Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, Florida

The city of St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles. He sighted land on August 28, the feast of St. Augustine of Hippo, and decided to name his first settlement after the saint. After some exploring, he and his men settled in the area now known as St. Augustine. Catholic Mass was said there until 1763 when Florida was given to England at the Treaty of Paris which settled the French and Indian War. In 1784 the British gave Florida back to the Spanish and Catholicism was restored. In 1793 a new church was built. In 1870 the diocese of St. Augustine was established and the parish church became a cathedral. An 1887 fire caused damage to the church, requiring many renovations including the addition of a bell tower.

St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica

The bell tower (with gift shop on the ground floor!)

The interior is spacious and nicely decorated.


Main altar

Detail of the altar piece

The main altar is flanked by fine murals of the Spanish missionaries working in Florida. The ceiling is vividly decorated as well.

Ceiling over the altar

Some of the paintings to the left and right of the altar

To the left of the main altar is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. To the right is a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady.

Blessed Sacrament Chapel

Chapel of Our Lady

Pope Paul VI raised the cathedral to the status of a minor basilica in 1976. The letter is on display near Our Lady's chapel.


A side altar is dedicated to St. Patrick.

St Patrick altar

The back of the church shows the ongoing renovations and another mural.

West (entrance) wall

Stained glass windows along the nave show the life of St. Augustine.

St Augustine

Outside in a courtyard is a statue dedicated to Father Pedro Camps, a priest who led a small Minorcan community to St. Augustine for refuge in the late 1700s.

Father Pedro Camps statue