Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trinidad Trifacial

I have blogged about the renegade icon of the Trinidad Trifacial before, but it's always nice to find an image of it that looks so... pagan. The Church of course has never really liked this depiction of the Blessed Trinity in that it seems to blur the distinctness of the Three Divine Persons. In Peru, the Trifacial, it seems, is quite popular (there is also another depiction, this time of the Holy Trinity as three Jesuses, although the Peruvian example I saw had all Personae dressed in papal robes); the image above, however, comes from the parish of Santos Justo y Pastor in Cuenca de Campos in the Spanish province of Valladolid. It is the work of an anonymous artist and probably dates back to the end of the 16th century.

I have heard Protestants say that the God of Catholicism is a very 'sensual' God; Spanish Catholicism and its many incarnations throughout its colonies, in particular, have a way of showing this sensuality that seems almost bizarre to our modern sensibilities. Should we be uneasy? To be honest, I really don't know. My conception of God has largely been molded more on abstract principles-- proper, decent, hyper-Roman, Roman Catholicism-- to be comfortable with such an image. But at the same time, it makes 'sense'-- the kind that only Catholics schooled in the logic and riotous horizons of imagination of Catholicism since birth can appreciate-- to think of God as a three faced man. In truth, it doesn't really have to make sense, I think. It just has to be feasible. More or less.

And besides, it is certainly better than thinking of God as a robed figure with a glowing light bulb for a head. I'm looking at you, Jack Chick.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Apu Iro

In honor of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, here is a post on Apu Iro-- 'Chief Iro', to use an approximate English equivalent, patron saint of Apalit in the province of Pampanga. The image of St. Peter is dressed in full papal regalia, complete with papal tiara and the fabled triple-bar cross. His face and hands are ivory, and his stockinged feet are encased in solid silver. These rest upon a finely worked cushion, while the saint is seated on a portable throne of solid silver. The saint's right hand, too, rests on a cushion, heavy with the burden of keeping the keys to the kingdom of heaven. A jeweled emerald ring shines brightly on the ivory finger of the saint. Like the Pope, the image is carried on the shoulders of men-- in this case, a myriad devotees who compete for the saint's attention. An ombrellino is held by a senior devotee over the saint's head, as a gesture of reverence as well as in keeping with established papal protocol. He is carried amidst mad festivity from his chapel in Sulipan to the town church of Apalit.

The next day, the saint is returned, again with magnificent pomp and ceremony, to his chapel, there to repose until next year's festivities. He is carried to a sumptuously appointed barge-- which the locals call a pagoda-- by the yellow-clad Knights of St. Peter, traversing the river to cries of 'Viva' and the mad flinging of rice and foodstuffs. In heathen days these were said to have been offerings to the crocodiles which resided in the river, for peace and safety. Devotees, meanwhile, engage in a riotous splashing of water, whilst more Knights swim in the river, pulling the ropes attached to the barge in an act of penance and 'sucking up' to the Divine. Finally, their sacred deed done, the men return to their homes, to feast and glut themselves, in honor of Apung Iro.

Monday, June 28, 2010

El Gran Poder Attacked

One of the most popular images of Our Lord in Spain, Jesus del Gran Poder, aptly called the Lord of Seville, was physically attacked -- kicked off its pedestal, stomped, and having its right arm almost ripped off in the process by its deranged attacker. Supposedly, the man shouted 'I am the Son of God' when he assaulted the image of the Lord. My Spanish is not the best in the world, but you may read the pertinent articles here:

El Gran Poder atacado con violencia
El agresor del Gran Poder, al psiquiatrico por creerse <>

The image of El Gran Poder is four hundred years old, having been sculpted in the 17th century by the sculptor Juan de Mesa. It is perhaps the most venerated image of Our Lord in Seville and figures prominently in the processions of Good Friday. This execrable act of sacrilege has outraged Sevillanos, and in response, the Hermandad del Gram Poder organized, on Friday, an "extraordinario besamanos"-- an act of devotion common in Hispanic countries, wherein devotees line up to kiss the precious hands of Our Lord. Youtube has some videos of this event, where the line of devotees stretched well outside the church's grounds. Everyone, young and old, participated in the penitential act.


Apologies for the long lull in posting. The new school year has just started here and I am busy with school; in addition, personal baggage has largely taken away much of my free time of late. For now, I would like to request the few people still reading this blog (are there any? lol) to pray for some intentions of mine. First, for Mark, a friend of mine, that he stop wasting his life and that he may abandon his lifestyle of constant fornication and sodomy. I also request prayers for my grandmother, who had an accident this morning. She is turning 85 tomorrow, and though she is still in otherwise admirable health, she had to be confined at the hospital for a period of 24 hours. And lastly, for me, that I may be able to keep my focus and quit procrastinating. That is all.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

La Sanch, Perpignan

Not in Spain, or Portugal, or Italy, but in the south of France. If I'm correct, Perpignan is quite close to Barcelona. The procession of black, hooded penitents is led by a nazareno (for lack of a better term) in a red capirote, to the solemn ringing of a bell, whilst the rest of the company beat drums. Religious images are borne on the shoulders of devotees and borne around town for the veneration of the faithful.
Here is a link to a photoset on Flickr: Procession de la Sanch