Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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"The first missionary assigned to the Jemez region was Fray Alonzo de Lugo, who accompanied Onate in the original Spanish settlement of New Mexico in 1598. It is not known whether Fr. Lugo or his immediate successor began the actual missionary work at Giusewa, but two attempts at Christianizing the Jemez Indians (1601 and 1621-23) met with failure, probably through lack of adequate personnel.

"The church of San Jose de los Jemez was founded by Fray Geronimo Zarate Salmeron in the winter of 1621-22. The church as seen today is constructed of sandstone with the exception of a few sections of adobe brick in and beneath the walls. The adobe suggests that an earlier church may have been constructed, or at least started, possibly by Fr. Lugo.

"The ruins of the once-imposing complex are testimony to the religious zeal of the 17th Century Franciscans who were responsible for the construction of most of the mission churches in the American Southwest. While living at San Jose de lost Jemez, Fr. Salmeron founded a second mission, San Diego de la Congregacion, at the site of the modern Jemez Pueblo."

"'This land and its inhabitants, then, having been ever since God created them, subject to the Demon, and his slaves until this time: and all filled with estufas of idolatry; where they not only never adored the most holy name of Jesus but did not even know it...is filled with churches and pedestles of Crosses...' - Fray Alonzo de Benavides, 1630

"The "estufas of idolatry" mentioned above were, in fact, kivas or sacred strutures of the Indians. These kivas were often destroyed by the friars in their quest for souls. The sunken area in front of you is the remains of a kiva."
"During the first decads of Spanish colonization in Mexico and South America professional architects and engineers brought building knowledge to the new provinces. Such was not the case in 17th century New Mexico. No secular building experts entered this area among the colonists. The friars were left to their own devices. They relied upon their memories of the fine churches in Europe and Mexico and translated those memories to the soil of New Mexico.

"The mission church took on a new form influenced by the local materials available, laborers who were untrained in massive construction, and the friar's personal knowledge of architectural principals.

"The churches not only served as houses of worship, but were built with defensive measures in mind.

"The church door is 11 feet wide. This seems to have been a unit of measure-ment [sic], for the nave is about 33 feet in width and 110 feet in length."
I sat up on a broken wall at the front of the church, reading my book and watching the shadows slowly creep up the left-hand wall. No one else came into the church during my stay, and I had the ruins all to myself. It was extremely quiet inside, but not eerily so. Only the wind, birds, and occasional sounds of civilization disturbed the silence.

Copyright 2017 - David Barrett -