Saturday, March 23, 2019

Yucatán Gold: Churches of Halachó, Yucatán and Sabancuy, Campeche

Chapel, San Mateo Peto Yucatan

Driving across the Yucatán Peninsula you will pass a church in nearly every town.  Many have no identifying signs, such as the small chapel above in San Mateo, a hamlet which lies about halfway in-between Merida and Campeche.  One common denominator is that many of them are painted the bright yellow color that has come to be known as Yucatán Gold.

Sources seem to agree that Maya beliefs are the main reason for the pervasive use of yellow. This color was associated with the Sun God as well as being symbolic of corn, a very important component of Maya mythology and believed to be the substance out of which human beings were made. There could be other, pragmatic, factors involved such as ready availability of the pigments that make yellow paint, but this has not written about.

Santiago Apôstol, Halachô, Yucatan and Sagrada Corazón de Jesus, Sabancuy Campeche and are both examples of rural Yucatan peninsula church architecture, far more simple than the baroque design found in urban centers.

Santiago Apóstol, Halachó Yucátan:

Santiago Apôstol, Halachô, Yucatan
Santiago Apôstol, Halachô, Yucatan

This church has roots that date back to 1635 when a small chapel was built on the site that it now occupies. The actual church was begun in the late 17th to early 18th century. One of its bells bears the date 1728 and the baptismal font is dated 1739.  Santiago Apostól Church suffered some damage during the fighting of the revolutionary movement of 1915.

Church Front View, Santiago Apóstol, Halachó, Yucatan

Main Altar dedicated to the apostle, St. James (Santiago), Santiago Apóstol, Halachó, Yucatan
Back View, Santiago Apóstol, Halachó, Yucatan

The church is fairly large and there are a number of side altars and a chapel for adoration of the Sacrament.

Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Santiago Apóstol, Halachó, Yucatan
Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, Santiago Apóstol,  Halachó, Yucatan

Guadalupe Altar,  Santiago Apóstol, Halachó, Yucatan

Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy Campeche:

Front Façade, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche
Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche

 Sagrada Corazon was built piecemeal over a period time dating back about 200 years. The main hall was built in the 1800's, one tower was built in 1952 and the other in 1994.  In modern times, at one point, it was in a deteriorated  condition, with decaying walls and roof.  Subsequently it has been restored and is now in good condition.

Church Interior, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus,  Sabamcuy. Campeche

Front Altar, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche
View toward rear of Church, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche

The deteriorated roof was replaced with one of corrugated metal.

Corrugated Metal Roof, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche

The Divino Niño Jesus, a common devotion in Mexico and throughout Latin America, stems from devotion to the Christ Child.  The statue of the Divino Niño is that of a young child, although the age portrayed can differ slightly. 

Side Chapel of Divino Niño Jesus, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche

Images of the Trinity in Latin American are unique because they give physical form to what elsewhere is an abstract theological concept.  Here, the Father and the Son are portrayed sitting on a cloud with the Holy Spirit (partly hidden by the light) descending in the form of a bird.

Side Chapel of Holy Trinity, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus,  Sabancuy,  Campeche

In all Roman Catholic churches, the consecrated bread, the Blessed Sacrament, is kept in a special container.  Sometimes this container has it's own chapel, as below, where worshippers can come and pray in the presence of this sacrament.  It is considered among the holiest areas of a church, because, according to some theological perspectives, Christ is  actually physically present in the consecrated bread.

Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, Sabancuy, Campeche

The states of Yucatan and Campeche both have many churches that exemplify, the elaborate, baroque architecture of the Colonial period in Mexico,  There are also many, many smaller churches that dot the landscape displaying vernacular, local characteristics that are equally as interesting as their urban cousins.