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La Compania de Jesus Church

Peru Viajes

Edition 2015
 
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Home >> Peru Cities >> Cusco Travel Information >> La Compania de Jesus Church

LA COMPANIA DE JESUS CHURCH

 

One of the most modern and largest palaces surrounding the great Qosqo's Main Square was that belonging to Wayna Qhapaq. That palace, named Amarukancha was awarded to Hernando Pizarro after the Spanish invasion. Later the property was bought from the conqueror's heirs by Diego de Silva and his wife Teresa Orgoñez who donated it to the Jesuits after their arrival to this city in 1571; so that they could build the church for their Order. The founder of the "Society of Jesus" or the Order of Jesuits was Saint Ignatius of Loyola who was born in Spain in 1491. Together with some other regular clerics he supported strongly the counter reform tending to strengthen the church and fight against the different heretical and schismatic thesis. Jesuits arrived to Peru in 1568 and subsequently to this city; just after arriving they began building their first chapel for "Indians" named "Our Lady of Loreto". The main church was built later but was destroyed by the earthquake in 1650. It is not known who designed the present-day church that was constructed in 17 years, and inaugurated in 1668. Jesuits became very bad materialists and made very large fortunes with somewhat malevolent and dark methods. That is why in 1767 the Spanish King Charles III ordered their expulsion from his domains in America as well as confiscation of all their properties, art works and jewels; all the most valuable items were taken to Spain.

The church is mainly made with andesites and has the most beautiful and well made facade among the churches in the city. Over its entrance gate is an Immaculate Conception Virgin carved in berenguela (marble looking material). It has two external side-chapels leaning to the main church; toward the north is the Virgin of Loreto chapel (since 1894 it is known as the Virgin of Lourdes chapel) which today still serves for cult and where almost always the Lord of Burgos (he was brought from the demolished Saint Augustine Church) is worshipped. Toward the south is the chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola that was awarded to the Qosqo's Society of Artisans. Inside, the church has just one broad nave; at its end is the High Altar that was carved in cedar wood with a hybrid style by Diego Martinez de Oviedo, and was completely gilded with gold flakes by Cristobal Clemente by 1670. That Altar is 21 meters (69 ft.) high and 12 mts. (39 ft.) wide; in its central part is the effigy of the Immaculate Conception Virgin, and higher a canvas representing the Lord's Transfiguration; over it there is a statue of some unidentified personage of the same Order.

The main nave has also a transept communicating with the two lateral chapels, six altarpieces with divers styles and a completely gilded pulpit. On both sides of the High Altar there are 4 other cedar wood altars, three of them gilded and very rich. After the restoration works subsequent to the 1986 earthquake, a very interesting underground closed chapel was discovered under the High Altar. On the upper side, around the windows of alabaster (Huamanga Stone) there are canvases representing the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, painted by Marcos Zapata and his helper Cipriano Gutierrez. Inside the building, on both sides of the main gate there are two canvases representing Saint Ignatius of Loyola curing sick people in one of them and victorious over the heretics and schismatic people that caused the religious reform in the other. Around here are also two canvases that have a lot of historic value; that of the northern wall represents the wedding of Spanish Captain Martin Garcia Oñas de Loyola, who was nephew of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and captor of the last Inka Tupaq Amaru I; and Clara Beatriz Qoya, daughter of Sayri Tupaq and therefore Tupaq Amaru's niece. Clara Beatriz was the absolute heiress of the Oropesa Marquisate; from this marriage was born Lorenza Ñusta de Loyola who was married to Juan Borgia, son of Saint Francis Borgia; whose wedding is also represented on the other side of the same canvas. In one side of the painting are Tupaq Amaru and Sayri Tupaq Inkas, and the princess Clara Beatriz with native clothing; behind them is a native man holding the "achiwa" a parasol made of multicolored bird feathers and used just by the Inka. The canvas on the southern wall represents the weddings of Beltran Garcia de Loyola with Teresa Idiaquez and that of Juan Idiaquez with Magdalena de Loyola.

Toward the south of the Saint Ignatius of Loyola chapel is the building of the Qosqo's San Antonio Abad National University. That building served originally for the Saint Ignatius of Loyola University that was part of the Transfiguration College, created by bull given by Pope Gregory XV in 1621. After that Jesuits were expelled in 1767 the building served as military barracks where Jose Gabriel Thupa Amaru was imprisoned; subsequently it was awarded to the San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony the Abbot) University. The Seminar College of San Antonio Abad was founded in 1598 in its building of Nazarenas square (present day Hotel Monasterio); a century later, in 1692 a papal document given by Pope Innocent XII created the San Antonio Abad University depending from the Seminar College.

 

 


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