Anglican-Hawaiian History

Ka Pule a Ka Haku

E ko makou Makua i loko o ka lani,
E ho`ano ‘ia Kou inoa
E hiki mai kou aupuni;
E malama ‘ia Kou makemake ma ke honua nei
E like me ia i malama ‘ia ma ka lani la.
E ha’awi mai ia makou i keia la, i ‘ai na makou no neia la.
E kala mai ho`i ia makou i ka makou lawehala `ana,
Me makou e kala nei i ka po`e i lawehala i ka makou.
Mai ho`oku`u `oe ia makou i ka ho`owalewale `ia mai,
E ho?opakele no na`e ia makou i ka `ino;
No ka mea, nou ke aupuni,
A me ka mana, a me ka ho`onani `ia a mau loa aku.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.


The King and Queen’s Church

Ka Hale Pule a Na Mo`i, `o Kamehameha `Eha laua `o Kaleleonalani

King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma were responsible for bringing the Anglican Church to Hawai?i. This invitation culminated in the consecration of Thomas Nettleship Staley at Lambeth Palace on December 15, 1861 as Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of Honolulu. Initially the church was called the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church but the name would change in 1870 to the Anglican Church in Hawai`i.

Bishop Staley

Bishop Thomas Nettleship Staley

The first services of the church were held on October 12, 1862, amidst a time of mourning for the young Prince of Hawai`i, the only son of the King and Queen who died shortly before the arrival of the Bishop. The arrival of the Bishop had been long anticipated and prepared for by the King, who had translated much of the Book of Common Prayer into the Hawaiian language and had written a Preface explaining this new Anglican Christianity to his people.

The King and Queen gave land, part of their royal garden, on which the Cathedral was to be built. While planning and fund-raising began, a small Pro-Cathedral was constructed of wood; this would remain in use for more than twenty years, the time it would take for the first phase of the cathedral to reach completion. The untimely death of King Kamehameha IV on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1863, led his brother, King Kamehameha V, to dedicate the cathedral to St. Andrew as a fitting memorial to a King.

The Queen proceeded on her own to lead the project; she traveled to England to raise money, to commission architects, and to purchase stone from Caen in Normandy, which was shipped to Hawai`i as ballast in sailing ships. The first twenty years were a struggle for money, men, and materials, but with the aid of staunch supporters, the first phase of the Cathedral was completed in time for Christmas 1886, in great part because of the support for the Queen’s vision of the Cathedral as a memorial to her husband. Queen Emma did not live to worship in the Cathedral. She had died the previous year on St. Mark’s Day 1885.

The King and Queen dedicated their marriage to serving the health, educational, and spiritual needs of their people. To these ends they founded The Queen’s Hospital (now The Queen’s Medical Center), several schools, including The St. Andrew’s Priory School for Girls (now The St. Andrew’s Schools, with separate programs for boys and girls) and St. Alban’s School (now ‘Iolani School), and were instrumental in bringing the Anglican church to the islands to provide access to a form of Christian spirituality that the King felt was eminently suited to the character and temperament of his people. In recognition and commemoration of these deeds the Episcopal Church of the United States honors King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma throughout the church on November 28, the anniversary of their Confirmation in 1862.

Cathedral's Wahi Kapu, 2016

New floor in the Wahi Kapu, 2016

Historically, there were two congregations. One congregation was at first composed of Hawaiian-speaking worshipers, and the other was composed of English-speaking worshipers. Through the early years of the twentieth century both congregations came to worship in English. The “Hawaiian” worship service evolved a more Anglo-Catholic style than that of the “Cathedral” worship service. In 1959 the separate congregations were dissolved, and of the resulting three Services, the vestiges of the community of Hawaiian-speakers attended the Rite I 8:00 am Service with the balance distributed between a Said Service at 7:00am and a Rite II Service at 10:30 am. The Hawaiian language was reintroduced at the 8:00 am Ka ‘Eukalikia Hemolele (Hawaiian Eucharist) in the late 1980’s and elements of the Hawaiian worship traditions have been incorporated into the 10:30 Choral Eucharist.

The Cathedral owes much to its royal founders and patrons and actively honors the memory of their work in celebrations throughout the church year. In 2002 the Royal Patrons Chapel was created in the Cathedral. The Wahi Kapu (sacred space) chapel, within the Cathedral, is dedicated to the memory of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma and is a place in which one can reflect on their spiritual generosity and magnanimous accomplishments.

In the Hawaiian tradition, the presence of the kahili, feather standards in the royal colors of red and yellow, signified that the ali‘i (royalty) were in attendance. Two kahili stand at the front of the Cathedral, serving as physical reminders of the royal patrons who we continue to honor to this day.


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