Capilla de la Santisima Trinidad
King Phillip II, of Spanish Armada fame. A town would be laid out around a central plaza, with the most important church on one side. In Taxco's case these are Plaza Borda and Parroquia Santa Prisca (see Parts 2, 4 & 5 of this series) The wealthiest Spaniards built homes on, or adjacent to, the plaza. People of lesser wealth and social status lived in concentric circles radiating out from the center. The indigenous population was the poorest and so lived in the outlying barrios (neighborhoods). La Santisima Trinidad serviced one of these barrios.
Eye of Providence, also known as the All-Seeing Eye of God, has been an important symbol for centuries. In fact, it appears on the back side of the Great Seal of the United States and on the $1.00 bill. During the Renaissance, the image was used to symbolize the concept of the Trinity. Therein lies, its connection with La Santisima Trinidad. The All-Seeing Eye was not an original part of the 16th century church, since the use of a sunburst in the symbol didn't come into practice until the 17th century. It was probably added when the church was remodeled in the 18th century.
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) is one of several statues in La Santisima Trinidad that are taken out and paraded through the streets during religious festivals. The "sorrows" refer to seven sorrowful moments Mary had during Jesus' life, including his crucifixion. She is sometimes depicted with seven arrows puncturing her heart.
Capilla de San Nicolas Tolentino
San Charbel Maklouf. Except for the electric lights, it would be easy to feel that one had stepped back into the 16th century.
San Nicolas Tolentino (1245 - 1305) was a mystic who gained a great reputation by ministering to the poor. Nicolas joined the Augustinian Order at the age of 16 and was ordained at 25. He acted as a peacemaker during the civil strife in Tolentino between supporters of the Pope and those of the Holy Roman Emperor. According to legend, he cured the sick by feeding them bread over which he had prayed. This was the origin of the Augustinian custom of blessing and distributing St. Nicholas bread. It is a practice continued at the Capilla to this day. Nicolas also fasted, but those around him felt he went too far, sometimes endangering his own health. However, the fasting provided him with visions, particularly of Purgatory. In Catholic belief, this is where souls are purified before being allowed to enter Heaven. As a result, Nicolas spent much time praying for the souls in Purgatory and he is considered their Patron. Notice the small whip held in his right hand.
began in the 13th century during Nicolas' lifetime. As a mystic, he was attracted to this extraordinary ritual because it helped produce his sublime visions. I find it intriguing that the pre-hispanic Aztecs produced similar results using manta ray spines to self-pierce the tongue or the genitals. In both cases, the practitioners sought a mystical connection with higher forces through the infliction of intense pain on their own bodies. Although the Church condemned self-flagellation in the 14th century, it remains common in a few Catholic countries, including Mexico.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moor Slayer). He is St James the Elder, one of the Twelve Apostles. His association with Spain is probably mythical, according to biblical scholars. Nevertheless, he became a great symbol for Christians during the Reconquista (Re-conquest) of Spain from the Muslim Moors. The New World was discovered the same year as the final defeat of Spain's Moors. As a result, the Moor Slayer was reassigned the job of sponsoring the conquest and slaughter of indigenous people of New Spain and Peru.
cornstalk statues that were created by Purépecha craftmen in Michoacan in the 16th century. They were made from the core of dried and ground up corn stalks, mixed with the boiled bulbs of begonia and orchidea. The result was a very light and malleable substance, ideal for sculpting. The pre-hispanic Purépecha invented the process in order to create statues of their various deities. Since they took their gods into battle with them, and it was sacrilege to leave them behind if they had to flee, a very light, cornstalk statue had a distinct advantage over one of stone or wood. The Spanish adopted the technique for Christian statues, particularly those of the crucified Christ.
This completes Part 7 of my Taxco series. If you have enjoyed it and would like to leave a question or a comment, please do so in the Comments section below or email me directly. If you leave a question, PLEASE leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim