided By the parishioners to keep the grounds up.  

As shown to the right the interior if the church is painted to mimic a much larger cathedral with beautiful columns and ceiling.

Take some time to look at the garden and cemetery while you are there and maybe attend a mass if that is your choice.


 The murals depict various teachings from the Bible and Catholic doctrine.  Starting in the upper left and moving left to right we have the vision St. Francis of Assisi had of the cross, unknown title, and Cain & Able. On the bottom left to right we have Jesus & The Devil, the handwriting on the wall, and Hell.



The above is a compilation of the murals and they are actually located on the side walls of the church between the windows, three on each side.

Click for large viewTo get to the church you go south on highway 11 from Kailua-Kona to the village of Honaunau.  Past the village there will be a road that goes off to the right and down the mountain. It is called Napo'opo'o Road and you take it to Middle Ke'ei Road where you make a left.  To the right will take you to Kealakekua Bay.  Next watch for a road to the right called Painted Church Road.  The church will be on your left.  There are signs along the way but as always it will be good to have a good area map.

Posted by Richard Binckley at 1/27/2006 11:27 AM | View Comments | Add Comment |