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 Teposcolula:

Angel 1
Angel 2
Bishops group (two bishops, one monk)

Christ: Ecce Homo

Christ fallen with the cross
Christ in a coffin
Christ in a crown (with crowned infant Christ)
Christ seated in the pretorium ("Pensive Christ")
Crucifix 1 (Calvary group)
Crucifix 2
Crucifix 3
Crucifix case (with Mary, the Magdalene, one other saint)
Crucifixes (two, with two unidentified saints)

Crucifixion Group

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad) 1
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad) 2
Our Lady of the Rosary (with St. Dominic and a crucifix)
Palm Sunday Christ
Resurrected Christ
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. Mary Magdalene
St. Michael 1
St. Michael 2
St. Michael 3
St. Paul
St. Peter
St. Veronica
Saints Peter and Paul (?)
Unidentified Dominican
Unidentified female saint 1
Unidentified female (?) saint 2
Unidentified Franciscan
Unidentified monk 1
Unidentified monk 2
Unidentified monk 3
Unidentified monk 4
Unidentified priest 1
Unidentified priest 2
Unidentified saint 1
Unidentified saint 2
Unidentified saint 3
Unidentified saint 4
Unidentified saints (two in a cell)
Unidentified saints (three in a cell)
Virgin Mary

Other santos not photographed

Three Unidentified Saints

Three Unidentified Saints:
On the left is a monk with a book in the left hand, in the middle a bishop with a church on a book in the left hand, and on the right a bishop with a book in the left hand. Each figure bears a phrase from the Apostles' Creed. The one on the left has the words ESTA SENTADO A LA DIESTRA DE DIOS PADRE TODO PODEROSO ("is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty" – possibly preceded by the phrase subió a los cielos.)

On the middle santo are the words
QUE F CONCEVIDO POR OVRA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO, Y NACIÓ DE SANTA MARIA VIRGEN ("Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Holy Virgin Mary").

For the santo on the right, we can make out only the word UNICO, which would be from the second phrase of the Creed,
Creo en Jesucristo su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor ("I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord.")

Basis for Identification: The monastic status of the santo on the left is signaled by his cowl and tonsure. The bishop in the middle wears a mitre, a sign of his office. The mitre on the bishop on the right could possibly be identified as a papal tiara.

Site: Former convento of San Pedro y San Pablo, Teposcolula.

Location: In a room off the southwest corner of the garden of the former convento (see note).

Comparable santos in the former convento are emblazoned with phrases that form almost the entire Apostles' Creed:
Creo en dios todo poderoso: Kneeling apostle
Criador [sic] del Cielo y de la Tierra: Cell with two santos
[Creo in Jesucristo su] único [hijo Nuestro Señor]: (See comment on the santo on the right, above.)
Que fué concevido por ovra del Espíritu Santo y nació de Santa Maria Virgen:
(The middle santo shown above)
Padeció devajo del pod[er de] Pon[cio] Pilato, fué crucificado, muerto, y sepultado: Cell with two santos
Al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos: (Not found, could be on the left figure in the Crucifixion Group)
Subió a los cielos y:
(Not seen, may be on the collar preceding the next phrase)
Está sentado a la diestra de Dios padre todo poderoso: (The santo on the left shown above)
Desde allí [ha de] venir [a] iuzgar [a] los vivos y a [l]os muertos: Crucifixion group
Creo en el Espíritu Santo la Santa Iglesia Catolica: Monk with book and church
La comunión de los santos: Unidentified priest
El perdón de los pecados: Monk with one arm
La Resurrección de la carne y la vida perduravle:
Unidentified apostle

External Links:
Wikipedia: The Apostles' Creed in Spanish and in English

Next: In the same room, a cell with a pair of santos also bearing inscriptions from the Apostles' Creed

Previous santo

Introduction to Teposcolula

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.) In the case of the former convento at Teposcolula, directional references align with those of the Teposcolula church. 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.