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Altar, St. James the Apostle Church

The main altar, installed during Blessed Rother's tenure in 1976, is made of beautifully carved wood. It is a textbook example of the syncretism which occurred between colonial Spanish Catholicism and pre-Columbian religions.

In the early days of colonialism and Catholic missionaries, it was understood that the Mayans considered the mountains to be sacred. So the Catholics put crosses on the mountain peaks so that, by worshipping mountains, they were inadvertently worshipping the cross as well. This started a synthesis between Mayan traditional beliefs and Catholicism.

The altar itself is shaped like a volcano. A priest ascends from one side, and a Mayan farmer ascends from the other. Mayan trees of life grow on the slopes and the peak of the volcano. Effigies of saints dressed in local clothes are displayed in niches, with a carving of God at the volcano's peak.

Craig and Steph
Created on
Monday 2 July 2018
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