Record Photo by JIM LANE
Painting Of Bishop Verot ByJean Troemel
By ANNE CARLING
On the important holy occasion when the Cathedral of St. Augustine is
elevated to a basilica, it seems proper to pay tribute to Bishop Agustin Verot,
the First Bishop of St. Augustine.
Not only did Florida prosper under his guidance, but it was through his
efforts that old records for St. Augustine were discovered in 1871 in Havana.
These records, dating back 300 years, at the time of their discovery, had on
the first of over 1,300 pages a baptism recorded June 25, 1594. Today, what
Bishop Verot found is recognized as the oldest written records of American
origin preserved in the United States. They are in Archives of the Diocese of
AS A TRIBUTE TO THIS FIRST BISHOP of St. Augustine, Lightner
Museum currently has on display, in the lobby of the museum, an oil portrait
by St. Augustine artist Jean W. Troemel. Je
The painting was created from avery old photography of Verot, probably
taken in the 1870s. Mrs. Troemel did the painting because, she explains, she
"felt that such a worthy man deserved pictorialrecognition."
STHE, STORY OF JEAN-PIERRE AGUSTIN Marcellin Verot begins in
Le PuyfFrtance, May 23, 1805.
Atthageof 23, 1828, as ordained,ndtwoyealater was assigned
t.O te important chl on the college level, n Baltimorfe, Md. Whep
the college closed, e w 6ionent to remain uiate Baltimqaoep d.^ |^^
"thunder-struck," accounts note, when he learned hewasappointed rne
Vicariate of Florida.
The appointment came Feb. 1,1858.
More than two M months later, Verot was consecrated a bishop, and a month,
after that he left for St. Augustine.
What he found upon arrival, was a poor, but immense area which had but
three clergymen.. A w d i 1 i
Thus it was through Bishop Verot's efforts, in 1858, that Florida gained
seven new priests and also gote sisters from the Ordesrof Mercy of Con-
necticut, to establish a new academy for ladies. Three Chritnbrothers
from Canada began a boy's day school.
AS THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES was in the forming states, in
1861, Bishop Verot delivered a sermon in which he "vigorously defended thera
rights of the south," itwasnoted at thetime. That sermon earned for hin the
title, "Rebel Bishop."
In that same year, Verot was named Third Bishop of Savannah, rad was to
retain, as well, his duties in Florida. But, he moved to Savs shah, where he
remained during the war.n d pictorial re
After the war, the southland, Bishop Verot wrote, was a "heap of smoking
ruins," and the churches were just as devastated and poor
So the French-born Verot appealed to his homeland for helpasking for
eight Sisters of St. Joseph to offer assistance in St. Augustine. Some 60
FLORIDA PROSPERED UNDER BISHOP VEROT'S leadership, nd, in
1869, at the 10th Provincial Council of Baltimore, the new Diocese in Florida
was approved.nt came Feb
Th oe e approved the council's recommendation the following year, o
and formally erected the Diocese of St. Augustine March 11, 1870.
At his request, Bishop Verot was transferred backing 1 thao St. Augustine,
because, he is to have said, he had first been sent to St. Augustine andrs
Florida, and because in Florida, there "is more holy poverty, as well as
more good to be done in building churches and founding schools."
ONCE BACK HERE, BISHOP VEROT BECAME INTERESTED in the forming states, m
history of the area, and in restoration and repairs of church prousl rty the
Cathedral and the little chapel oed at the site known as Nombre de Dios and the
Nuestra Senora de La Leche.
It was this work which sparked his interest, and influenced in to go to,
Havana in 1871 to search for parish records. homeland for helasng for
Bishop Verot continued to serve St. Augustine, upon his return from 60
Havana, and he traveled throughout the territory, ministering to the needs
of the people.
It was the traveling which finally caused his death. At the age 11 of 71, just
after one of the exhausting trips, Bishop Verot di transferred, June 10,1876, and wastine,
laid to rest in Tolomato Cemetery. Great pomp and ceremony marked thell as
occasion, including a nearly hour-long eulogy delivered by Father Henryng schools "
Peter Clavreu, o nf th e area, and seven priests Bishop Verot had obtained in 1858, on
a visit to France to obtain help for the church in Florida. s return from
a visit to France to obtain help for the church in Florida.