Rome tableau shows images of Filipino saints

Posted on October 23, 2012


FILIPINIANA ALTAR. In a rare display of the unity of Filipino saints Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod is portrayed in the monuments of courage in defense of the Christian faith. This work of sculptor Wiflredo Layug is now mounted at the Pontifico Collegio Filippino in Rome. (CONTRIBUTED)

THE images of the two Filipino saints, St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod, have been mounted on the outer panels of a triptych on a tableau at the new altar of the crypt in the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome.

The PCF confirmed the rare display through tweets after Wilfredo Layug, a sculptor from Betis in Guagua, Pampanga, installed his works with the help of several priests and overseas Filipino workers on Friday.

The Layug donations consisted of relief murals, a lectern, a table, angels and a cross atop a main retablo (altar piece), all made of wood.

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal celebrated Mass at the crypt before its renovation.

Layug said he made what he called the “Filipiniana altar” in honor of the first Filipino cardinal, the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, who proposed in 1959 the establishment of the PCF, the seminary of Filipino diocesan priests studying at pontifical universities in Rome. Santos was a native of Guagua.

Layug said it was during his visit in 2007 that he realized there was no showcase of Filipino art at the four-story PCF.

Both “relleba” (relief murals) depicted Ruiz and Calungsod while being tortured by pagans to force them to renounce their faith.

Ruiz was executed in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1637, while Calungsod was killed together with Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores in 1672 in Tumhon, Guam.

In the mural of Calungsod, Layug carved the image of the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the patroness of the PCF. The angels are women garbed in baro and saya (native Filipino blouse and skirt), done in estofado, a detailed carving style that gives the image the look of real clothes.

Bamboo is a constant motif in the tableau that Layug made in four months in Betis, one of two old woodcarving villages in the Philippines. The other is Paete in Laguna.

Layug said the altar evoked a distinct Filipino character, in keeping with the expectations of Pope John XXIII, when the Pontiff inaugurated the PCF in 1961./INQUIRER


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