Recently I traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, for the first time. Although I want to travel all around the world, Guatemala was never on my radar. But it was a “God thing.” I’m writing a Guatemala blog series to show you the beautiful pictures and to share about the amazing things God did there. This is Blog #4, The older Antigua, Guatemala cathedral, Iglesia El Carmen, and San Juan de Dios Convent. You can read my other blogs about Guatemala at the links below:
Blog 1: My trip to Antigua, Guatemala https://www.bethjones.net/my-trip-to-antigua-guatemala/
Blog 2: Travel requirements, the Guatemala grocery stores, and the street markets https://www.bethjones.net/travel-requirements-travel-requirements-grocery-stores-street-markets/
Blog 3: Antigua’s beautiful ancient cathedrals https://www.bethjones.net/antigua-beautiful-cathedrals/
As I shared about in my first blog about traveling to Guatemala, nothing went according to MY plans when I traveled to Guatemala! But that turned out to be a very good thing. God was truly ordering my every step. My new friends there, Kim Rogers and Stan Edwards, invited me to stay in Guatemala longer when it was nearing the end of my week there.
Kim said a week wasn’t nearly long enough to visit Guatemala, and she could show me around more. She had already given me a walking tour in Antigua, which really helped me with finding Parque Central, cute coffee shops, restaurants, the street markets, the grocery stores, and more.
I told them that I couldn’t because I was running out of money and my booking at the beautiful Air BnB where I was staying in Antigua ended on Sunday morning. They graciously invited me to stay at their house (free) a couple of days. Stan said I wouldn’t need any more money, because they would feed me–he would cook for me and Kim (he’s a great chef and they were amazing hosts). I prayed about it and said yes. What a blessing this was! I will share more pictures of their beautiful condo home later.
One of the sites to see on my list traveling there was the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral. I had not been able to see it when my Spanish teacher Elvia and our driver Allan took us around Antigua to see the cathedrals (there are many!) and the ruins on the 2nd day of my stay that week. But when I went to Kim’s and Stan’s beautiful condo home, Kim took Stan and me on a short tour, including the older, Antigua, Guatemala cathedral–I was so happy!
If I had not stayed a couple days longer, I would have missed out on seeing this and the surprise God gave me here.
It costs 40 Quetzales, or around $5 US, to visit the ruined Antigua Guatemala Cathedral. The Antigua Guatemala Cathedral is a special ruin; the wreckage of the earthquakes from 1541 through 1669, and then the one in 1773, left it a beautiful mess.
In the old Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, you can see the full structure of the cathedral with the sunlight streaming through the exposed arches. Some of the many side chapels remain intact, and you can see details, such as seashells, carved into the chapels. I noticed a seashell carving right away.
You can also visit the underground part of the Cathedral, which I didn’t do, but Stan and Kim did. While they were looking at this, God gave me a beautiful surprise: a groom and his bride on a wedding photography shoot. I felt it was prophetic that Jesus our Bridegroom is returning soon for His lovely Bride, the Church.
As written on the blog Sacred Wanderings: “If you are just going to see one of the Antigua Guatemala Churches, make this the church in Antigua that you see. Not only is it in a really convenient location, but it’s a perfect example of the newer style of church in Antigua and the beauty of the ruined churches of Antigua.” I so agree! This was my favorite cathedral to visit (so far!).
The boulders (ruins) of the cathedral were massive. These ruins really spoke to my heart about how short and transient our lives are, and how important it is to live for Jesus each day.
There is a sign on a wall in this cathedral which reads, “No climbing on the walls.” Stan told me and Kim to restrain ourselves from climbing it, LOL! Obviously people have done this before, hence the need for the warning sign!
Another surprise at this cathedral was a cat among the boulders. It was so beautiful. My daughter Leah said I should have taken it home with me. Stan and Kim petted it. I gave the cat some of my bottled water to drink (which it did), and as I walked away to leave the church, Stan told me that the precious cat was meowing and wanted to follow me home!
Iglesia El Carmen is an intriguing cathedral with the stunning, intricate columns. It is not open to the public, but you can view the last version of the ruins, dating from 1728, from the cobblestone streets. I can’t imagine how amazing it was, before earthquakes destroyed much of it. Originally its Spanish baroque facade had 24 beautifully carved columns and some are almost intact.
There are many street vendors (the indigenous people) trying to sell their wares here. It’s very hard to tell them “no,” as you know they need to make a living each day! Stan and Kim also discovered a new restaurant to try one day, that is near the cathedral.
Another interesting and gorgeous church in Antigua, which my Spanish teacher Elvia took me to first and then Kim showed me also, is San Juan de Dios Convent. I love its warm yellow color. It was founded in 1636 by religious men to treat, at separate locations, Spanish patients, mulattos, Indians and other members of the church.
Elvia told me that doctors from all over the world come here to treat patients in need and to perform surgeries. She said the priest(s) and doctors work together, and that God had healed people who come there, so many people wait in lines at the little park nearby to go inside for help and to schedule surgeries.
I love the beautiful palm trees in this peaceful park.
How I wanted to start preaching on the street, telling them that the Lord Jesus can heal them today! Forgive me, God, for not having the courage to do so. Maybe next time I go there, I will!
I took many pictures when I traveled to Guatemala. I hope that I’m getting the names of these churches/cathedrals right and that these pictures are from the inside of San Juan de Dios Convent. The cathedrals are breathtakingly beautiful: the art, the sculptures, the altars, the architecture, the paintings and the murals, the chandeliers/light fixtures, and the ceilings (many with painted artwork on them). Everything is intricately designed, and you just want to stop to stare and admire it for a long time. Some churches are still open for Mass/service, so you have to be quiet as they are praying/worshipping.
In my next blog, I’ll share about the amazing thing that God did at Parque Central in Antigua (Park Central) and various pics of beautiful Antigua.