El Rito in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Welcome to the Church of San Juan Nepomuceno
Inscription. This historical church was begun by the first Spanish settlers of the El Rito Valley in 1827 and completed in 1832. Originally flat roofed and with small window openings in the 5 ft. thick walls, it not only served as an imposing temple, but also as a defensive fortification in this frontier area of New Mexico. The influence of french priests changed some of the interior decoration, but the church has retained much of its original look through its 150 years. Major structural collapse in 1979 prompted a decision to restore the structure because of its historical importance as the cradle of Catholicism throughout Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The reconstruction, completed in 1982, attempted to restore much of the original colonial Hispanic artwork and spirituality. It has been termed by noted historians and architects as one of the most beautiful examples of historical New Mexican churches.
By J. J. Prats, April 28, 2013
1. Welcome to the Church of San Juan Nepomuceno Marker
Location. 36° 20.658′ N, 106° 11.304′ W. Marker is in El Rito, New Mexico, in Rio Arriba County. Marker is on State Road 554 near Placitas Road (State Road 215). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: El Rito NM 87530, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. El Rito (approx. 0.6
miles away); a different marker also named El Rito (approx. 0.8 miles away); Santa Cruz (approx. 8.4 miles away); Abiquiú (approx. 11.8 miles away); Agueda S. Martinez (1898–2000) (approx. 12.6 miles away); Georgia O’Keeffe (approx. 13.3 miles away); Red Rocks (approx. 13.3 miles away).
By J. J. Prats, April 28, 2013
2. The Church of San Juan Nepomuceno and Marker
Categories. • Churches, Etc. •
By Allen C. Browne, March 12, 2016
3. San Juan Nepomuceno
This c. 1798 portrait of Jan Juan Nepomuceno by José Campeché hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
“The halo of five stars around the head of San Juan Nepomuceno, the patron saint of confessors, spells out TACUI, Latin for "I was silent." The saint was martyred because he refused to divulge what he heard in confession; the letters rest on five stars that refer to the five wounds of Christ and link the saint's sacrifice to the Savior's. This painting reminded priests and their congregants of the seal of the confessional, which required both to hold their confessions in strict confidence.
Jose Campeché was a descendant of freed slaves who became an artist and architect. His work blends local folk traditions native to Puerto Rico with the high style imported From Europe. The ornate, hand-carved frame calls attention to the ambitions of the artist and the significance of his subject. The painting displays the strong influence of the Catholic Church in America's New Spain at a moment when the Spanish Empire's reach spanned the globe.” — Smithsonian American Art Museum
Credits. This page was last revised on November 9, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 2, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 465 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 2, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. 3. submitted on November 8, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.