History of St.Simon and St.Jude Church
St. Simon & St. Jude Church
Known colloquially as Tignish Church is a 19th century Roman Catholic church located in Tignish parish, Prince Edward Island, Canada. As of 2006, it is the single largest church on Prince Edward Island, measuring 185 feet high. It can be clearly seen for 6 miles on flat land, and for many more miles at sea. It is perhaps most famous for its widely publicized apparition of Jesus event.
The church, along with the local post office, is one of the few original structures in Tignish remaining in excellent condition. Surrounding churches include Immaculate Conception Church located 6 miles SW of Tignish in Palmer Road, as well as Greenmount United Church located 5 miles S of Tignish. Many from outside the official parish, such as those in Palmer Road or Alberton parishes, will attend the church.
Although religious services were held in Tignish by its residents since the very foundation of Tignish in 1799, an established place of worship was not produced for a further two years. In 1801, the Acadian settlers of the community built a log church that measured 30 by 25 feet. Although they had no priest, the settlers would gather at the church and read prayers from the Gospel every week.
In 1826 the log church was destroyed to make way for a new, larger building. This building measured 60 by 45 feet and was located in the same area.
It was in 1844 that the area of Tignish was finally construed as a parish. With the arrival of new priest Peter MacIntyre, the church received major indoor renovations and MacIntyre became the first resident parish priest of Tignish. He is considered one of the most prominent and iconic religious leaders of the Tignish area, and one of the most favored priests, he also served the third longest as priest, from 1844–1860. In 1851 MacIntyre introduced church organ into the establishment and in the same year the church was hauled from its location to a new location near the Dalton Schoolhouse. \
Construction of the church
The church of St. Simon & St. Jude is a thing of beauty. It's construction began to be in the works in 1857, and it was built between the years of 1859-1860. The entire build was guided by Rev. Peter McIntyre. There were 300 families living in Tignish at this time. The St. Simon & St. Jude Church can be seen from around the community; it being 100 feet long by 62 feet high, and it's magnificent steeple of 185 feet high was used as a beacon for the fishermen and to reach towards the heavens.
The church is made of 500,000 bricks that came from Hughes` Brickyard, making it the first major brick building built in Prince Edward Island. The architect of the church was Patrick C. Kielly. Patrick designed the church in a Gothic Design. The twelve pillars located inside consist of one large tree that was cut down from "Virgin Forest" located on the Centre Line Road. Each of these pillars were shaped by hand.
In 1885 the stations of the cross were erected in the church. These are very unique, as there are only three others like it in all of Canada. In 1888 a famous artist from Montreal; Francois Xavier Edouard Meloche, painted the twelve life size murals of the Apostles located along the walls, between the stained glass windows. In this same year the church was decorated dark blue with stars. In 1997 the church was once again painted, in creams, greys and a replica of the same blue sky.
With the assistance of many volunteer workers from Tignish and outlying areas, construction on the present–day St. Simon & St. Jude Church began in 1857 and was made entirely of an outer domestic brick structure and wood on the inside. The twelve tall and large columns located in the church were made of only one large tree that was extracted from nearby Center Line Road by bobsled and horses.
The construction of the church was completed, to an extent, in 1860, and was also consecrated in this year. André Roy was the parish priest at the time and would quickly be succeeded by Dugald M. McDonald in 1861.