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Sorrowful Mystery #1

The First Sorrowful Mystery on the Calzada de los Misterios commemorates The Agony in the Garden. The episode, portrayed in three different gospels, occurs after the Last Supper and just prior to the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. These events are also part of the Passion Plays that are still performed in many parts of Mexico City in the lead-up to the Easter holiday.

The episode is so significant in the Christian tradition that there is no shortage of depictions. From the early Italian Renaissance painter Bellini straight through to Paul Gauguin who painted “Christ on the Mount of Olives” in 1889. There are significant Mexican depictions too.

Here, although the relief is eroded we can make out Christ kneeling (left) before the figure of an angel. Beneath the angel are Peter, John and James are observed who’ve fallen into a deep sleep, as related in Luke 22:39-46.

The monument stands along the absurdly blank wall of an adjoining supermarket. As such, it actually may be one of the few Mystery where passing strollers may feel comfortable to stop and take in the ambience. It’s somewhere between a Baroque elegance and punk rock anomie. But then, much of the walk down the Calzada may strike explorers for just these reasons.

This First Sorrowful Mystery is just north of the intersection with Calle Clave and the historic railroad. The construction of the railroad actually led to the loss of the seven original monuments of the total 15. These were only replaced in 1999 in anticipation of a visit from Pope John Paul II.

This mystery is also just south of the calzada’s only glorieta. This traffic roundabout dates from the mid-19th century when then-President Santa Anna had the street remodeled. He added an entrance arch here, just past the glorieta, a bronze plaque still recognizes the event.

Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México, Coordinación Nacional de Monumentos Históricos. Ficha del Catálogo Nacional de Monumentos Históricos Inmuebles número I-09-01368 . -. Disponible en:

How to get here
  • Calz. de los Misterios, Col. Vallejo II, Alc. Gustavo A. Madero, 07870 CDMX


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