St. Benedict’s Painted Church: NRHP


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Saint Benedict’s, also known as The Painted Church, is an active Catholic Church in Honaunau on the big island of Hawaii. It was built between 1899-1902 by Father John Velghe. Velghe was a Belgian missionary who sought to convert the native Hawaiians to Catholicism.


Velghe painted frescoes along the interior ceiling and walls of the church for instructional purposes since most of the locals at the time couldn’t read. The murals on the side walls depict various scenes from the Bible.


The murals behind and above the altar create the illusion of a European cathedral with vaulted ceilings, though the church is a simple wooden structure.


Our ‘Best of Kona’ excursion with Norwegian Cruise Lines stopped here first. We were invited to go inside where a volunteer told us about the Painted Church and its history. Then we exited to make way for the next group of visitors.



By the front steps is a statue honoring Saint Damien. Fr. Damien de Veuster was also a Belgian Catholic Missionary who ministered to the lepers on Molokai. He ultimately succumbed to the disease himself, passing away the year construction on St. Benedict’s began.


The church and cemetery overlook beautiful Kealakekua Bay. We snapped a few more photos before boarding the tour bus to continue our journey.


Kona Posts:

  • St. Benedicts
  • Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park (Coming Soon)
  • Royal Kona Coffee (Coming Soon)
  • Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (Coming Soon)
  • Huliheʻe Palace (Coming Soon)
  • Mokuaikaua Church (Coming Soon)


Location: 84-5140 Painted Church Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704

Designation: NRHP

Date designated or established: May 31, 1979

Date of my visit: 4/17/2019



19 thoughts on “St. Benedict’s Painted Church: NRHP

  1. From your photos it looks like Velghe had a good understanding of perspective. There’s a real sense of space in the interior shots which, when compared with the photos you’ve taken from outside, is obviously just an illusion.

  2. Pingback: St. Benedict’s Painted Church: NRHP | researchesofjoannemariesworld

  3. Pingback: National Parks USA Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

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