The Fr. Sepulveda Murder Case



The best time to visit the San Agustin Church and Museum is when there are no other tourists around. The place is very peaceful. Hearing the water flowing from fountain of the inner patio has a calming effect and listening to the chirping of the birds inside the cloister is relaxing. However, there were times when I begin to feel that I am no longer alone and I need to rush out from the cloisters to find some company (yes, I have a fear for ghosts).  

One of the rooms that make my spine tingle is the Antecoro. For some reason I get goose bumps when I enter this room to get to the Coro or choir loft. Until I’ve learned a story about a murdered priest which added more gloom to this chamber. 

August 1, 1617. Rector Provincial Fr. Vicente Sepulveda was murdered in one of the rooms on the second floor called Sala de San Pablo (named after St. Paul, the patron of the church and monastery).  

In an effort to catch the culprits who were suspected of still being in the monastery, the corpse of the murdered Augustinian Provincial was laid out in the Antecoro; “its arms was propped up such that the index finger pointed at whoever entered the room from the corridor.” The dead body was arranged in such manner to identify the perpetrator by feeling the heart of each friar who came in to pay his respect.  

The murderers were identified. They were sentenced to death by hanging and were buried within the walls of the monastery. 

The focal point of the Antecoro is the intricately carved retablo with the image of the crucified Christ.

 Source: San Agustin: Art and History 1571-2000 by Pedro Galende, OSA 

Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  2. Well that explains the eerie feeling i felt in that room. I still had to wait for another tourist to accompany me inside this room and into the large choir loft.

  3. Thanks for telling the story. Funny enough, when my art in history groupmates visited this church in 1999 – we found the antecoro quite eerie! Kaya pala.

    Ghosts aside, your first glimpse inside the church is indeed overwhelming. Walking the monastery’s corridors was also an experience specially when you do this at around 3-4 PM when the its quiet and you silenty pass by several life-size paintings.

  4. Thank you for the invitation eric. I’ve just signed up.

  5. Thanks for dropping by lover 88.

  6. Thanks for sharing this story!

    By the way, I’ve created a thread at PinoyPhotography.Org,

    I’d like to invite you to sign up. I’m confident many will appreciate your contributions.



  8. Thanks for dropping by.

    Yes. I was also amazed when I’ve read about this story.

    I think there are more untold stories (or stories that not too many people know about) similar to the one above about San Agustin.

    Well, its a very old buildng, as old as walls of Intramuros I think. A lot has happened there.

  9. Amazing story.

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