Who built the Cathedral of Las Lajas, Colombia

wooptywoop

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According to Wiki: Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Colombian Departmentof Nariño, in the municipality of Ipiales, and built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River.
  • The present church was built in Gothic Revival style between 1916 and 1949. The name Laja (slab) comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to shale and slate.
  • The inspiration for the church's creation was a purported miraculous event in 1754, when Amerindian Maria Meneses de Quiñones and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a very strong storm. The two sought refuge between the gigantic Lajas, when, to Mueces's surprise, her daughter Rosa exclaimed "the Mestiza is calling me" and pointed to the lightning-illuminated silhouette over the laja. This apparition of the Virgin Mary instigated popular pilgrimage to the site and occasional reports of cases of miraculous healing. The image on the stone is still visible today.
  • The existence of a shrine in this location was recorded in the accounts of friar Juan de Santa Gertrudis's journey through the southern region of the New Kingdom of Granada between 1756 and 1764. The first shrine was built here in the middle of 18th century from straw and wood. It was replaced with a new, larger shrine in 1802, which in turn was extended and connected to the opposite side of canyon with a bridge.
  • The current church was built between January 1, 1916, and August 20, 1949, with donations from local churchgoers. It rises 100 metres (330 ft) high from the bottom of the canyon and is connected to the opposite side of the canyon by a 50 metres (160 ft) tall bridge.
 

anotherlayer

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Interesting. I can't find a single photo of its construction. May be I'm searching it all wrong.
Seriously. Not one. 1916-1949??? And you know I'm a stickler for yelling at people to visit their local library for pictures but that does not count for these shenanigans.

Not one. I just went deep as you were posting.
 

KorbenDallas

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I can't even find a black and white photo from those times. Ideally would be nice to see a photo of this place without a church.

Found this:
  • This daring achievement of structural engineering was built by Ecuadorian engineer Gualberto Pérez and Lucindo Espinosa from Pastaza. Works were paid by the contributions of many faithful from Colombia and Ecuador.
Gualberto Pérez and Lucindo Espinosa: do they have like a bio, and face photographs?

Edit: found this
Looking at the pictures we have today, it is obvious that mud is abundant in the immediate vicinity of this cathedral.

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Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church located in the southern Colombian Departmentof Nariño, in the municipality of Ipiales, and built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River.
I don't know if this could be related, but: John Stevens travels - 1711

 

KorbenDallas

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I think we are dealing with restoration here. Just a hunch, but I think we will be able to find this church being mentioned in some 1600-1700s texts. Pretty sure the name is gonna be different, but the location appears to be prominent enough.
 

jd755

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Found the actual name of the church not the marketing material name the mainstream pushes. It's Our Lady of Las Lajas

Tag the word construction on the end and get it translated by google translate into spanish it's Construcción de Nuestra Señora de Las Lajas.

Drop that into duckduckgo and here is the page of results: Search Results

17556
17557
 

KorbenDallas

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Hmm, what do you make of it? Is this a brand new construction, or a fix up rebuild the missing pieces type of renovation?
 

jd755

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Seems there is cave and a legend behind it and has been rebuilt five times according to lady from Ecuador who blogged about her visit in Spanish or some latin American version of Spanish.
Google translate from here La maravillosa historia de Nuestra Señora de las Lajas - El Perú necesita de Fátima

Colossal sanctuary on the air
The news of the prodigy in the gully of the Guáitara spread through all the villages around with unusual rapidity. To the primitive hermitage of wood and straw, he soon succeeded in 1794 a chapel of lime and brick. In the middle of the 19th century, a first sanctuary was built, which in time would also be small to shelter the large number of worshipers, especially during the holidays.

Thus, it is in times of the great Ezequiel Moreno Díaz, the holy bishop of Pasto, that the bold idea arises of building a magnificent temple over the abyss. The sky is of the audacious! And in 1899 the distinguished Bautista Augustinian pastor seconded the idea through a Pastoral Letter. But due to the political instability of the moment, only on January 1, 1916, the first stone of the current sanctuary is placed. The work received 33 years of successive chaplains, until its culmination in 1949. Its inauguration was in charge of Bishop Diego María Gómez Tamayo, archbishop of Popayán, as pastor of Pbro. Justino C. Mejía y Mejía, persistent historian of Las Lajas.

By a grace of Pope Pius XII, Our Lady of the Lajas was canonically crowned on September 15, 1952, in an impressive celebration attended by almost all the bishops of Colombia. In 1954, the Holy See granted the sanctuary the title of Minor Basilica.
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The story behind it from the same source.

The history of the Virgin of Las Lajas dates back to the middle of the 18th century. Its protagonists are the Indian María Mueses de Quiñones, descendant of old caciques and her little daughter Rosa, deaf-mute from birth. The place of events is located in the equatorial Andes at 2,600 meters of altitude, half a slope of a deep ravine on the river Guáitara, in the municipality of Ipiales, at the southern tip of present-day Colombia, ten kilometers from the border with Ecuador.

One day in 1754 the Indian María left the then village of San Pedro Mártir de Ipiales where she worked, with the intention of visiting her relatives in the farmhouse of Potosí 1 a few leagues away. When descending by the western slope of the hill Pastarán to cross the bridge on the Guáitara river, a terrible tempest untied. In order to protect himself, he ran towards the great natural cave that was halfway up, waiting for the rain to pass.

Fearful of the torrential downpour, the desolation of those places and the idea that the devil subjugated the bridge "to prey on the unfortunate person who traveled alone, was anguished, wept and invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary", 2 whose devotion he had learned from the Dominican fathers, who for two centuries evangelized these regions.

Suddenly, he feels someone touch him on the back. Scared to death, the intuitive woman thinks only of starting a fast race, crossing the bridge swiftly and arriving safely at Potosí.
After the first scare, a few days later, María begins the return to Ipiales. This time he does it in the company of his five-year-old daughter named Rosa, deaf-mute from birth, whom she carries on her back according to Andean custom. When you reach the cave of Pastarán, you stop to rest. The girl then slips gently from the mother and begins to climb the slabs. Suddenly Maria listens to her daughter speak to her: "Mamita, see this mestiza who has thrown herself down with a little mestizo in her arms and two mestizos at the sides" .3 Disconcerted, she can not reach but to take the girl and flee the place .

When he arrives at the house of the Torresano family, his old employers, he tells what happened, but there is no one who believes him. Given the reasons that led to Ipiales, María returns to her town. But as you approach the famous cave, fears begin to assault you again. When he reached his entrance, he halted hesitantly. And with more strength the girl spoke again: "Mamita, the mestiza is calling me!" New impression, new career, new mystery ... what really is in that cave?

As soon as he arrived in Potosí, he told what happened. The news spread by word of mouth, the neighbors congregated in the house of Maria, all wanted to know directly the details of the fact. Meanwhile, in the middle of the uproar, Rosita disappeared. As soon as they realized the absence of the girl, she looked for it in vain everywhere. Where would Rosa go? There was no other explanation-innocent souls retain an irresistible attraction to supernatural things-the girl had certainly come to the call of "the mestiza." In Las Lajas, as in Lourdes, a century later, in the grotto of Pastarán as in that of Massabielle, Rosita as Santa Bernadette, felt that irresistible attraction. Maria went there also in search of her daughter and there she found herself with a marvelous spectacle: "Upon arriving at the cave she saw without surprise her daughter kneeling at the feet of the Mestiza, playing affectionately and familiarly with the blond Mesticito" that he had detached himself from the arms of his Mother.
 
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Tyrion

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Some images of the shrine. Odd where the ceiling and the back wall meet.

View attachment 17544View attachment 17545

Where is the population to support the construction?

View attachment 17546
This is the most convincing stuff. No great population around! The commute had to be a pain for all those workers, and the transportation of materials, no great roads or train system.

Also the cathedral looks blended with the hill behind, I think an architect would design something like this as a separate structure.

The education in South America has been in the hands of the Jesuits since the independence of those former spanish territories. The probably made up the history of this place as the saw fit.

It is curious that Pasto suffered a terrible genocide of it’s people in christmas of 1822, Bolivar razed the city and it’s people, a terrible genocide similar to La Vendée, it was called the Navidad Negra de Pasto. Perhaps he was trying to erase the history?
 

jd755

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This site explains the connection between the cave and the church. Our Lady of Las Lajas, Guaitara Canyon, Colombia, South America, 1754
Specifically the cave with the image is behind the church.

Perhaps the mystery is in the picture itself.

"But who put this magnificent image there? Tests done when the church was built show how stupendous this image actually is. Geologists from Germany bored core samples from several spots in the image. There is no paint, no dye, nor any other pigment on the surface of the rock. No brush strokes are visible despite meticulous inspections. The colors are the colors of the rock itself. Even more incredible, the rock is perfectly colored to a depth of several feet! The picture penetrates the rock miraculously. It is not painted, but mysteriously imprinted in the rock. The colors are not applied in a surface layer of paint or other material, but penetrate deep into the rock. Certainly it has no natural geological cause. There is no known place in the world where nature reproduced human faces with such perfection. These circumstances seem to indicate that it is an akeropita image – akeropita in Greek means not made by human hands, i.e., made by the Angels."
 
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Tyrion

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“The church is of Gothic revival architecture and was built from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1949, with donations from local churchgoers, replacing an old nineteenth-century chapel.”

This is something that doesn’t seem right, idk, the place around is almost deserted, how many local churchgoers there could have been?
 

ScottFreeman

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jd755

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Found this site full of pictures of the place. Santuario de Las Lajas Colombia.

It is clearly designed to cater for large, very large numbers of people wanting to set eyes on the miracle picture. The church as an institution is not know to pass up opportunities to cash in on such things and not averse to taxing by donation every churchgoer and visitor to pay for it.
There are at least two ways in and out, three if the one in the valley in counted and they get so many visitors that on some days, probably religious festival days the system is one way only as evidenced by the photo's on that page. Raking it in, is phrase from my past.

I know this is modern day but the area is not as depopulated as it appears to be.
17620
 
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Tyrion

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Found this site full of pictures of the place. Santuario de Las Lajas Colombia.

It is clearly designed to cater for large, very large numbers of people wanting to set eyes on the miracle picture. The church as an institution is not know to pass up opportunities to cash in on such things and not averse to taxing by donation every churchgoer and visitor to pay for it.
There are at least two ways in and out, three if the one in the valley in counted and they get so many visitors that on some days, probably religious festival days the system is one way only as evidenced by the photo's on that page. Raking it in, is phrase from my past.

I know this is modern day but the area is not as depopulated as it appears to be.
View attachment 17620
It does looks like a small sized town nowadays. Wonder if there are any pictures of the town during the first half of the XX century. Also I haven’t found pictures of the demolition of the previous chapel.
 

jd755

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Cannot escape the wikiliar octopus unless I google translate again (busy with eddie the photographer stuff to be honest) so here is the relevant bits from wikiliar

Ipiales is a city in Nariño Department, Colombia, near the border with Ecuador. It is located at around 0°49′49″N 77°38′40″W, with an elevation of about 2950 m. Ipiales is located on the high plateau called "Tuquerres e Ipiales," the city lies at a distance of 82 km from Pasto, the department's capital."

The economy of this city is based on trade between Ecuador and Colombia.
Natural resources are abundant throughout its territory.
Ipiales is land and air border port, with intense trade with the peoples of the former province of Obando and as crossroad for travelers from the Andean Pact countries, especially Ecuador, is the second most important in Colombia.


So it seems to me to have been an important, prosperous and busy town since Ecuador & Colombia came into being.
 

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