The Painted Churches of Texas: Echoes of the Homeland

Wesley Bretheren Church


Wesley Bretheren Church

Address: Austin

County: Austin

City: Dubina

Mass Times:

Date Built: 1866

Date Painted: 1889


Artist: Rev. Bohuslav Laciak (pastor)


Wesley Brethren: The Former Schoolhouse

By Father Alan Oakes, C.S.P.

The interior of the Wesley Brethren Church was painted by Czech immigrant pastor, Reverend Bohuslav Laciak in 1889. The community used the church as a schoolhouse with Laciak being the teacher. Descendants of early community members remember stories of Laciak up on a ladder painting the ceiling while the children were minding their lessons.

The resulting designs and their meanings have been the subject of much speculation. Certainly Laciak was trying to fool the eye on the side walls of the church, painting columns and archways designed to look like the aisle-ways of a basilica-style church. Some say the faux brick walls represent the walls of old Jerusalem. Laciak also tried to fool the eye by simulating an apse behind the pulpit.

There is a painted gold chalice on the wall above the pulpit. It symbolizes the Blood of Christ. One of the reasons why the Brethren were formed was their belief that everyone, not just the priest, should be able to receive the Eucharist under both species, the Body and Blood. The Roman Catholic Church of today agrees.

The ceiling of the small church is painted blue with bold geometric patterns. Some say the painting is purely decorative, others believe the ceiling most surely represents heaven.

Tragically, Laciak was shot accidentally in a hunting accident. His painting remains untouched and incomplete –- kept just the way he left it. If you look closely on the ceiling, you can see tracings where he was going to continue his work.