As my wife and I wandered Aliʻi Drive in Kona we came upon Mokuʻaikaua Church. We decided to enter the gates and take a look for ourselves.
This church is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. It first founded in 1820 by Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston, Christian Missionariesfrom America that arrived on the Thaddeus to spread their religious beliefs to the "pagan" people of the islands. They began to teach Christianity to King Kamehameha II, and the Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu which led to a simple church being built on this site across the way from the Huliheʻe Palace. The current church was built in 1837 after a fire destroyed the original wooden structure.
The present day church is open to the public and has some old religious artifacts as well as a model of the ship Thaddeus that brought the missionaries to Hawaii. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the church ; its steeple in particular is considered a landmark.
This is Hawaii's first Christian church, established on the land that King Liholiho (aka Kamehameha II) donated to the early missionaries shortly after the ruler had unambiguously overthrown the tradition "kapu" system in the islands.
This handsome structure was completed in 1836. Its walls are made of lava rock held in place by mortar; its pews and pulpit are made of koa, the precious local hardwood. The steeple reaches a height of 112 feet, and by traditional (or law?) no building in Kailua may be taller. This has proven fortuitous, because it seems to have (so far) saved Kailua from overly tall condos or resort hotels.
Going back to the 1840's the small wooden church more commonly known as the Painted Church is a nice piece of history. It is famous for its rare internal paint scheme.
While it does require a car to visit (it is about 20miles south of Kona), it is free to enter. There is a donations drop if you'd like to contribute.
The small church, which houses maybe 40 people, was moved in 1899 from its original location but has not lost any of its charm. Upon your visit, there is an information booklet where you may read all the historical information.
St Peter's Catholic Church aka The Little Blue Church is right by the seashore. It's just a 1-room church with simple pews. It's a quiet place amid the bustle of island life. No entrance fee necessary. Church was built in 1889 and is still available for weddings.
It was fun to see this quaint, pastel-colored church in a tropical setting. The surroundings are idyllic, with the sea in the background and colorful bushes in the foreground. This Catholic church was built in 1889, atop the foundation of a Hawaiian temple (Heiau). This seems like it would be quite a romantic place to have a wedding, though with only 12 pews inside, you might want to keep the wedding party intimate.
Mass is daily at 7:30AM.
Traveling south on Ali'i Drive, you'll come to see an altar by the side of the water. This is Ku'emanu Heiau, and there are still people places fresh offerings here. Why? This is the only heiau in the islands dedicated solely to surfing.
I guess it works, as there are regular gnarly conditions.
Do not disturb the altar...it's sacred. Ironically, it sits adjacent to the "Little Blue" Catholic Church. I thought this combination of old and new gods interesting in contrast.
Saint Benedict's Catholic Church is known as the "painted church" and a short visit to this church will explain why it's called that. Father John Velge painted religous frescos on all the walls of the church depicting scenes of the Bible, from the Last Supper to Hell. He painted these in the style of Renaissance painters, such as Michelangelo. Unfortunately, time, temperature and termites are wearing away the church and it's art work. You can make donations to help preserve this piece of religious devotion.
St. Peter's Catholic Church is a tiny, little church ideally located next to the sea. It is also known as the "Little Blue Church" and is a popular spot for weddings. It has 12 pews and a pulpet , and a lovely etched glass window. Beautiful, colorful bouganvilla plants surround the building.
It was built in 1889 on an ancient heiau and the outside construction is clapboard with a corrugated roof.
Masses are given once and week and the door is always open for visitors.
A parking lot does not exist so visitors must park on the side of the road.
Hawaii's oldest church. It is a nice place to feel the atmosphere of old Hawaii and take a break from the busy streets of Kona.
St Benedict's Painted Church is brightly illuminated with biblical scenes executed by a Belgian priest in the early 20th century.