San Agustin historic church and convent of San Juan Evangelista launched in the Santa Barbara area in 1569.
This hill on which dawned their humble beginnings - and where the nuns now persist separated from their priests - lent itself full blast to the worship of the sun by the Incas.
Worship of the Creator replaced worship of the created on this very spot.
This temple stretches tall and high on the corner of Benalcazar y Galapagos.
In 1573, Augustinians acquired two homes on this hill. Another purchase materialized in 1576 in the same area. Here their realm emerged.
Not satisfied, the priests then transferred to yet another purchased property they liked better on Chile 924 y Guayaquil, leaving the nuns behind.
Unlike San Agustin Church, the Capilla (chapel) de San Juan Evangelista on the hill that exists for the sole use of the resident Augustinian nuns, shares the Sunday 7:00 AM Mass with the public, then closes its doors to shut the world out.
The intricate gold-leaf-covered altar integrates with the rest of the art throughout the historic center linking it closely to Iglesia San Agustin, its sister church.
The same contractor initiated the construction of this building and that of Santo Domingo. When he had to set off to Lima, Peru, a different contractor assumed the role.
Many miracles flow like waves of the ocean in answer to prayers directed to God through the statue of Christ dead as at the foot of the cross. All year, He rests on the top floor of the museum. Only on Good Friday, He lays at the altar of the church for veneration, returned to repose in the museum after 3:00 PM, the hour recorded in scripture as His time of death.
The public can no longer venerate the other miraculous statue - that of Christ Crucified. Its whereabouts remain a mystery.
On the feast day of the Passion of the Christ, a very special Mass offering ascends from here.
More unexcelled art, especially that of the side altars, graces this temple as part of the worship service.
In the museum, the room where the signing of Quito's Independence happened, time freezes... - unchanged to the day - in reflection of a country set free from its mother country.
The two statues of Christ's childhood and crucifixion demonstrate not only the art, but the faith of an unconfused era as do so many statues throughout the colonial churches.
I can only exclaim, "...so much to take in!"
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