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Charlotte Amalie downtown walk – Churches

Roosevelt park or as first called Coconut park

Roosevelt Park, Downtown Charlotte Amalie

Rainy season…it has been raining almost nonstop for the past week, but on Saturday, the skies opened up and gave us a break. We jumped on the opportunity to get out of the house. Ever since we moved here, we’ve been wanting to get out and check out the historical churches downtown. During our month-long tour through Europe, we spent a lot of time in churches and cathedrals, marveling at their vast dimensions and sheer beauty. We had such a good time on that trip, so we had to check out the historic churches in our own town.

Ever since the Virgin Islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, Charlotte Amalie has always been (and remains) a drinking town. In fact, before being renamed, it was once called “Taphus,” meaning “beer houses”; however, beer and religion have always coexisted, and that history is no different here in the Caribbean. The Danish were the first to permanently settle here around 1666, attracted by the natural, deep water harbor. During their time here, they constructed several castles, cemeteries, churches, forts, town homes, sugar mills and plantation houses, some of which are still standing. [1]

Frederick Lutheran Church

It is the oldest church building on St. Thomas (the building was completed in 1793) and the second oldest Lutheran Church building in the Western Hemisphere. In its heyday, Lutheranism was the state religion of Denmark which contributed to its popularity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Amalie,_United_States_Virgin_Islands

The church has a massive mahogany altar. The crucifix is gold leafed and is over a century old.

The church has a massive mahogany altar. The crucifix is gold leafed and is over a century old.

Frederick Lutheran Church mahogany altar

 

The Memorial Moravian Church

One of the last churches to be built in the town of Charlotte Amalie, the Memorial Moravian Church represented an effort on behalf of the Moravians to establish a more visible presence in Charlotte Amalie to mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Moravian Mission to the Danish West Indies.  [2]

moravian

Inside the church, four important years are painted above the alter. In 1457, the Moravian church and religion was established in Europe. In 1732, the Moravian church was established in Virgin islands, and 150 years later in 1882, construction began on the current church to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Moravian church in Virgin Islands. (We couldn’t figure out why 1843 was symbolic.)

Inside of the Memorial Moravian Church

Inside of the Memorial Moravian Church

The organ no longer plays, but its beauty and history remains

The organ no longer plays, but its beauty and history remains

 

All Saints Anglican Church

The church was built in celebration of the end of slavery in the Virgin Islands in 1848. The stone was quarried on the island, and the yellow brick lining the archways were brought to the island as ballast on merchant ships.

The All Saints Anglican Church

The All Saints Anglican Church

nside of the All Saints Anglican Church

Inside of the All Saints Anglican Church

The Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim

Although Christianity is the overwhelming dominant religion here, Judaism also has historic roots in the Virgin Islands.  The Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim is the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. [4]

st thomas synagogue

St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Saint Thomas is a cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States Virgin Islands. From the outside, it appears to be the grandest church on the island, but unfortunately, it was closed. We will update with pictures from the inside in an update to the post.

st peter and paul cathedral

St. Thomas Reformed Church

The St. Thomas Reformed Church was established around 1660, and is one of the oldest congregations in the Virgin Islands. Organized by Dutch traders as the St. Thomas Protestant Reformed Dutch Church, early services were held in Fort Christian. [3] Unfortunately, it was also closed, so we were not able to go in.

st thomas reformed church

Map – Charlotte Amalie Churches:

These churches are kind of hidden unless you’re looking for them. Hopefully this maps helps if you care to explore them yourself.

  1. Frederick Lutheran Church
  2. Memorial Moravian Church
  3. All Saints Anglican Church
  4. Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim
  5. Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul
  6. St. Thomas Reformed Church

View Churches of Charlotte Amalie in a larger map

References:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Amalie,_United_States_Virgin_Islands

[2]  http://www.memorialmoravianvi.org/Our_History.html

[3] http://www.stthomasreformedchurch.org/#/who-we-are

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Thomas_Synagogue

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