about ECCLESIOPHILIA

While I am not sure if such a word already exists, the term refers to my fondness to the majestic architecture of some of the Philippine religious structures-- a loanword from the Greek root "ecclesio-" meaning "church" and "-philia" meaning "love." However, the word "ecclesiophobia" was officially introduced by the medical world and means otherwise.
I mostly fancy the façades of various antebellum Roman Catholic churches scattered across the country for their splendid European influences.

20 October 2009

The Chapel of St. Pancratius (Paco Park and Cemetery)

The Paco Park and the little chapel within its walls has become infamous to most of us when we were just little kids-- it was a favorite horror story topic in Magandang Gabi Bayan during the Halloween season, and ever since then I always imagined the place to be macabre.

Not until I personally visited the place for one of our Rizal projects.
The Chapel of St. Pancratius is a small, circular chapel built in Romanesque architecture. Inside is a simple chapel lined with a few pews (pardon the pun) and an image of St. Pancratius(?) above the altar. St. Pancratius, if you haven't heard of him, is also known as St. Pancras, an early Christian martyr beheaded when he was just 14 in the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian. He is the patron saint of children, and often invoked against false witnesses and headaches.
The window on the left side of the church

Inside the chapel. It was closed when we visited, but I managed to slip my camera lens through the grills.

Built in the 1700's to serve as the Spanish elites' cemetery, the Paco Park is where the victims of the 1882 cholera epidemic in Manila were buried. Immediately after his execution in 1896, it became Dr. Jose Rizal's initial burial ground. It is also interesting to note that it was the place where the GomBurZa was interred after their death in 1872, before their remains, along with Rizal's, were transferred to Luneta where they were executed.
The entrance to the park; I love the Romanesque architecture. The Latin phrase etched on the portal's tympanum says "beati mortui qui in domino moriuntur," which translates to "blessed are the dead who died in the Lord." It is a common phrase found in Catholic cemeteries, derived from the Bible.

The alley beside the chapel; the ossuario gate in the middle

The gate to the ossuario and the infants' graves
Contrary to what I previously thought, Paco Park is beautiful and serene, an ideal place where you can take a relaxing break from the stress of the city. Never mind that the niches on the walls that surrounded the park were once used as graves. By the way, the place is currently used as a venue for weddings and concerts.

It sure looks fun in the broad daylight, does it? I wonder how it feels like being trapped inside the park at night. ;)

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