Barbados Pocket Guide

St. John's Parish Church

St. John's Parish Church

Set on what has been described as the most romantic location on the island of Barbados; St. John's Parish Church commands magnificent panoramic views that stretch from Ragged Point in the east to Pico Tenerife in the north.

 

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It is speculated that St. John's Parish Church was first constructed in 1645; making it one of the oldest churches in Barbados. This first wooden building was destroyed by fire and was replaced in 1660 when construction on a stone structure began. This church building was to cost the diocese one hundred and ten thousand pounds of sugar (110,000 lbs.).

 

In the hurricane that struck the island of Barbados in 1675, this new church was badly damaged and was completely torn down by 1676. With true Christian perseverance however, another church was built but this structure too fell victim to yet another hurricane in the year 1780.  This destruction was again to be the fate of the St. John's Parish Church in Barbados in 1831 when the church was completely destroyed by that great hurricane. The church as we see it today was completed in 1836 and was rededicated on 23rd June the same year. Its chancel was a later addition some forty years after construction with its beautiful stained glass windows being added quite a bit later in 1907.

 

This beautiful Gothic inspired church is quite a popular attraction for both locals and tourists to the island. The rich history of this church includes a connection to Constantinople, now Istanbul, since it is the final resting place of Ferdinando Paleologus who was the last descendant of the second brother of Constantine, the last Christian Emperor of Constantinople. Paleologus' tomb is marked by a granite tombstone in the rear of church's cemetery.

 

Paleologus was very active in his adopted home of Barbados; in addition to being a planter in the parish on his plantation called Clifton Hall; he was also a warden at the parish church. Even in death he managed to move around; you see after the hurricane of 1831, Paleologus' body was found embedded in quicklime with his head facing west (in accordance with Eastern orthodox custom) under the organ loft in the vault of Sir Peter Colleton, the deputy Governor of Barbados (1673). The body was then moved and reinterred at its present location in the church’s graveyard.

 

Of special interest at this church as well is the elaborately carved pulpit which is said to contain six different woods; ebony, locust, Barbados mahogany, manchineel, oak and pine - the first four of which are indigenous to Barbados. Additionally the church is also known for its beautifully designed curved staircases which flank either side of the entrance and the Westmacott sculpture which adorns the wall to the left of the church's main door which stands in tribute to Elizabeth Pinder.  St. John’s Parish Church is also the location of one of only two intact sundials in Barbados, the other located at Codrington College, just a short distance away.

 

St. John's Parish Church is replete with intriguing discoveries like the grave of Thomas Hughes directly behind that of Paleologus, who was buried in a standing position at his own request since he rarely sat in the job which he held. So the next time that you venture to the beautiful parish of St. John on the lovely island of Barbados remember to pay a visit to this old church with its rich history and breathtaking views of the island’s east coast.

 

Services

Sundays  - 7:00 am (Said Mass with Hymns & Sermon)
   - 7:00 am (3rd Sunday - Sung Mass & Sermon)
   - 8:00 am (Sung Mass) - 5th Sunday
   - 9:00 am (Christian Education & Sunday School)
   - 9:15 am (Sung Mass and Sermon with Matins on 4th
Sunday)
Tuesdays  -  6:30 am (Matins/Mass)
Thursdays  - 10:00 am (Mass at Church Army Chapel)
4th Saturday  - 6:00 pm (Said Mass)

 

Office Hours

Fridays & Saturdays - 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 

Contact Information

Telephone (office)  -  (246) 433-5599
Rectory  - (246) 433-1586

 

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Last modified on Monday, 06 May 2013 14:35

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