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