Sulyap sa Santatlo: : The Iconography of the Santisima Trinidad As Depicted in Philippine Colonial Period Devotional Literature

I am pleased to announce that the editors of Manila 2015 (Selected Papers of the 23rd Annual Manila Studies Conference) have accepted for publication a revised version of the lecture I delivered last Aug 7, 2014 at Teatrillo Casa Manila, Intramuros. Sulyap MSA Aug 10 2014 aug 1

Abstract This 2014, as we commemorate the 493rd anniversary of Christianity’s beginnings in the Philippines, we note that only twenty-four churches, out of 2,890 listed in the 2012-2013 Catholic Directory of the Philippines, proclaim the Banal na Santatlo[i] (Holy Trinity) as their patronal saint. As a former president of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) of Manila’s oldest church devoted to the Holy Trinity, this author addresses the often neglected study of Trinitarian devotion in the Philippines amidst the more popular Christological and Marian devotional piety. This study focuses on the introduction and diffusion of Trinitarian devotional literature (novena) during the Spanish colonial period. In particular, though not exclusively, the author discusses the printing history of Fray Eugenio de la Santisima Trinidad’s novena to the Santísima Trinidad which was first published in Spain in 1743 and printed ninety-three years later in the Philippines. While not the only Philippine Trinitarian novena, Fray Eugenio’s novena remains as the most popularly printed Trinitarian novena from the Spanish colonial period.  However, as a first sulyap [glance], and given the rarity of visual illustrations in the small book format of the novenas, the author focuses not on the text, but on the Trinitarian images found in Philippine Trinitarian novenas and compares these with other Trinitarian images found in non-Philippine printed novenas as well as Trinitarian religious art from Spain and other Latin American countries. The author offers the view that the Philippine Trinitarian images, while mostly of the visual type permitted or approved by church authorities and, more often than not, copied from original images sourced from Spain, these nevertheless offer some unique iconographic elements not found in printed editions from Latin America or Spain. Download full article: Sources: [i] A 1870 Spanish-Tagalog dictionary translates Santisima Trinidad as “Ang Catatlöhan nang tatlong personas ng Dios” which, in a way, gives emphasis to the Threeness (diversity) of the Three Persons of God instead of the unity (Santatlo). Venancio Maria Abella, Vade mecum filipino o Manual de la conversación familiar español tagalog: seguido de un curioso vocabulario de modismos manileños: obra de suma utilidad práctica a españoles e indios y en general a todo el que tenga necesidad de hacerse comprender en cualquiera de ambos idiomas (Binondo: Imp. de B. González Moras, 1870), p.39. Retrieved from


~ by Martin Gaerlan on February 18, 2015.

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