Today’s parish church of Culhuacán, Señor del Calvario church, dates only from the late 19th century. As is often the case, what’s most fascinating about this one is that it’s built on the site of an ancient site with a very different history. The Plaza Leona Vicario is immediately out front of and north of the portico entrance to the church.
The cave converted to a chapel is said to have been the discovery place of a glowing image of the fallen Christ. Since then, the site has been known as El Señor del Calvario.
The Legend of el Señor del Calvario
The cave was, at the time of the discovery, at the very foot of the Cerro de la Estrella. Stonecutters bringing water from a distant well, took a break outside of the San Juan Evangelista Monastery. The workmen noticed a bright, shining light emerging from the trees surrounding the monastery.
Upon investigating, it was discovered that the light was emerging from a cave. Moving aside the stones they discovered an ornate door of wood with figures of angels carved into it. Upon opening the door, it’s said that they discovered a cave within and a resplendent image of Christ. They sent word to the town and everyone came to venerate “The Lord of Calvary.” They’ve been coming in good numbers ever since.
As word spread of the icon, a church was improvised inside the cave. By the middle of the 19th century, the church was begun. Veneration of the Lord of Calvary is still of importance to the residents of the neighborhood. The feast days are August 4, 5 and 6 of each year.
A visit to the cave is often combined with a trip to the monastery, and even to the sites further up the Cerro de la Estrella. All of them are easily reached via Metro Culhuacán on line 12 of the Metro.
There’s more on the larger Culhuacán area, here.