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April 26, 2012, 10:09 AM

For Jesus, in Jesus.

By Lawrence Skilling

An altarpiece from the church of Jesus in the village of Jesus, Majorca [photo Lawrence Skilling

Baleares (Majorca), Spain - Churches in Ibiza are very simple and unadorned compared to those in mainland Spain, or even on Majorca. This is ironic considering the large amounts of money sloshing around the island. But then religion here harks back to an earlier, simpler time, before Jade Jagger and Pacha. The one exception is the Church of Jesus in the village of Jesus. If my name had been Jesus, this could have been a perfect spiritual and alliterative moment.

Inside what used to be a pretty basic fishermans church is one of the greatest examples of Renaissance/Flemish art to be found anywhere in Southern Europe; the Altarpiece of the Osona Family Workshop. Painted sometime in the 1500s by the Osonas it has 25 different panels showing everything from assorted Saints to the Ascension. Against a backdrop of plain whitewash the effect is quite spectacular, even or maybe because of the gloom due to the fact that the lights don't work. We visited early in April and all around were clumps of starved, elongated grass in small pots. I'm assuming this is a variation on the 'Green Easter Grass' tradition that some Americans have where chocolate eggs are displayed on lumps of Astroturf.

Outside the main entrance was a large battered rock, set into the pavement. According to the gardener who opened the church for us, locals would announce their desire to be allowed entrance by firing their rifles into this rock. Must have been a bit distracting if you were already in the church having a pray.

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Story Type:  News

ID: 66224

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