About Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (Shiner)
This gallery contains images from Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Shiner, one of the Painted Churches of Texas.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Church is a Romanesque Revival structure of grand proportions that dominates the surrounding countryside. As is typical of Romanesque Revival buildings, it features a profusion of forms and contrasting materials and colors. Basically rectangular in plan, the church is constructed of red brick and accented with pinnacles and buttresses, by the use of cut stone, and by various geometric patterns done in buff and gray brick. An arcaded portico runs across the front of the building, forming a support for the soaring, square tower with octagonal spire which rises above the entrance. A semicircular apse protrudes from the back of the structure. Arched openings of various proportions are used on all sides of the building, some of which are connected with string courses and hood molds in a checkerboard pattern of gray and buff brick. Stained glass fills the arched windows. A dentil course of contrasting brick runs along the sides of the building, with a diamond motif of buff brick occurring above that; a stone corbel table crowns the front facade. The recent sandblasting of the exterior brick was unfortunate, since it has now begun to erode.
The interior plan is basilical, with a barrel-shaped vaulted ceiling surfaced over the nave in pressed metal with Greek crosses. Lower groin vaults occur over the two side aisles. Painted Greek crosses, gold fleur-de-lis, and other stenciled church motifs adorn the segmental arches which span the columns, as well as the wall in front of the apse. At the intersection of the vault and wall over the entrance of the apse, there is a freehand painting upon a blue background of whimsical angels resting on clouds surrounding a ciborium, which is also floating upon a cloud. Beneath the painting, the arched entrance bears the Latin inscription Ecce Panis Angelorum, "behold the breadof angels." A major focal point is the depiction of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane painted in blues, purples, and grays. Another realistically painted mural is located on the rear wall of the church in the choir loft. There, robed angels are depicted singing and playing musical instruments. An interesting detail is the texturing and painting of the walls around the side windows to simulate grey stone arches.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Church is a carefully crafted example of the Romanesque Revival style with its rich array of colors, forms, patterns, and materials. It is the most outstanding structure in the community of Shiner and plays an important role in the lives of the descendants of the town's Czech and German Catholic settlers. The interior displays a variety of painted decoration skillfully applied.
Shiner was established in 1887 upon the arrival of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad. The original Czech and German settlers attended Mass at churches in nearby communities until 1890. At that time two acres of land in Shiner were purchased for construction of a place of worship. The first structure was a much simpler wooden precursor of the present church, and was completed in 1891, It suffered damage from a tornado in 1892 but was repaired. The parish had grown too large for the original structure by 1921, so a new and more elaborate church--the present structure--was commissioned. It was designed by F. Wahrenburger and constructed by B. Falbo and M. Deodati near the older building. In 1954, repair and renovation were carried out. It is believed that the interior was painted soon after, by artist Edmond Fatjo. Fatjo was trained at the Royal Art Academy in Berlin, Germany, and was a painter of church interiors during the period from 1925 and 1964. The painting in Sts. Cyril and Methodius consists of both freehand works and stencilling, on the walls, in values of blue and tan.
Kennedy, C., Butler, L. F., & McCann, M. (1983). Churches in Texas with Decorative Interior Painting (National Register of Historic Places Thematic Nomination) (pp. 36-38) (United States, Texas Historical Commission).
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