San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey

4.7
#2 of 8 in Historic Sites in Monterey
Church · Hidden Gem · Landmark
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The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, also known as the Royal Presidio Chapel, is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Monterey, California, United States. The cathedral is the oldest continuously operating parish and the oldest stone building in California. It was built in 1794 making it the oldest (and smallest) serving cathedral along with St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the only existing presidio chapel in California and the only existing building in the original Monterey Presidio.
The church was founded by the Franciscan Saint Junípero Serra as the chapel of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo on June 3, 1770. Father Serra first established the original mission in Monterey at this location on June 3, 1770, near the native village of Tamo. However, Father Serra became engaged in a heated power struggle with Military Governor Pedro Fages, who was headquartered at the Presidio of Monterey and served as governor of Alta California between 1770 and 1774. Serra decided to move the mission away from the Presidio, and in May, 1771, the Spanish viceroy approved Serra's petition to relocate the mission to its current location near the mouth of the Carmel River and the present-day town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
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San Carlos Cathedral reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
93 reviews
Google
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TripAdvisor
  • This is still an operating church complex and open during the day. A very nice and well maintained example of mission churches of early California, although not one of the 21 California Missions... 
    This is still an operating church complex and open during the day. A very nice and well maintained example of mission churches of early California, although not one of the 21 California Missions...  more »
  • This is the oldest church in California and well worth a visit. We found it on a top 10 things to do in Monterey and were not disappointed. It has been beautifully restored with a surprise peak into.....  more
    This is the oldest church in California and well worth a visit. We found it on a top 10 things to do in Monterey and were not disappointed. It has been beautifully restored with a surprise peak into.....  more »
Google
  • It was our first time going to this church. It was close to Marriott so we walked going there. There was a cross with Jesus nailed on it hanging above the altar. The priest Fr Ron so friendly, he walked from the front all the way to the back greeting parishioners. He was joyful making everybody laugh with some of his comments. When he was going around sprinkling blessed water he brushed some head with stuff he was using to sprinkle. He was funny in a nice way. Enjoyed listening to his sermon which was about Mercy. It's special meaning of being willing to enter the crisis of another person. Father, thank you for a great sermon. Will try my best to put it to practice. Love this church.
  • Beautiful church!! We spontaneously stopped, and Mass was just starting. The priest asked us where we were from, and we said MI and it was our 39th anniversary. Fr. Ron Shirley recognized us and gave us a special blessing. It was the most miraculous moment of our trip! The parishioners are very friendly and welcoming. Fr. Ron is an amazing person and priest. He has the most inspiring homilies.

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