My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108
In our travels sometimes unfortunate circumstances leads us to discovery. Still in the province of Laguna in the Philippines we were headed out to town of Majayjay. The road going to the town was very difficult, navigating in an upward and downward zigzag road. We were near the town when suddenly the steering wheel became very hard to turn. We need to find a parking area so we could check what was wrong. A beautiful ancient church appeared before our eyes and it had a spacious parking area just in front of it. Join me today as I take you on another tour in this beautiful church.
Located in Majayjay, Laguna it is also known as Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church and was founded in the year 1571. The first church was constructed in 1575 with nipa or native palms and bamboo poles. The church burned down twice and finally in 1599 the government authorized the church to be built in stone and completed in 1649. A part of the church burned down and was rebuilt in 1711 which was completed in 1730. It has been said that the work included forced labor of around 14,000 workers. At the time of completed it was known as the largest church in the Philippines during this time.
Our country is frequented by typhoons and the church was not spared. Reconstruction was done in the years 1839, 1842 and 1848. During the Spanish and American war in the country, the church was used as an American army command post. Damages was done due to the conflict and repairs were done in 1912.
This site is declared by the National Museum of the Philippines as a National Treasure in 2001.
The style of the church is Romanesque which is distinguished by the arches from the outside.
Statues of various Saints decorate the front of the church, it is very similar to St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church that we visited 7 months ago.
The character of a church is greatly empathized by its doors. The entry way that has welcomed people throughout the centuries. It tells a lot about its age just by looking at the wood. Some has been replaced with new material, some are intricately decorated, but this one looks very medieval from ancient times.
The rivets on the door are very unique and you wouldn't probably see the design anywhere else. I just could not tell if it is made from bronze.
Before entering the church, we first check our vehicle to see what went wrong. What caused the steering wheel? We checked the bottom and noticed fluid was pouring out. It was the power steering fluid that was leaking as the hose blew up. My father said that he would look for a mechanic and take care of it. He knows how much I get excited over churches and told me to just enjoy myself for the meantime while waiting for it to get repaired.
I went inside the church and it was perfect timing as there was no on going mass and not much people around as well.
The church was lit by the lights that shines thru the windows from the second floor and the ceiling from of the church.
Also I noticed that the church does not have any painted glass windows which I always look for. I was a little bit disappointed with the lack of windows that I was looking forward of taking photos of. But we must realize that every church has its own unique charm and beauty.
If you would notice morning light gives a different glow inside churches. Afternoon light give a more soothing and calm effect.
The ceiling could use some repairs as there are some water marks and holes in parts of it.
The candle area is located on the right side and I see that a lot of candles are already lit up. A donation box is in front for the candles being used.
The 14 stations of the cross in in the form of paintings which decorates the walls of the church. They come in different forms wood carving, stone carving, painted glass and the stations are always visible in each church.
The confession room is also located on the right side of the church just next after the candle area.
I realized that they had sculptures in replacement to the painted glass windows. Each has been carefully set on ledges on the walls. The rough texture of the walls exposing the red bricks is a perfect way to highlight its age and beauty.
The retalbo where the statues and Saints are housed is painted with gold pillars and brightly lit up by the ceiling.
The windows has a cross pattern that seems to glow a white light. A unique and different take from the traditional painted glass that we always see.
The ceiling just above the retalbo is a painting of Christ ascending to the heavens.
The central dome from the third floor is where the light comes from. I think it was designed to spread the light evenly below.
I managed to explore some areas of the place which led me to this small chapel room. I didn't know if it was off limits, but I still went thru to see where it leads.
It brought me to a small courtyard and seems there are rooms on the side where some of the church staff maybe staying. I realized I should just head back as we would not want to be invading their privacy.
On my way back, I saw this gorgeous old holy water font. Normally, they are located near the entrance and are angels holding cups or shells. This is carved from stone and may even date back during the 1600 when the stone church was constructed.
I went outside to check the sides of the church and angels were guarding the place.
The archangel St. Michael with the popular depiction of triumph over the dragon.
The archangel St. Gabriel who is God's messenger holding a message for the virgin Mary.
The archangel St. Raphael who is associated with healing. His popular depiction is holding a staff and a fish. The gall bladder of a fish was used to heal the blind according to the story.
The sides of the church was my favorite part as it has aged very well. Here you would see the large buttress which provides support against earthquakes. No wonder there are no records or earthquakes causing damage to the church thru the centuries.
Looking up the bell tower takes you to another time as if being transported back during the Spanish era.
The trees also has moss growing on them which shows their age. Both of them has survived typhoons and conflict.
A perfect combination like a mysterious scene from a movie.
There is a side entrance with a door that is the same with the one in front. The place looks very secured and maybe it is one reason why the Americans used the structure as a command post.
With only two entrance and thick walls the place is well fortified and easy to defend.
The two trees has been deformed throughout the years branching out in different angles. It just shows how life can go on in spite of trials.
In my opinion, the exterior of the church its strongest asset. The red bricks, moss and the black patina on the stone wall blends perfectly like an orchestra. It makes the church truly remarkable with all these combinations, an architectural artwork painted by time.
All things comes to an end and my time here in this place is up. The repairs on our vehicle has been completed replacing the rubber hose for the power steering and I was told that we were ready to hit the road. It was a beautiful morning walk I always wish I could stay a little bit longer, but like life we must move on and continue on our journey.
Thank you again for joining me in this tour of Majayjay church. If ever you visit this town be sure to stop over at this church as it is well worth it. Please let me know what you think and tell me what is your favorite part of this place. Hope to see you again on our next journey until then, have a relaxing #beautifulsunday everyone.
In our journey here are the links to the other churches that we have visited. Feel free to visit the these beautiful architecture from our country.
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