It's hard to imagine a magnificent 12th-century monastery in a modern, middle-class neighborhood with a large Haitian population, but North Miami is the site of the Ancient Spanish Monastery.
History of the Ancient Spanish Monastery
The magnificent, Gothic-style structure was built in Segovia, Spain and served as a Monastery to Cistercian monks for nearly 700 years. In the 1800s, the cloisters and buildings on the grounds were sold to a granary. Purchased by William Randolph HearstIt, it was eventually dismantled and then shipped to New York. The crates containing all the pieces of the Monastery were held in a warehouse until they were sold and the structure was then rebuilt.
The cloisters were purchased by a philanthropist who presented the Monastery to the Bishop of Florida. Today, the Church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeastern Florida; a vibrant parish that holds services in English and Spanish on weekdays and Sundays.
The Church and Special Events
First-time visitors to the church and chapel are struck by the beauty of the massive stone arches and ancient glass windows over the altar, as well as the solemn atmosphere of the worship space. The church is home to a welcoming and diverse congregation and open to the community and visitors from around the world. The church is also a beautiful venue for a wedding and reception. Traditional, contemporary, and inter-faith ceremonies may be held in one of the three chapels.
If your dream is a summer wedding in a charming setting, the Ancient Spanish Monastery's formal gardens offer the perfect backdrop. Five outdoor spaces are available for weddings large and small. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, the Monastery's special events, including the Gardening Angels and a concert series, are for everyone.