18th Century Priest Used Jesus Statue as World’s Oldest Time Capsule

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SPAIN – In the 18th century, a Spanish priest placed a time capsule in the most unlikely hiding places – the rear end of a hollow statue of Christ. His message remained hidden for over 250 years until the statue was removed from the church of Santa Águeda in Sotillo de la Ribera for a restoration project.

According to records, it is believed that the note in the statue is one of the earliest time capsules ever. A video from Radio Televisión de Castilla y León shows two restoration specialists removing the note from the statue’s behind.

“Although it is usual for many sculptures to be hollow, it is not so much to find handwritten documents inside” explained historian Efrén Arroyo. He’s a member of the Holy Week Brotherhood of Sotillo de la Ribera.

In the note, Father Joaquín Mínguez wrote about the origins of the statue. It was hand-carved from wood by Manuel Bal, who was a “Natural scholar of San Bernardo de Yagüe and neighbor in Campillo, both of this Bishopric of Osma”.

But Father Mínguez didn’t stop there. He went on to write about the daily life of his parish and the surrounding area. He wrote about the crops that were grown – wheat, rye, barley and oats. He also discusses the most common diseases that people suffered from. He mentions “tertian and quartan, side pain and tabardillos”, which were malaria and typhoid fevers. In a lighter section, the priest also mentions popular entertainment in the time, “cards, ball, bald, bar, and other puerile games.”

Preserving the history of his day, Father Mínguez also mentions general information about Spain. “The Court is in Madrid, there is a Mail and Gazette for the news, there is an Inquisition, for which no errors are experienced against the Church of God,” he wrote.

According to Efrén Arroyo, the note provably was written with the intention of giving the reader a peek into the life of Spain in 1777.

 

 

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