Sunday, July 31, 2016

Santa Monica Church of Sarrat

On our way to a small weaving village, we stopped in Sarrat. Here we visited the Sarrat church, more likely known as Santa Monica, and earlier as San Miguel.  The church was constructed around 1669 in the Earthquake Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Large buttresses give the structure its strength and stability. 
Its 137 meter long nave is the largest in the country. After several devastating fires (the church was rebuilt twice), the church was restored for a June, 1983 wedding of the daughter of Ferdinand Marcos. Just a few months after this massive (and costly) expansion and restoration, a devastating earthquake caused massive destruction of the fa├žade and toppled the bell tower. I wondered how ornate the interior must have been prior to the destruction. 

Grotto outside the main church

Crucifix during Holy Week against the exposed bricks

An open shutter reveals the thick brick walls of the church

A bridge staircase connecting the church to a convent was constructed in 1799. Despite the earthquake and other destructive forces, it was still in rather good condition.

According to our local guide, this was once a torture room.

The church has now been declared by the government as an important cultural heritage property. It is hoped that this will provide funding needed for restoration.

The town of Sarrat is also known as the birthplace for  President Ferdinand Marcos.

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