Thursday, March 26, 2009

the Way of the Cross: remnants of the burnt Oslob Church

a Lenten Special

Exactly a year ago, on March 26, 2008, tragedy struck. The beautiful 19th century stone Church of the Immaculate Conception of Oslob in South Cebu caught fire and burnt to the ground.

3 Jesus falls for the first time
III. Jesus falls for the first time

6 Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
VI. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

The story reads like any fire disaster in a developing country like the Philippines- short circuit due to poor maintenance, highly flammable materials and non-working firetrucks just across the church. Needless to say, a heritage fortress church, once the pride of the south, went down in flames. Basically left standing were the columns and walls of rugged coral stone and cracked plaster. Thankfully – and most say miraculously – the 150+ year old relief carving of the Inmaculada Concepcion survived the fire.

8 Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
VIII. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

In our visit to Oslob last month, it is clear that despite exhortations to rebuild the church within a year, the structure remains a hollow and unfinished version of its old self. Work is in progress but it obviously is still too slow.

10 Jesus is stripped of His garments
X. Jesus is stripped of His garments

It is the season Lent, a time for prayer, penitence, abstinence, fasting and sacrifice. In commiseration of the Passion of Christ, here is a photographic remembrance of the past glory of the church: the only six remaining extant carved reliefs of the Way of the Cross.

12 Jesus dies on the cross
XII. Jesus dies on the cross

Someday, in the near future, belief is strong that like the crucified Christ, the church shall rise up. From death comes resurrection.

13 Jesus' body is removed from the cross

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