Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches

A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico


By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation

In Santo Domingo Ocotlán:

Calvary Group: Crucifix and St. John
Calvary Group: Our Lady of Sorrows
Calvary Group: St. Mary Magdalene
Calvary Group: God the Father
Palm Sunday Christ
Saint in fire
St. Joseph
St. Michael
St. Sebastian
Two Dominican saints
Unidentified Franciscan saint
Virgin Mary

Other santos not photographed

Santo Domingo Ocotlán

Santo Domingo Ocotlán, or Ocotlán de Morelos, is a city of about 14,000 people in Oaxaca's Central Valley region, about 21 miles (35 km.) from Oaxaca City.

Above: The façade of the church, with five Dominican saints. The one in the highest tier is St. Dominic, shown with the dog that is one of his most familiar attributes. The nun on the right in the lowest tier holding a book in her left hand is either St. Catherine of Siena or, more likely considering the American location, St. Rose of Lima. Both women are commonly shown with a book. The pillar in the foreground with the cross on top is a simpler and more modern version of a feature the Dominicans placed in the forecourts of churches in Oaxaca in the 16th century, a stone cross inscribed with images of the Arma Christi – the instruments used in the torture and crucifixion of Christ.

Entering the narthex of the church by the door shown above, we find a chapel on the left with a saint in fire in a glass case.

Photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.