Construction Mysteries of the San Xavier Mission

(left) Statue found in the side chapels
with stands of devotional candles.

By Danielle Crounse

Many mysteries remain about the construction of the current church. It is known that the church is built about one and a half miles south of the first church location.

Among the few facts known is that the current structure was built in 1783 with a 7,000 peso loan. However, the questions far outnumber the known answers.

For instance, the east tower of the Mission was never completed. Several theories exist about why it was left unfinished. It is not known if the church's 7,000 peso loan was not enough, or if the priests decided not to finish it so that no taxes would have to be paid. Another theory says that a worker was killed during construction and no one else could be convinced to go up.

It is interesting that such a beautiful structure has no record of the architect, builders or artists responsible for creating it. It has been determined that no less than three artists painted the artwork inside the church.

Almost every available space inside has a painting or sculpture. The paintings have the look of folk and baroque art of religious figures. The colors, though faded are still brilliant and quite striking. The amount of artwork on the walls and ceiling is overwhelming, but breathtaking.

The debate about who the architect or builder was is fueled by the inscription "Pedro Boj. Ano die 1797 (a day in 1797)" on one of the wooden doors at the entrance.

Many speculate that Pedro Bojorquez is the name of the builder, but this is discounted because he could also be a manufacturer of doors or a carpenter who placed his name there.

Read more about the construction and history of the San Xavier del Bac.


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