Tourists to St. Augustine are sure to know of the Cathedral Basilica that towers over part of the city. This magnificent legacy of the Spanish colonial past in St. Augustine pays testament to the role of the Catholic Church in that history. Today, the Cathedral Basilica continues to be a fully functioning Cathedral that houses a congregation.
Knowing more about this interesting and unique building will provide you with more context into the rich and diverse history of Florida. It will also provide you with an appreciation for the city of St. Augustine and its rich cultural past.
Let’s look at the history of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine in a little more detail.
Early Origins Of The Cathedral Basilica Of St. Augustine
The original Cathedral Basilica was constructed in 1793 and took five years to complete. The Cathedral was built in a Spanish colonial style, which it still retains today. While the original Basilica was somewhat simple, more was added to it over time.
The predominant religion in the Spanish Empire was Catholicism, and the Roman Catholic Church played an important role in the colonization of the New World under the Spanish flag. The Cathedral represented the Catholic presence in the area, as the center of the missionary activity that was occurring among Indigenous groups in the St. Augustine region.
Due to the conflicts between great European nations at the time, the Cathedral Basilica Of St. Augustine was burned down several times over the course of its life. This required the Cathedral Basilica to be rebuilt. The most recent major fire that destroyed parts of the Cathedral Basilica was in the 1880s. This time, the structure was built with less-flammable materials to prevent it from similar harm in the future.
The Style Of St. Augustine’s Cathedral Basilica
The style of the Basilica now includes many unique architectural features; however, its walls are virtually unadorned. Due to the Basilica having been constructed by the Spanish but incrementally rebuilt over the years, it now features many eclectic components that make it a truly distinct example of a Catholic Cathedral.
The Basilica Today
Today, the Basilica is a US National Historic Landmark and is well worth a visit if you are planning a trip to Florida. It is the oldest Catholic Church in St. Augustine and guided tours are available. The Cathedral is also home to a regular congregation, one of the longest-running in the country. You can learn more about the current church here. The Diocese of St. Augustine