By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Leaders at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Old City are hoping to fund an endowment, now that the church’s frescoes have been declared historic.READ MORE: Pennsylvania US Senate Race Between Republicans Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick Too Close To Call
The Philadelphia Historical Commission has designated the wet frescoes on the ceiling of St Augustine Church historic.
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“They’re considered to be the oldest frescoes in any religious building in the country, perhaps the hemisphere,” said pastor William Waters.
Italian painter Nicola Monachesi painted the frescoes in 1848, when the church was rebuilt following anti-Catholic rioting. The frescoes (paintings directly on wet plaster) depict Augustine in heaven. Waters hopes the historic designation will spur donations to maintain the church at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge.
“We would like to be able to raise money, very honestly, for perpetual care. An endowment to take care of the building,” Waters said.MORE NEWS: Phillies Return Home After Road Trip With 3-0 Loss To Padres
Local historian Celeste Morello campaigned for the historic designation.