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San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey
(4.6/5 based on 45+ reviews on the web)
The Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, also known as the Royal Presidio Chapel, is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Monterey, California, United States. The cathedral is the oldest continuously operating parish and the oldest stone building in California. It was built in 1794 making it the oldest (and smallest) serving cathedral along with St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the only existing presidio chapel in California and the only existing building in the original Monterey Presidio.Early historyThe church was founded by the Franciscan Saint Junípero Serra as the chapel of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo on June 3, 1770. Father Serra first established the original mission in Monterey at this location on June 3, 1770, near the native village of Tamo. However, Father Serra became engaged in a heated power struggle with Military Governor Pedro Fages, who was headquartered at the Presidio of Monterey and served as governor of Alta California between 1770 and 1774. Serra decided to move the mission away from the Presidio, and in May, 1771, the Spanish viceroy approved Serra's petition to relocate the mission to its current location near the mouth of the Carmel River and the present-day town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It was nice to visit from So Cal. Random volunteer let us know a lot about the history of the Church. The best part was a portion of the wall from about 200 years ago is still visible (under protectiv...  more »
  • California owes so much of its history to Spanish missionaries. Just look at some of the names: San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, etc. The Cathedral is a relatively small, simple b...  more »
  • Great stop at the oldest church in CA. National Historic Registry. Some of the original building is shown through plexiglass. $4 to light a candle. 
Google
  • We were visiting Monterey as a family and as Catholics decided to pay this beautiful cathedral a visit. The heritage center was closed but we went inside the cathedral and found beautiful statues as well as preserved areas along the walls that had been there since it's building. Also, we walked around the outside of the church and found a beautiful walkway with historical statues and plaques. A man, who I believe was named Richard, told us more on the history of the church. He was very informative but I don't know if he worked for the church or was a parishioner (or both). Definitely a must see.
  • Feel so blessed to be part of the community of San Carlos Cathedral. Attend the 5:30 mass on Sunday. Great homilies! The building was the first mission established in CA by Junipero Serra in 1776.It is known as the royal presidio chapel. So beautiful!
  • Whenever I visit Monterey, I attend mass here as often as I can. I feel strengthened and invigorated by the beauty of the Cathedral, its place in our history, the timelessness of our faith. I enjoy being in a different congregation. The music is strong and beautiful. I can light actual candles for my family members!
  • A beautiful Chapel nestle in a beautiful bay of Monterey. You stand in front of this beautiful Cathedral and agree with the Saint that built this Church and called it "the heart of his mission" It sure is beautiful in and out and the most perfect spot. The staffs awere so friendly and kind.
  • Beautiful Small church! You can tell how historical it is just by observing it. The people here are very nice and they are friendly. I even recall talking to a lady whoo looked poor and had a really nice dog and we had a conversation. The mass is ruined good and the pastor seems pretty nice.