The Churches of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, Antigua

Parish of St. Paul with St. Barnabas

Today we are going to visit another couple of the beautiful and, in one case charismatic, churches on my favorite Caribbean island, Antigua.  These two are located just over a mile of each other within the parish that bears both their names: St. Paul and St. Barnabas.

St. Paul's Anglican Church, Falmouth, Antigua

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Falmouth, Antigua

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St. Paul’s Church, Falmouth

The site of this church is of historic importance, because it is the site on which some authorities claim that the first church in Antigua was built sometime between 1670 and 1675.  Detailed histories are hard to come by but as Falmouth has a large safe harbour and is adjacent to English Harbour where the Georgian naval base now known as Nelson’s Dockyard is situated, I see little to doubt this claim.

The original church on this site was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1843.  The corner stone for the next structure on this site was laid on January 1, 1847.  An entry in the diary of Daniel Davis, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba at the time, states (taken from the parish web-site):

The Corner Stone of the Parish Church of St. Paul in the island of Antigua was laid by H. E. James Macaulay Higgenson Esq., Governor-in-Chief, in due form. A suitable inscription in Latin on copperplate was deposited under the Stone and one on Parchment enclosed in a bottle with coins of the present reign with the inner Stone.

This second church was struck by lightening in July 1880 and severely damaged, especially at the western end.  Hurricane Dog, which made landfall in Antigua on August 31, 1950 and is considered to be one of the worst hurricanes in the history of Antigua, completely destroyed what was left of the church.

The current structure was began on September 25, 1952.  It is built on the foundation of the old church and is built of concrete blocks with reinforced pillars to prevent a repeat of what happened in 1950.

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua

St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Liberta, Antigua

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 St. Barnabas, Liberta

St. Barnabas is located in the town of Liberta, just over a mile north of Falmouth. This church was built by Bishop William Coleridge sometime between 1824 and 1842 when Antigua formed part of the newly created Anglican Diocese of Barbados and the Leeward Islands.  Originally built as a chapel school, the church is constructed of the Antigua green stone which is quarried in the area, giving it its characteristic color.

In 1842, Antigua become part of the newly formed Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba.  After the earthquake of 1843 destroyed the Parish church of St. Paul’s Church in Falmouth, Bishop Davis consecrated the chapel school and set it aside providing a replacement for Divine Worship (Bishop Davis’s capitalization not mine) for the congregation of the parish.

St. Barnabas church has survived all of the natural disasters that have befallen many of the other buildings on the island, including nearby St. Paul’s.  After a century and a half of continuous use the building showed signs of extensive deterioration, and had become too small to accommodate the congregation and provide the facilities for worship. The Parish priest and his Parishioners were faced with the problem of deciding whether to abandon this landmark, or to extend it without altering its character, or continue to suffer the inconvenience of an interesting but inadequate structure. The decision was taken to extend.

By the end of 1989 the work of restoration and extension was completed, and the character of the building had been preserved.  On Sunday 10th December, 1989, Orlando Lindsay, who held the titles of both Bishop of Antigua and  Archbishop of the West Indies re-dedicated it.

Learn more about the history of Antigua here.

The Churches of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, Antigua
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The Churches of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, Antigua
The Parish of St. Paul with St. Barnabas contains a couple of beautiful and, in one case charismatic, churches on the island of Antigua
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Mark Summerfield
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  1. Love the composition and color contrasts in the first image Mark.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Palatial MuralMy Profile

  2. These places look amazing, love the second one
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