Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 3
Title: Cathedral of St. Augustine
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094118/00003
 Material Information
Title: Cathedral of St. Augustine
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 10 – Lot 3
Physical Description: Research notes
Language: English
Copyright Date: Public Domain
Physical Location:
Box: 4
Divider: B10-L3 Cathedral
Folder: Cathedral B10-L3
 Subjects
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
35 Treasury Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 35 Treasury Street
Coordinates: 29.892891 x -81.312435
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094118
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B10-L3

Full Text



From: NEWS BUREAU
ST. AUGUSTINE RESTORATIONS, INC.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.






CATHEDRAL OF ST. AUGUSTINE





ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The Catholic Cathedral of St. Augustine in this

historic city is the oldest Catholic parish in the United States. The pre-

sent church structure, which serves as the Cathedral of the Diocese of St.

Augustine, was built in 1797 under Spanish rule.

The parish itself was founded in 1565 by Father Lopez de Mendoza Gra-

jales, Chaplain to the fleet of Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

Menendez and a band of Spanish settlers landed here on Sept. 8, 1565.

The Admiral named his settlement St. Augustine and appointed Father Lopez

pastor of the infant parish. Settlement and parish grew up together over

the years and stand today as the oldest permanent white settlement and

Christian community in the American nation. To Father Lopez goes credit as

being the first parish priest in the United States.

During its now nearly 400-year long history the parish has lost numer-

ous church buildings to the ravages of war, fire, and hurricane. The pre-

sent parish church was planned and completed during the Second Spanish Per-

iod of St. Augustine, 1783-1821.

Because of the large number of English-speaking residents here during

that period Spanish church officials appointed two Irish priests to the

parish, Fathers Michael O'Reilly and Thomas Hassett. Owing to persecution


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CATHEDRAL OF ST. AUGUSTINE Page 2


in their own country, the two priests had studied at the Irish College of

Nobles in Salamanca, Spain,

Fathers O'Reilly and Hassett reached St. Augustine in 1784, and at once

began laying plans for a new church built in the Spanish-Moorish style of

their adopted Spanish homeland. For an architect they found a royal engineer

named Mariano de la Rocque, and gave him orders to begin work in February,

1788, Construction actually began in April, 1791.

The walls of the church were formed by vast blocks of coquina rock, an

unusual rock made by nature from compressed pieces of seashell and found in

large deposits on nearby Anastasia Island. Fronting the walls the architect

constructed a curving facade with bell niches at the top.

The completed structure was solemnly dedicated on Dec. 8, 1797, and

stood unchanged for nearly a century. A fire that swept the center of the

city destroyed all but the walls and facade in 1887. In the reconstruction

that followed two wings and a belltower were added,

The church became a cathedral when the Diocese of St. Augustine, em-

bracing most of Florida, was erected in 1870.




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