St. Charles Church

Monaco, Monaco

Saint-Charles Church was built between 1879-1883. It is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, the 15th-century Italian cardinal and archbishop. The church was restored and its facades renovated in its centenary year of 1983 by Prince Rainier III, he subsequently oversaw exterior renovation work at the church in 2003.



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Founded: 1879-1883
Category: Religious sites in Monaco

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User Reviews

Joy Z. Emedo (14 months ago)
Saint Charles Church is a Roman Catholic Church located in Monte Carlo Monaco. The only church in Monaco that celebrates the Holy Eucharist in English. The beautiful edifice is breathtaking.
Vedat Odacı (15 months ago)
Located in the heart of the small Principality of Monaco, St. Charles Parish serves a big international community which includes people of 32 different nationalities who speak a variety of languages.  The English speaking chaplaincy of St. Charles Catholic Church was expanded in 2009 and has since become a vibrant prayer community gathering together each Sunday at noon to celebrate the Eucharist.  This liturgy is the only Catholic mass celebrated in English on the Riviera and it draws people from many of the towns and villages surrounding Monaco, and as far away as Nice and the border towns of the Italian Riviera. Prince Charles III, in 1879, ordered the construction of a place of worship in the new tourist district of Monte Carlo to meet the spiritual needs of a population that was becoming more numerous.  According to the wishes of the Prince, the new church was dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, whose family had been united to the Princely Grimaldi family. A connection between the two noble families still exists today. The cornerstone of St. Charles was laid and blessed by Bishop Charles Theuret on November 11, 1879. The church was completed and opened for worship on Easter Monday, March 26, 1883, then was elevated to a parish church March 15, 1887. The church was officially dedicated November 9, 1912 by Bishop Jean-Charles Arnal of Curel, second Bishop of Monaco. During the centenary year in 1983, Prince Rainier III undertook the major restoration work inside the church. Severely degraded by the sea air and pollution, the facades and the tower were completely renovated in 2003.  This church building is considered one of the true jewels of Monaco and is frequently visited by members of all faiths as a refuge of peace and prayerful tranquility.   Additionally, many come to marvel at the sacred artwork and the architectural beauty of the church, which has become a tourist attraction in its own right.  This year the parish is celebrating the centenary of the official dedication with a variety of activities and events. Since April 6, 1950, at the request of Prince Rainier III, the administration of St. Charles Parish was entrusted to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, The Charism of the Oblates is to Live Jesus according to the Spiritual Directory, developed by St. Francis de Sales, whose end and means are union with the Will of God.  The mission of the Congregation is to grow as a religious community in loving union with God and with each other, to share their charism with the People of God, and affirm them in "living Jesus" as the needs of the Church dictate.   As Christian humanists, the Oblates believe in the dignity, worth and responsible liberty of each person and they strive to approach each person in a gentle and humble way while fostering peace and justice in the world community. All are welcome to attend the English mass for prayer and lively Christian song, led by our wonderful choir and accompanied by our historic 17th century organ, each Sunday at Noon.  The parish also has French mass each day at 08h30 &18h30 and each Sunday at 08h30, 10h30 & 18h30. St. Charles offers catechism classes in English for children of all ages.  Children can enroll for sacramental preparation in the following courses: confession, communion, profession of faith, and confirmation. There is also a general catechism class for children ages 6 years old to 12 years old.  This Catechism class covers a variety of topics and focuses on learning and having fun in a wholesome environment. Lessons focus on teaching basic Christian values, such as respect, responsibility, self-control, honesty, compassion, thankfulness, perseverance, humility, loyalty, and faith in God. All lessons will be followed by craft projects or social activities that reinforce the lesson. Students in this class are not preparing for sacraments. Children of all denominations are welcome in this class.
David Davidson (18 months ago)
x x (2 years ago)
Magnifique édifices Où l'acoustique est excellent pour les concerts de musique et de chant
Saoud Al-Moselli (2 years ago)
Old historical church
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.


The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.