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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Augustine in Saint Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Great Cross

 
 
The Great Cross Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
1. The Great Cross Marker
Inscription. This Great Cross marks the approximate site where in 1565 the Cross of Christianity was first permanently planted in what is now the United States.

It is a beacon of the faith to remind all those who pass this way, by land or by sea, of the religious beginning of our Nation.

The Cross was erected by the Diocese of St. Augustine as the climax of the mission's 400th anniversary observances 1965-1966

Father Lopez, first pastor described the landing and settlement here on September 8, 1565: "As I had come ashore the evening before I took a cross and went to meet (Captain General Menendez) singing the hymn Te Deum Laudamus. The general, followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the cross, knelt and kissed it. A large number of indians watched these proceedings and imitated all they saw done."
 
Erected by The Diocese Of St. Augustine.
 
Location. 29° 54.253′ N, 81° 18.814′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in Saint Johns County. Marker is on Ocean Ave. Click for map.
The Great Cross image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
2. The Great Cross
The cross sets on a point of land on Matanzas Bay. This is part of Mission of Nombre De Dios. Marker is at or near this postal address: 30 Ocean Ave, Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Saint Augustine (within shouting distance of this marker); Mission Nombre de Dios (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Mission Nombre de Dios (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Spanish Muster Site in Florida (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Robert L. Ripley (approx. 0.3 miles away); Warden Winter Home (approx. 0.3 miles away); 33 Bernard Street (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in St. Augustine.
 
Regarding The Great Cross. Designed by Ugene Kennedy, Jr. (sculptor), the stainless steel cross stands 208' tall above the marshes of the Matanzas River.
 
Additional comments.
1. Fleet Chaplain
Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza
The Great Cross image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
3. The Great Cross
On this site, September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed and founded Saint Augustine. The cross is made of stainless steel and stands 208 feet tall. Type of cross: Latin cross
Grajales, chaplain of Menendezí fleet offered the Mass of Thanksgiving here on September 8, 1565, the day the city of St. Augustine was founded. Gathered around him were Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Adelantado of Florida and Captain General of the Indies Fleet, with his colonists, soldiers and the Timucuans who lived on these shores before the Lord Christ was born.

Following Mass, Pedro Menendez hosted a feast for his companions and their new native friends. Thus began the first permanent Christian settlement in what is now the United States of America.
    — Submitted January 9, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Churches, Etc.ExplorationForts, CastlesSettlements & Settlers
 
Father Lopez image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
4. Father Lopez
Memorial to Father Lopez stands on the lagoon's eastern bank, along with the Great Cross
The Chapel~Nombre de Dios image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
5. The Chapel~Nombre de Dios
Nearby is the sought after "Fountain of Youth" image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
6. Nearby is the sought after "Fountain of Youth"
Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon is believed to have come ashore on April 2, 1513 in search of an elusive fountain of youth.
Fountain Of Youth image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, circa July 1992
7. Fountain Of Youth
Castillo de San Marcos Stands Nearby image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, July 1992
8. Castillo de San Marcos Stands Nearby
Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest remaining European fortification in the nation. El Castillo dates back to 1672 and is a fine example of military architecture from the Spanish empire. It served as a prison for a short time and was declared a national monument in 1924. The fort's original cannons are periodically fired during the summer months.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,579 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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