Ruins of "Trinidad" (Paraguay)


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After visiting some of the work of the Jesuits in Misiones,
we were blessed by being taken to visit a couple of places in Paraguay:
the ruins of Trinidad and Jesus. 

The Society of Jesus established itself in the region known as the Guayrá in 1588, by permission of Philip II. One of its objectives became the protection of the Indians against the abuses of the colonial encomienda system of tribute or labour, which reduced them to a condition of virtual slavery; at the same time they would be brought into the Christian Church and educated into a sedentary form of life. 

Following the granting of the frontier zone of Paraguay to the Jesuits in 1609 by the Spanish Crown, they moved into the lands of the Guaraní people in the Rio de la Plata basin, where they created "reducciones" (settlements), each with its mission. There were 30 in all, 8 in latter-day Paraguay, 15 in Argentina, and 7 in Brazil.

La Santísima Trinidad, the most ambitious of these missions and the capital of the Guayrá, was built in 1706, the work of the noted Jesuit architect Juan Bautista Primoli. It was constructed in stone with a fine dome and elaborated decoration.

La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná has the best preserved urban structure: Plaza Mayor, main church (crypt), small church, college and cloister, cemeteries, kitchen gardens, belfry, native houses and workshops.

La Santísima Trinidad is of great symbolic importance, because its decoration reflects the spirit of its conception, with its fusion of Christian and native artistic elements. 

(UNESCO/CLT/WHC)
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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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