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 Santa María de la Natividad, Tamazulapan:

Christ in a Coffin
Christ in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix (1)
Crucifix (2)
The Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of Sorrows
Palm Sunday Christ
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. John the Baptist (Child)
St. Mary Magdalene
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Peter the Apostle

St. Teresa of Avila

Unidentified Saint

Other santos not photographed

Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ")

Christ Seated in the Pretorium ("Pensive Christ"):

Local Name: El Dios de la Peña.

Basis for Identification: Seated in a purple cape and loincloth with the head resting on the left hand. Holds a sceptre and flower in the right hand. Bloody wounds, several of them streaming from the crown of thorns. The crown of thorns is in an  overlapping-circles pattern and attached to a tripartite halo. A gold-colored tasseled lasso, tied at the collarbone, hangs from the neck to the thighs.

Site: Church of Santa María de la Natividad, Tamazulapan.

Location: In a glass case along the north wall of the narthex (see note).

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Etla, Guelavia, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teposcolula, Tilantongo, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
The episode of the scourging and mockery of Jesus in the pretorium is in Mark 15:16-20.
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of the Man of Sorrows.

Next: Moving into the church proper, we find on our left, in the first bay of the north wall, a chapel with a number of important santos. The first of them is a statue of St. Peter the Apostle.

Introduction to Santa María de la Natividad

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions always assume that the main altar is at the east end of the church, the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.