Twelve Santos and the Apostles' Creed

These twelve santos in the ex-convento in Teposcolula, Mexico, have been repurposed as if they were the twelve Apostles bearing the words of the Apostles' Creed in Spanish.


Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty."

Criador del Cielo y de la Tierra, "Creator of Heaven and Earth."

Creo en Jesucristo su unico Hijo, Nuestro Señor, "I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord." (Only the word unico is fully legible.)

Que fue concevido por ovra del Espiritu Santo y nació de Santa Maria Virgen, "Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary."

Padeció devajo del poder de Poncio Pilato fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado, "He suffered under the power of Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried."

(The words on the cape are illegible, but they can only be some version of descendió a los infiernos, al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos, "he descended into Hell, on the third day he rose from the dead" – the only phrase otherwise unaccounted for.)

Subio a los cielos y esta a la diestra de Dios Padre Todopoderoso, "He ascended into Heaven and is at the right hand of the Father Almighty."

Desde alli ha de venir a juzgar a los vivos y a los muertos, "From there he will come to judge the living and the dead."

Creo en el Espiritu Santo, en la Santa Iglesia Catolica, "I believe in the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Catholic Church."

La comunion de los Santos, "The Communion of Saints."

El perdon de los pecados, "The forgiveness of sins."

La resurrección de la carne y la vida perdura, "The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting."

A common device from the Middle Ages into the Baroque era was to present the Apostles' Creed in twelve phrases, each assigned to the figure of one Apostle. It is clear that these twelve santos were originally intended to represent various saints from long after the apostolic era. Two wear bishops' mitres, several have tonsures, one is in a priest's chasuble, etc. But whoever brought them together and painted the phrases may well have intended that they be taken to represent the twelve apostles.

When we photographed the santos in 1991 they were are all located in cells with walls open onto the garden of the 16th-century former monastery of Saints Peter and Paul in Teposcolula, Mexico. They were not arranged in the order of the phrases in the Creed.

More of the apostles as a group

Source: Claire and Richard Stracke via Wikimedia Commons