Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kawaiahao Church is a historic Congregational church in the United States located in the state of Hawaii. Once the national church of the Hawaiian Kingdom and chapel of the royal family, Kawaiahao Church is popularly known as Hawaii's Westminster Abbey. The oldest Christian place of worship in Hawaii, Kawaiahao Church was designated as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kawaiahao Church was commissioned by the regency of Kaahumanu during the reigns of Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III. Designed in the New England style of the Hawaiian missionaries and constructed between 1836 through 1842, Kawaiahao Church is comprised of 14000 thousand-pound slabs of coral harvested from the southern shores of the island of Oahu. It rivaled the simultaneous construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace for the Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of the Hawaiian Islands.
Kawaiahao Church was frequented by the chiefs of the Hawaiian Islands as well as the members of the reigning Kamehameha Dynasty and Kalakaua Dynasty. The upper gallery of the church is adorned with the portraits of the royal families. Lunalilo, who preferred to be buried in a church cemetery rather than the Royal Mausoleum, is buried in the courtyard.
Kawaiahao Church was not the only site of royal worship. Kamehameha IV and his wife Emma were devout members of the Church of England and established the Anglican Church of Hawaii — the present-day Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii. They commissioned the construction of the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, which replaced Kawaiahao Church as the principal center of royal worship. Kamehameha V, Kalakaua and Liliuokalani preferred to utilize the cathedral.
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