Virgin of Guadalupe. According to the legend, she was first encountered in 1531 by an Aztec whose baptismal name was Juan Diego. One day he happened to pass by the ruined temple of the goddess Tonantzin, located on the Hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City. Suddenly, a mysterious, dark-skinned, female apparition appeared. Speaking in Nahuatl, his native language, she identified herself as the Virgin Mary and asked that a church be built on the hill in her honor. When Juan Diego went to Archbishop Juan de Zumárraga with the story, he was instructed to ask the apparition for a miracle to confirm that she was, in fact, the Virgin. The Aztec man dutifully returned and related the Archbishop's request. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather the Castillian roses growing on the hill in his tilma and bring them to the Archbishop. Juan Diego assumed the miracle involved the existence of the roses themselves, which were blooming completely out of their normal season and were not native to Mexico. When the Aztec poured the roses out, the Archbishop was duly impressed. What really wowed him, however, was the image of the Virgin that miraculously appeared upon the surface of the tilma. A Basilica was later built on Tepeyac Hill in honor of the Virgin and the cloak is still on display there.
pagan goddess Tonantzin. Church leaders expended great effort over the centuries to stamp out any vestiges of the old religions, but with only partial success. Even today, some of the old pagan ways survive. In opposition to the Franciscans, the Dominicans and Augustinians pointed to the thousands of new converts pouring into the churches as a result of the Virgin of Guadalupe's popularity. Their attitude boiled down to "why look a gift horse in the mouth?" After all, the church had accepted the Christmas tree as a legitimate Christian symbol, even though it originated with tree-worshiping Germanic pagans. The bitter argument went on for nearly a hundred years before the practical approach finally prevailed. The Virgin of Guadalupe has since become one of the national symbols of Mexico. She even played a political role when her image was chosen as the battle flag of the insurgent army during the War of Independence against Spain.
San Bartolome (St. Bartholomew) as an Apostle. He may have been a farmer since his name translates as "son of the furrows." Later non-biblical stories allege that San Bartolome evangelized in India, Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia (Persia), and finally Armenia, where he was martyred. The evangelist had apparently converted the King of Armenia, displeasing the King's brother. According to some accounts, the Apostle was flayed alive and then crucified upside down.
see Part 3 of this series). In 1898, the Church authorities intended for the Templo to function as the "temporary" Cathedral until the Santuario could be finished. As it happened, this took a little longer than originally planned. In 2008, the Church officials decided to create co-Cathedrals rather than demote the Templo, which had faithfully served its function all that time..
This completes Part 5 of my Zamora series. I hope you have enjoyed visiting the Santuario with me and, if so you will leave any comments or questions in the Comments section below or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim