The church in the photo above is the current-day Cathedral located in Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico. A cathedral is the church in which a Bishop sits (i.e. there is somebody pretty far up the hierarchy of the Catholic church who headquarters there). For this reason, most cathedrals are pretty impressive, as is the church above.
However, on my first blog posting about churches, I showed you the Catedral Inconclusa, which is also located in Zamora. So how is it possible for some relatively small city (about 142,000 inhabitants) to have TWO cathedrals? Well, it isn’t. The Cateral Inconclusa, from the time it was started (in 1898) was always intended to be the new cathedral. But because it is still not entirely finished, the actual Bishop’s seat remains in this lovely church on the main plaza of Zamora.
Most churches around here aren’t nearly so grand as either of these two in Zamora. While the main church in any pueblo is usually the grandest of the local structures, sometimes it takes very little to achieve such status. Here, for example, is the church in Potrerillos, Jalisco, on the other side of the mountains from Jocotepec:
To say that the architecture of this little church is different from the rest of the structures in town is a gross understatement. The rest of the pueblo looks something like this:
The church yard was locked up tight on the day that we were there, but I would love to speak to the priest and find out if he knows why his church looks disconcertingly like a small A-frame ski lodge found somewhere in the Swiss countryside.
The next town east of Potrerillos, Las Trojes (population about 600 folks) has the kind of church that one would expect in a village of that size:
Nothing fancy, but utilitarian. However, this little church apparently got some money at some point a couple of years ago, because not only does it have a new bell in the tower:
it has a spare bell inside the church and a new bucket and rope for the well in the courtyard:
The well is apparently necessary to water the rose garden on the church grounds, which contains such beauties as these:
One of my favorite towns around Lake Chapala is Sahuayo, Michocan. If you’ve read any of my postings on the Tlahualilies, you’ll know how much I like Sahuayo. Sahuayo, with a population of about 60,000, has lots of churches. My favorite of the ones which I have seen so far is the Santuario de la Virgen de Guadalupe.
Located high on a hill in Sahuayo, this is an impressive place. To give you some idea of the size of the church, here’s my friend Jonnie standing in front of one of the main entrances:
The santuario is another of those churches here in Mexico where you can see old combined with new. Above you can see what the sides exposed to the street look like, but here’s what the back parts look like:
I think you’ve now seen most of the photos that I have of church exteriors from around Lake Chapala. Soon we’ll take a look at the interior of these churches. And I’ll try to match those interiors up with exteriors. I think you’ll be surprised a couple of times!