Mission Santa Bárbara Church

Tour map

The church appearance, while not original, is very close to the original as it appeared in 1820.

Church long view
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

If you look carefully, you can see how much influence the Vitruvius book on architecture had on the design. Look at the picture above and note the design on the ceiling where the lights connect. Now look at the design from the Vitruvius book…

Ornament design

The altar is the typical mission style with colored background designs, statuary on the sides, and a statue of the patron saint in the center. There is a crypt under the altar and the plaque on the floor in front of the altar names those buried there.

Altar
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

There are many examples of 18th and 19th century Mexican art hanging in the church. The two large paintings near the front are judged to be around 200 years old and are the largest in the California mission system.

Large painting
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

Large painting
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

Moving toward the back of the church you’ll see two alcoves; each containing an altar. I saw no descriptive plaques about these nor is there any information in the tour guide. But, they are interesting never-the-less.

Side altar alcove
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

Side altar alcove
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

For me, however, the highlight of the church is actually hidden away in the Baptistery at the far rear of the church. There you will find the original Mission altar, tabernacle, retable and statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. The overview is first with details below.

Original altar
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

Original Retable
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

Original Tabernacle and statue
Picture taken 11:00am 5 Jul 2001

 This is the only mission with its entire original altar intact and on display.