"BE ON YOUR GUARD; STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH; BE COURAGEOUS; BE STRONG." (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV)
Sunday, August 19, 2012
August 19, 2012
Remembering One of America's Prettiest Churches
On March 30th, 2012, a day after visiting Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida, I wrote this post. Lately I have wanted to do another post with more photos and more explanations. Though I am not Presbyterian, I was truly humbled to visit this beautiful, stunning church, not only for its wonderful architecture but also for symbolism’s sake. For 198 years (and then again for 37 years after the Protestant British period of occupation) St. Augustine was Catholic. The slightest mention of Protestantism seemed out of place, and the Oldest City had already garnered a reputation for religious persecution due to the Matanzas massacre site just outside of town. I find it wonderfully ironic that this church, with doctrines much like those of the Huguenots, has become one of St. Augustine’s most recognizable landmarks.
This church is indeed a painter’s paradise, a beautiful place to relax and reflect. The gardens alone are worth contemplation. Though there are many pretty churches in St. Augustine, this is definitely the one of the most stunning.
The entrance of Memorial Presbyterian Church pays homage to patron Henry Flagler’s daughter Jennie Louise Benedict, who, along with baby daughter Marjorie or Margery, died in 1889. Both are buried within the attached mausoleum along with Henry and his first wife Mary Harkness.
Just inside the entrance is the first of many small stained glass windows located unusually close to the floor. This was one of my favorite interior features.
The church’s interior is just stunning. Everything is big and wide and open, with formidable walls, a domed ceiling, and soaring windows. It must make even the tallest --- and haughtiest --- person feel like an ant!
I personally liked the tile-work on the floor. Not only is the Greek key design impressive, but there is even tinier detail work beyond the border.
This hanging cross was, I believe, meant to be a chandelier of sorts. It was located in a side room just off the main sanctuary.
This side room was impressive and simple. I especially liked the Scripture verse running along the walls.
If you ever get the chance, come and see Memorial Presbyterian Church! It is definitely a place you will never forget.