When planning a visit to St. Augustine, Florida, I had expected to see lots of Spanish and English colonial history. St. George Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare of downtown St. Augustine, is packed with shops, restaurants and historical sites. On this street there is also an unexpected piece of St. Augustine history – a Greek Orthodox shrine.
Called “The Jewel of St. George Street,” the St. Photios Chapel, is dedicated to the first colony of Greek people who came to America in 1768. The Shrine includes exhibits about the history of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, and the St. Photios Chapel.
The St. Photios Chapel is covered with beautiful Byzantine-style frescoes including substantial use of 22 Karat gold leaf. The icons depict a variety of Christian images, biblical scenes and saints of the Greek Orthodox church.
Saint Photios the Great was Patriarch of Constantinople during the middle of the ninth century. The Orthodox Church honors Saint Photios as a theologian, a supporter of missionary activity, and a defender of the Faith. St. Photios was also known for his brilliance and for his missionary zeal.
In 863, St. Photios sent his two nephews from Thessaloniki, known to us today as Saints Cyril and Methodios, to preach the Gospel in Moravia. St. Cyril is responsible for developing an alphabet (Cyrilic) for the Slavonic people. As a result of efforts they initiated, the Slavic peoples and nations embraced Orthodox Christianity.
As a Father of the Church, his achievements as Patriarch have earned him a reputation as the greatest of all Patriarchs.
St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine
41 St. George Street
St. Augustine, Florida
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
18mm @ f8 – 1/6 sec – ISO 1250