Time builds and time devours—that is a general cycle. New structures are constructed every day and they grow huge with time. Similarly, fleeting moments leave a mark on architectural marvels and years later they start to dilapidate. This is the power of time! However, in this cycle of formation and destruction, there occur some rare and miraculous events. One such incident happened when a church built during the 16th century emerged out of the water in Mexico.
In 16th century, social reformer and Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas arrived at Santiago, Mexico, and initiated the construction of the Temple of Quechula also known as the Temple of Santiago. He, along with his fellow monks, was instrumental in establishing a monastery in the Mexican State of Chiapas (formerly known as Tecpatán). There are a lot of similarities in the architectural style of the monastery and the temple and hence, they are believed to have been built by the same person.
The Mexican government prepared a report of the church and Carlos Navarrete, one of the members who worked on the report, was quoted saying, “It was a church built thinking that this could be a great population center, but it never achieved that. It probably never even had a dedicated priest, only receiving visits from those from Tecpatan.”
From his observations we can also gauge the cause of the desolation of the church as well as the time. Carlos said, “At that time, we still found the wood from the chorus loft and the roof beams. Also, a large ossuary of the victims of the plague that depopulated the area.”
Therefore, it must have been the 1773-76 plague that made people abandoned the place. And as it did not have much congregation from the time of its inception, it was never used again after it was abandoned.
The Nezahualcoyotl Dam was built by 1966, and this resulted in submerging the Temple of Santiago, concealing it from view. However, the church came to limelight when following years of disappearance, it reappeared in 2002. That year drought struck the region making the water level drop down to a considerable level. The church not only became visible but people were also able to step into it. During that time the church had a huge number of visitors and it was converted into a venue for parties.
The Temple of Quechula made a comeback in 2015, when the water level of the reservoir dropped again. This time the church was not fully visible and appeared to be floating. This gave it a more aesthetic appeal. Ferries were operated around the monument giving a commercial boost to the locales.