Recently in Churches Category
IT was like seeing an army of ants climbing up a colony – only imagine it to be chaotic, more than a few stepping on heads and shoulders in order to touch a moving target. In a predominantly Catholic country, religious festivities such as this are commonplace but the Feast of the Black Nazarene definitely stands out in terms of scale. This year's estimates put the number of attendees by the millions. During this day, the image of the Black Nazarene is paraded from Quiapo Church around Manila's city streets and back. This year, though, the mass was held instead at the Quirino Grandstand (fronting Luneta or Rizal Park), followed by a procession leading to Quiapo Church. Dressed in maroon and carrying white towels, hankies and other pieces of clothing, devotees started converging by the thousands during the mass. Of course, any large gathering – religious or not – is bound to attract commerce. I saw vendors silk-screening T-shirts with image of Jesus Christ right there in the grandstand. What followed afterwards was literally a Black Nazarene showcase – a parade of replicas big and small owned by different parishes and devotees themselves. I've never seen so many statues of Christ before. The bigger replicas were atop carriages. Wiping towels or any piece of clothing on the image of Christ is believed by devotees to carry blessings and makes one's wishes come true. Me and my colleagues Majo and Izah -- shown here with her beloved SLR camera "Rash") -- had a great of view of the procession from the second floor balcony of the City College of Manila campus. At the end of procession is the "real" Black Nazarene, a centuries-old statue brought from Spain to the country. The image is said to have survived a fire and from then on, it was believed by devotees to be miraculous. This sort of explains why devotees are willing to risk life and limb just to get near it. On our way to Quiapo, we asked a few people how they became devotees of the Black Nazarene. This video also shows clips we shot from where we were positioned, marveling at the great spectacle that was the Black Nazarene mob.
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net IS it possible to find in the Philippines a church like Vatican's Sistine Chapel? Yes. In the town of Guagua in Pampanga, one can find Betis Church. Inside the Baroque-inspired church, one can be transported back in time by the ceiling paintings and wall murals that are comparable to the frescos of Sistine Chapel's ceiling done by Renaissance masters. Standing at the nave of the church, one can see the ceilings, walls and the retablo styled with paintings and murals of the Holy Family, selected scenes from the bible, Catholic saints and cherubs. According to oral tradition, Betis used to be a town before it was merged with other sitios now foming Guagua. Betis was named after a huge tree Bassia betis merr. In the article "The Town of Betis: Woodcarving Its Place in Art and History" published in the University of the East (UE) school publication "UE Today" by Ruston Banal Jr., it cited a townsfolk myth about the huge tree. According to early townsfolk, there was a betis tree that stood in the middle of the town long ago -- the tree was huge that it could cover seven barrios today. The Baroque-inspired church of Betis was built in 1660, with construction headed by Father Jose de la Cruz. According to materials at the Betis Church museum (Museo Ning Betis), the preliminary structure was composed of wooden materials. But fire broke inside the church several times and it was rebuilt using concrete materials in 1770. Beautification of the interior of the Betis Church was extensively done in 1939 under the last Spanish friar Father Santiago Blanco. Native painter Macario Ligon was later commissioned to paint the ceiling of the church. Later in 1970s, Ligon's assistant and nephew Victor Ramos restored 80 percent of the ceiling and mural paintings. According to Betis museum records and “The Legacy of Betis” website, Ramos was apprentice of Ligon when he painted the interior of the church. A closer look at the wall paintings of Ramos at the Betis Church gives the idea that the paintings were done with depth similar to that of a sculpture. This was evident because Ramos worked with postwar sculptor Maximo Vicente as apprentice and later he worked at Mabini and Hidalgo Streets in Quiapo as encarnador or painter of skin of rebultos. There is an interesting side story to this: the paintings of Ramos were often mistaken for Simon Flores originals by contemporary writers. Two paintings of the Holy Family displayed near the window of the Betis Church refectory were said to have been done by Simon Flores but this has not been proven. Historians say it was done by a Flores apprentice very familiar to his art style. Another native of Betis, Flores was credited for nurturing local talents and imparting his skills in sculpture. In his younger days, he trained under masters Maximo Vicente, Isabelo Tampingco and Eulogio Garcia, according to literature at the Betis Museum. Flores was also credited for nurturing artists in the town of Betis. Looking at the intricate designs of the interior of the church can make one feel great appreciation for Betisenos Flores, Ligon and Ramos. Words are not enough to detail the magnificence of their work and their style comparable to frescos in the Sistine Chapel. Cliché as it sounds, you have to be there to experience their art. As I took a final look at the paintings, I cannot help but feel thankful to the artists and Betisenos for their efforts to restore the church's interior paintings. Thanks to them, we have our own version of Sistine Chapel in Betis, Pampanga.
By Fung Yu, Contributor INQUIRER.net Author’s note: This article uses Apple’s QuickTime technology in providing an immersive experience by means of virtual reality panoramas. QuickTime is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 1.8Mb each. I LOVE churches, especially centuries-old ones. Apart from their religious significance, I like the tranquility of its ambiance, the intricate architectural designs of its interiors, and the historical and cultural attachment to its community. Being the only Christian nation in Asia and with over 400 years of rich Spanish heritage, our country is dotted with an abundance of these elegant structures. Built in God’s name, and for His glory, these bastions of Christianity are a testament of man’s faith, devotion, and artistic talents. The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) listed the following four churches on November 6, 1992 for inclusion under the UNESCO World Heritage List: Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin, Intramuros; Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; and Church of Santo Thomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao, Iloilo. These were subsequently inscribed on December 1993 under World Heritage List No. 677 with the heading “Four Baroque Churches of the Philippines.” They were selected for inclusion based on their authenticity and qualities. “…As all four churches represent the progressive evolution of the structures of places of worship that has been in continuous use since their original construction.” “These churches are architecture built in response to local natural and climatic conditions by Filipino and Chinese craftsmen with no knowledge of European architecture. The men of God who commissioned them reinterpreted the European Baroque to establish a peripheral Baroque which is deceptively western in appearance but wholly Filipino in spirit and context.” Baroque being a period as well as a style that started around the year 1600 in Rome, Italy. It is characterized by “exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music.” “The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement.” Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin was the first church built on the island of Luzon in 1571, immediately after the Spanish conquest of Manila. A site within the district of Intramuros was assigned to the Augustinian Order, who were the first to evangelize in the Philippines. In 1587 the impermanent earliest building in wood and palm fronds was replaced by a church and monastery in stone, the latter becoming the Augustinian mother house in the Philippines. As a result the church was richly endowed, with a fine retablo, pulpit, wall paintings, lectern, and choir-stalls. It was the only structure in Intramuros to survive the liberation of Manila in 1945. firstname.lastname@example.org.