Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches
A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico
Claire and Richard Stracke
San Miguel Achiutla:
Christ carrying the Cross
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sacred Heart of Jesus + Christ Child
St. John the Baptist
St. Michael (1)
St. Michael (2)
St. Michael (3)
St. Michael (4)
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
St. Rose of Lima
Unidentified Dominican saint
Virgin Mary Altar
Virgin Mary in White
|At San Miguel Achiutla we spoke with Sr.
Bartolo Raimundo Bautista.
Achiutla is a very remote mountain village, accessible by road only when the weather is good. Although the church is at the summit of a mountain, where the village originally stood, the government forced the people to move to the base of the mountain late in the nineteenth century in order to accommodate archeological work, according to Sr. Bautista. However, the people continue to make the journey to the top of the mountain for worship services and for continuing maintenance on this large and complex edifice.
Upon entering the church of San Miguel Achiutla the visitor is surprised first of all by the unusually deep, rich blue of the walls and ceiling. This may be seen in the background of some of our photographs.
Our tour will proceed from the baptistery into
the nave, where we will look first at the santos on and
over the pulpit and then at four altars along the north
wall of the nave. Further santos will be described in
the apse and along the south wall. So let's begin in the
baptistery with St.
John the Baptist.
references to the cardinal directions always assume
that the main altar is at the east end of the church
(the apse), the narthex or entry area at the west end,
and the two walls
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
Photo: René Lopez, Corresponsales