This small white church holds a big secret. Known as the Painted Church, the interior walls and ceiling have been covered with scenes from the Bible, painted by a priest who was stationed here.
Most of the people who were visiting here where looking at the church, but I found the grounds to be interesting, too. This picture reflects a tradition that seems to be related to bringing flowers to a cemetery, or to the site where somone died. I saw this at all the shrines and holy places that we visited. Shell leis were left hanging on or laying on each object. This is a child praying in front of a statue of Mary. He/she was about 4 feet tall, an easy reach for the leis.
Not only is Mary at least life size, she is also standing on a rock outcropping about 4 feet off the ground. I don't know how anyone could place a lei or a rosary around her neck, but they did.
At the bottom of the cemetery, down by the road, were several rows of gravesites of young children. There were a lot of simple white crosses there, too, like this one. Even though it wasn't the peaceful expanse of green grass that we usually associate with a cemetery, there was a feeling of a sacred, holy place.
There are a lot of these plants with yellow flowers growing in the cemetery, almost like wildflowers. It is the foliage that is distinctive, almost fern like. Each leaflet is deeply lobed.
Up the hill, the cemetery looked like this. Can anyone explain the pipe fences?
This is my favorite panel from the church interior. Officially St. Benedict's Catholic Church, the Painted Church was built in the 1800s. The frescos were painted between 1899 and 1904 by Father John Velge. In our guidebook, it is listed as "A real gem".
The elaborate cupola and steeple on the Painted Church. As you can see, it had gotten quite cloudy but it didn't rain. The Painted Church is located just off of Highway 11 south of Kona. You exit onto 160 just south of the 104 mile marker. There are no billboards on Hawaii, and very few signs. The best way to find things is to watch for the mile markers.