The Saint Agustin Church’s architectonic evolution can be broken-down into stages according to the disasters that it went through and with its later reconstruction attempts. Thus, the temple’s evolution can be divided into four main phases: the first church, which began on the year the Riveros Family assigns the homestead where the temple is currently located and first it was enabled as a large estate that ended on the same year, on February 13th when a fire broke-out; the second church that started to be reconstructed after the fire and until it was destroyed by the May 13, 1647 earthquake; the third church, that began with the later reconstruction after the earthquake to the 1730 earthquake; and a fourth stage that goes from the reconstruction after the earthquake and the modifications performed by Fermín Vivaceta.

In reference to the same stage, or the first church, there is little information in relation to the temple’s architectonic formation. According to the historical writings of the time, these were the same homes offered for sale by the Riveros family located in that homestead that were the ones the Agustin priests adapted and used for their religious practices and for housing, linking several of the facilities to create a small meetings church, since it is noted in the chronicles of the time that these houses were two-story buildings. Afterwards, the priests acquired the remainder of the house to obtain the complete block, which is why some historians call this stage “La Casa Grande” (The Large House). However, its duration was rather brief, since on December 13, 1595 the church is burned by hooded persons. According to some documents used by the chronicle writers of the time, it is said that it was the Franciscans who started the fire, managing to save only two rooms: the church and one of the houses.

After the fire, the church was restored in a light manner while the priest Father Juan de Vascones was sent to Lima to collect funds, a trip that lasted four years. The church was reconstructed with the collected money, while the construction of a new one was started by the Peruvian architect that was planned with 3 naves and built with white evenly cut stones. In its interior, it had three altars: one dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, another to Saint Nicolas de Tolentino and the third one, located in the center as a High Altar, the painting was dedicated to its founder: Saint Agustin, all of the altars surrounded by altar pieces, statues, paintings and the import made by Padre Vascones: its Chinese ornament. Unfortunately, it could not be included since it was destroyed by the 1647 earthquake.

The May 13, 1647 earthquake assumes the start of the third stage in the temple’s architectonic evolution, which is re-built by Juan de Lepe in brick, over its old floor plan. There is no greater information available regarding this reconstruction, but only up to the chronicles of the 1730 earthquake, which ruins the transversal wall and the towers, which in later years are restored and the temple’s interior is also beautified, in a baroque style, appealing to the Santiago neighbors; although the exterior continues to keep its primitive image.

In 1850 Juan de Lepe takes on the remodeling of the church. He is responsible for the current appearance of the church. The main transformation was to change the temple front, adding a porch with six columns in a Doric style and finished in an entablature with balustrade, that can be seen even today. The bell towers and dome are also reconstructed, and the main doors are carved, giving the façade the actual neo classic nature. The floor plan of the basilica-type of three vaulted naves is preserved in its interior and is divided by columns holding the Roman arches.

Last century, the church did not go through any large modifications. However, in 1982 the front area was restored, as well as the temple interior and the towers were finished, work done by the architect Francisco Beltrán that we can appreciate even to date.


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