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The colorful and rather well-lit chapel of Mission Santa Ynez. This chapel is also smaller than its nearest neighbor, Mission Santa Barbara. The old mission Santa Ynez was 19th of the 21 missions in the state of California, which were established by Franciscan priests from 1769 to 1823.

The earlier history of the area in terms of European settlement begins in October, 1542 when Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered the Santa Barbara Channel during one of his exploratory voyages; he subsequently claimed the land in the name of the Spanish king. Sixty years later Sebastian Viscaino named the channel in honor of St. Barbara as he sailed on the eve of the feast of St. Barbara (Dec. 3, 1602). In the 18th century, Franciscan missionaries joined the Spanish military and attempted to convert the Chumash indians to Christianity.

This particular mission was founded on September 17, 1804 by Father Estavan Tapis, and was named in honor of St. Agnes, an early Christian martyr from the fourth century. The nearby town of Santa Ynez is also named for this individual. The mission was heavily damaged by a large earthquake in 1812, but was rebuilt and prospered during the early 19th century. The first college seminar in California was temporarily situated at the missin (1844). The mission declined somewhat but was revived by the Donahue family in 1882 and Father Alexander Buckler in 1904, who began the repair of the mission complex along with his niece. The Capuchin Franciscan friars from Ireland arrived in 1924 and continue to care for the mission today.

The mission affords a great view of the Santa Ynez River Valley and the mountains. It remains an active parish church to about 1,000 families and services are held regularly, including weddings, baptisms, confirmations and funerals. The complex also houses some important historical artifacts, including paintings, statuary, vestments, manuscripts and other objects.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 86 W: 78 N: 929] (1717)
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