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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years ago)
x x (3 years ago)
Magnifique édifices Où l'acoustique est excellent pour les concerts de musique et de chant
Saoud Al-Moselli (3 years ago)
Old historical church
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.