Convents of Morelos, Mexico

Origins of the Convents

Arq. Carlos Chanfón Olmos

Drawing of the monastery in Tepoztlan The missionaries had to first gather their listeners, hence the need for atriums.Considering the small number of missionaries compared to the enormous population of indians it was necessary for the monks to travel. This practical problem had a series of consequences on the monks. They had to not only teach a religion but to establish a new society. Faced with the fading indian structure based on pagan ceremonies for everything it was necessary to create a new structure that fulfilled the religious, social, politic and economic needs of the population. Without this the change of religion was useless.

The first stage of the indoctrination was done through traveling and using a common base for transmitting the ideas. From this emerged atriums, open chapels, the tequitqui or hieroglyphic religious lessons using indigenous symbols. If the missionaries had not adapted their message they would have failed. During this brief period the missionaries lived in provisional houses and established enclaves in strategic points. These enclaves evolved into the sites for the convents that we know today and many of the symbols and artifacts used for establishing that common ground are still there today.

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