Jewel of Colon regains its beauty

“Christ Church by the Sea”

With the financial support of the Colon Free Zone Administration, one of the few buildings of great architectural interest remaining that represents the beginning of Colón province was totally restored.

It is known as Christ Church by the Sea, the construction of which began in 1863 and ended in 1864.

Christ Church by the Sea, a Colon landmark.

Christ Church by the Sea, a Colon landmark.

This church was built of national stones by the architect, James Renwick, and is representative of the neo-Gothic trend in the United States at that time. Renwick is listed as the most successful American architect of the nineteenth century, as well as being the son-om-law of Colon’s founder, William H. Aspinwall.

The building was supervised by the Panama Railroad Company and financed by donations from residents of the city of Aspinwall, now Colon.

Christ Church by the Sea has a resemblance to the contemporary Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault, Minnesota, also designed by Renwick. This famous architect was the creator of many iconic works of the United States, one of which is the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The story goes that the existence of this church of Gothic design was built when this style was not yet known in Panama in the mid-nineteenth century, but was chosen due to the American origin of the city.

The “Stone Church,” as it is often called, was consecrated on June 15, 1865 by Bishop Alonso Potter of Pennsylvania, and on January 30, 1980, Christ Church by the Sea was declared a National Historic Landmark, under law No. 92-80.

Last August the Episcopal Christ Church by the Sea was reopened after being restored for the amount of $2.5 million. The restoration work was carried out by the Foundation Luz and the Administration of the Colon Free Zone that contributed funds for the work.

The restoration of the church was made by craftsmen of Colon and Panamanian country areas who worked with stained glass, ceiling beams, roofing, lights, and stone work, among other specialties to give an original touch to the church.

Plans are under way to create a trust to administer the funds for the future maintenance of the Church, which is an historical monument of the province of Colón and the Republic of Panama.

One Comment

  1. Greg McLean says:

    Hello. Thank you for providing historical information on Christ Church by the Sea. I was baptized there in 1964. My parents were married there. I live in the US, but recently visited Panama in April. I did not get a chance to visit Colon, but plan to on my next visit.

    Would you please send me information on your trust fund? I would love to contribute!


    Greg McLean

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