It was the morning of Good Friday as we began our wander around Casco Viejo, Panama City. We had no particular plans except to see where the day would take us.
Noticing throngs of people entering a church, we decided to follow them inside. We discovered that everyone was participating in the Procesion Del Viernes De Dolores. The procession involved visiting all of the historic churches located in Casco Viejo. We grabbed a map and joined in.
There were rules and a dress code related to entering the churches. No shorts. Some of the churches also prohibited tank tops/bare shoulders.
There were vendors at all of the churches, selling various religious items.
Convento de la Compania de Jesus and Convento de Santo Domingo
Convento de la Compania de Jesus and Convento de Santo Domingo are ruin sites. We marveled at the beautiful stone and iron, but were unable to explore their interiors.
The Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua
The cathedral was undergoing a massive renovation, so we couldn’t go inside.
We weren’t too disappointed, since we had a chance to visit it during our first trip to Casco Viejo.
Inglesia Nuestra Senora de la Merced
I loved the beautiful wood in Inglesia la Merced.
The wooden beamed ceiling, the towering supports, and the intricately carved alters, gave the church a venerable feel.
Inglesia San Jose
San Jose’s golden alter had a heavenly gleam.
As a huge lover of stained glass, I stood for quite a while admiring the light as it illuminated the vibrant colors.
Inglesia de San Francisco de Asis
San Francisco de Asis had more stained glass to ogle over.
Unique to this church, I appreciated the beautiful, flower adorned, side alter.
Oratorio San Felipe Neri
Since the outside of San Felipe Neri was fairly plain, it made the interior dazzle all the more. It was stunning.
I was obsessed with San Felipe Neri’s ceiling. The curvature, the intricate yellow-gold accents, it was mesmerizing.
We were just about to exit the church, when Shannon noticed a little room that people were entering. We walked in and were blown away. Due to the small standing space and lighting, it’s difficult to show the enormity of this diorama of the life of Jesus.
The level of detail was impressive.
If it hadn’t been such a crowded day, we could have stayed there longer, perusing every detail.
I was able to immerse myself in the spiritual significance of the procession, as well as the cultural. More than anything, I was drawn to the closed eyed, silent faces at the alters and in the pews. I wondered what prayers were in their hearts. Were they praying through grief or gratitude? What were their regrets? What were their hopes?
It was moving seeing so many people gathered in church after church, visibly filled with hope, gratitude, and love. It certainly was a good Friday in Casco Viejo, Panama City, and one that I will never forget.
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