Renovation and Blessing of the Cathedral's Wahi Kapu
[November 24, 2019, Honolulu] Within the walls of The Cathedral of Saint Andrew, is a wahi kapu (sacred place) that was set aside in honor of its founders, King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. It is a space for worship and veneration for all who wish to pray, meditate, and contemplate the lives of its founders. Twenty years ago, plans for this space were initiated by the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Rev. Peter Courtney, along with the Cathedral Hawaiian Committee, and others. In 2002 the Royal Patrons Chapel was created and blessed by Interim Pastor, the Rev. Richard Vinson. It was given the name Naleleonalani (The flights or departures of the royalty) but is more popularly referred to as Wahi Kapu.
By 2015, time had taken its toll and the space was in need of renovation. Plans were approved, and in 2016, the Wahi Kapu Renovation Committee was formed, chaired by the Rev. Dr. Haʻaheo Guanson, along with members Leimalama Lee Loy, John Condrey and Ann Hansen. They enlisted the talents of local artists to design a special floor and wall hanging to enhance the worship space. To read about the artists and work that was done to transform the Wahi Kapu, visit The Cathedral website HERE.
With the renovation finally completed in 2019, The Cathedral planned a special service held appropriately on the Feast of the Holy Sovereigns, Sunday, November 24, 2019. The icon and special wall hanging were hung and then blessed by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick.
THE BLESSING: NOVEMBER 24, 2019
The centerpiece of the Wahi Kapu is an icon of the King and Queen. The late Rev. Cn. Malcolm Nāea Chun had commissioned master iconographer Robert Lentz, of the school of Photios Kontoglou, to create the icon that depicts King Kamehameha IV holding the Book of Common Prayer, and Queen Emma holding a bouquet of Jasmine, one of her favorite flowers. Father Chun retained the original, and a high quality duplicate was blessed and hung in the Cathedral on November 28, 1999, their Feast Day. Pictured below are photos of the installation and blessing of the icon by the Rt. Rev. Richard S. O. Chang, IV Bishop of Hawaiʻi.
As part of the renovation, the committee had planned to reframe the copy that had been hanging there for the past 20 years, but when Fr. Chun died unexpectedly in early 2019, his brother graciously donated the original icon to the Diocese. The original icon was carefully restored, framed, blessed, and now hangs in its new home in the Wahi Kapu.
(Renovation and Blessing photos from Ann Hansen and the Cathedral Facebook page)