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 the church of Santa Elena de la Cruz, Xoxocotlán

Christ: Ecce Homo
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Crucifix 3
Crucifix 4
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of  Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary 1 and 2
St. Mary Magdalene: see Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Helena
St. John: see Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Sebastian: see Our Lady of the Rosary
St. Therese of Lisieux
Unidentified saint

Other santos not photographed

St. Helena

Saint Helena:
The cross is floor length, taller than the figure, carved and gilded. The short tunic is shaped like a breastplate. The hem of the tunic has a crenelated cut, also suggestive of armor. The long skirt of the polychrome robe has a flower pattern; the sleeves are long and tight.

Local Name: Santa Elena de la Cruz.

Basis for Identification: Holding a large cross with the right hand.

Other characteristics: A tunic over the robe.

Site: Church of Santa Elena de la Cruz, Xoxocotlán.

Location: Center niche in the retablo of the main altar.

Media and construction: Polychrome, fabric veil and mantle. Hair: wig.

Size: Less than 5 feet (<150 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: We found none.

External Links:
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Helena
Wikipedia: Helena (Empress)
Christian Iconography: Saint Helena

Next: In a chapel off the south wall of the nave, a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)

Previous santo

Introduction to Xoxocotlán

Santos Home Page

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.