Ceiling Frescoes at Saint Augustine Church Granted “Historic” Designation

Ceiling fresco "Saint Augustine in his Glory," at Saint Augustine Church in Philadelphia

Ceiling fresco “Saint Augustine in his Glory,” at Saint Augustine Church in Philadelphia

Recognizing the importance of the ceiling paintings at Saint Augustine Church in Olde City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Historical Commission has granted “historic” designation to the ceiling frescoes in the nave and sanctuary, referred to as the “Fresco Program of 1848.”  A fresco on the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, is dated to 1865. The frescoes at Saint Augustine Church, were painted nearly two decades before this. A fresco is a painting done on plaster while it is still wet, becoming part of the wall or ceiling as the plaster dries. The frescoes at Saint Augustine Church are believed to be modeled after frescoes in the Vatican, painted by Raphael. The ceiling frescoes in the church are those that have garnered the “historic” designation from the Commission.

The original church, for which the cornerstone was laid in 1796, was burned down during Nativist rioting in 1844, was rebuilt and reopened in 1848 . The ceiling fresco in the nave, “Saint Augustine in his Glory,” was painted by Nicola Monachesi in 1848. 

Saint Augustine Church, founded by Matthew Carr, O.S.A., an Irish Augustinian who was sent here in answer to a call issued by Bishop John Carroll for priests for the new country, is the first foundation of the Augustinians in the United States.

Saint Augustine Church is located in Olde City at 243 N. Lawrence Street, Philadelphia, 19106.

 You can view an online article with slideshow of frescoes at the link below.

 Saint Augustine Frescoes

Here is a link to TV news coverage:

TV News coverage of historic frescoes

An online article on CatholicPhilly.com

Frescoes at St. Augustine’s get historic designation BY LOU BALDWIN