You run across a lot of Churches while driving around Antigua. Modest, majestic, and everything in-between, there’s a house of worship to suit most every style.
Then, there’s St. Barnabas…
Hmm… With all due respect, this is one Church that style forgot.
I was zipping around the island this past August on a quickie tour arranged by my amazing hosts at the Sugar Ridge Hotel. We passed dozens of Churches along the way, many of which I would’ve loved to explore and photograph if I had more time.
Upon first seeing St. Barnabas, though, I just had to stop. It’s just so… umm… striking. Yes, that’s the word: striking, both in its seemingly random mishmash of structural additions and its color *ahem* scheme.
It’s the green that really struck me the most; a most unnatural hue (or so I thought) that called to mind the horror of Frankenstein, or the slime from that old Nickelodeon slime.
Looks do have a tendency to deceive, however, a notion which in the case of St. Barnabas eventually caused me to see that nasty green in an altogether different light.
My “conversion” occurred after researching a bit of St. Barnabas’ history, which dates all the way back to the 1840s. Up until that time, St. Paul’s Church in Falmouth was the principal house of worship on the island. A massive earthquake in 1843 destroyed St. Paul’s, however, bringing St. Barnabas to prominence.
All that’s interesting, but it’s the material used in St. Barnabas’ construction – Antigua green stone – that makes me appreciate it more.
Indeed, the structure and its color are as natural as can be! The unique stone comes from the Liberta area of Antigua, where the Church is found. All around here you see homes, walls, and other buildings sporting the same green hue.
When I look back on St. Barnabas and the other green buildings in Liberta now, I find them all to be beautiful. Not so much for their aesthetics, but rather their 100% natural and unique Antiguaness. The enduring strength of their walls a testament to Antigua’s firm foundation; their color reflecting the island’s uniquely special character.