This was a very nice place for solitude that is hidden right in the middle of all the traffic and people. Few notice it, but it has a brief museum of Greek Orthodoxy and a number of shrines and monuments. it is free, but donations are appreciated. The alcove is ornate and beautiful.
Amidst the loud bustle, t-shirt shops, and oldtymey tourist traps of Saint George street there is a little piece of heaven tucked inside one of the walls. An unassuming sign beckons you in the one of the archways to come and see the Saint Photois Shrine. You duck though the arch and find yourself in a peaceful little court yard. Cross the courtyard and enter the shire though a pair of little blue monastery doors. Once inside, the smell of incense and beeswax candles accompanied by the music of an angelic choir fills your senses. As your eyes adjust to the soft candle light, you find yourself surround by the most amazing Frescos. These are nearly life size paintings of the saints, angles, the blessed Mother and the Christ. When you look into the eyes of the fresco of St. Anthony, it is as if he can truly see you. Even if you are not religious or Christian, light a beeswax candle kneel and kiss the saint, you are in the presence of something holy beyond words.
The Shrine is Free, but you can make a donation. Trust me, its worth seeing no matter what your creed.
The St Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine was established in 1749. It is dedicated to a group of 400 Greek Nationals who arrived in Saint Augustine in 1768 and went south to establish the town of New Smyrna. 10 years later the survivors returned to Saint Augustine. They were the first permanent Greek settlers in the New World. The shrine itself is beautiful on the inside. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. There is also a small gift shop on site. The shrine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check out the acoustics too. It does strange things to your voice in certain spots.
While you're walking down St. George Street, look for the shrine of St. Photios. It's a national Greek Orthodox Shrine, it's free and it was well worth the look. There is something very unusual with the acoustics in the shrine, if you stand in a certain place you will hear things differently. I was absolutely fascinated with it and kept asking people if they heard it too....
There is a very cool Greek Church memorial in old town celebrating 400 Greeks who founded the first Greek Orthodox Church here way back in 1768...or something like that. Ok, I admit I didn't read as much of the litarature as I should have, but this church has an amazing alter with incredible artwork on the walls and the ceiling. Strange but true tip: there is one specific spot in the alter where if you stand and talk out loud, the acoustice make it seem as if your voice if coming through a microphone.