Day 7, January 26, 2015. Cusco, Peru.

After a relaxing breakfast at our elegant hotel, we struck out to explore Cusco. We began at the Plaza de las Armas, the main square bordered by the cathedral and the Compania, a Jesuit church. These buildings stand on the foundations of Incan palaces. Incan walls and foundations can be seen as parts of buildings throughout the area, including out hotel. We would be awed by how many monumental churches occupy such a small area.

Walking to St. Peter’s Market, we passed through an arch dedicated to St. Clare. We looked forward to the market because it is a bustling and colorful place even in the morning.

Our first stop after the market was the museum in the monastery of the Mercederian order. Its greatest claim to fame is the custodia, a solid gold monstrance more than a meter high and encrusted with precious stones, including the second largest pearl in the world. Although the monstrance is the star it is a priceless collection of liturgical appointments and paintings. Unfortunately, as with most churches we would see today, photographs were not permitted, so none to post. We did take some of the monastery’s cloister.

After the museum we took a sightseeing bus tour to get oriented to the city. We were thrilled it took us to the site of an enormous statue of Jesus that looks down on the city. It was a gift after WWII by the Palestine Christian refugees in appreciation for accepting them in Cusco. The downside of the tour is we both ended up with sunburns.

Now the ecclesial tour really began, including the cathedral, the Museum of Religious Art, the (Jesuit) Compania Church and up a steep incline to St. Blaise. Sadly photographs were not permitted in any of these, but photos would not have done them justice.

In every place we were impressed by works from the Cusco School of Painting. This came about as Spaniards taught the Incans about painting, and the Incans transformed it into their own style. This resulted in traditional images taking on Incan characteristics. The paintings have vivid colors, gold leaf and other Incan motifs and influences. It also demonstrates the willingness of the Spaniards to respect Incan sensitivities in evangelization, and how successful it can be.

Today has lead us into a greater respect for the Church in Peru and insights into the challenges the Church faces with its multicultures. This day was a feast of the eyes and mind.

We have been so lucky with the weather. This is usually the rainy season in Peru but we have sunny days. We hope our luck holds out.

1798729_10205082402253682_7881145262516680214_n 1978849_10205082401133654_8739955060743787784_n 10347783_10205082426054277_3352942739159593035_n 10389556_10205082400533639_8985901578182711878_n 10390376_10205082474655492_2300126360981549005_n 10403180_10205082427334309_604213527321865198_n 10406347_10205082425614266_7011793481320544797_n 10407850_10205082427014301_2555952654357635955_n 10420197_10205082402573690_7591703928962007397_n 10675675_10205082474295483_2056258639875771555_n 10941016_10205082426654292_3214142075569834260_n 10945742_10205082474135479_6803844714963538872_n 10952861_10205082401653667_6663574418170912996_n 10952887_10205082426494288_5754084340716044267_n 10953952_10205082473895473_7308424534404458258_n

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s