Augustinian friars support calls for return of missing Boljoon pulpit panels

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 27,2024 - 04:46 PM

Boljoon pulpit panels: Explainer: What we know so far on Boljoon’s once-lost pulpit panels

Left: A photo taken in 1985 showing the still-intact pulpit of Boljoon’s Patrocinio de Maria Santissima Church. (Photo from USC Cebuano Studies Center) Right: Four of the pulpit panels unveiled in a recent turnover ceremony at the National Museum of the Philippines (Photo from National Museum of the Philippines)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Augustinian friars in Cebu have penned a statement that supports the call of the Archdiocese of Cebu for the return of the missing pulpit panels of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santissima in Boljoon town.

In a statement dated February 26, the Augustian friars said that they give their full support to the Archdiocese of Cebu’s declaration of ownership of the four pulpit panels and the demand for its immediate return “to the rightful owner and sanctuary” which is the Boljoon Parish Church and Shrine.

“We also espouse the spirit of mutual openness for a fraternal dialogue to settle the accompanying issues in the interest of justice and fairness, and joint advocacy of protecting and preserving our common patrimony,” the friars added.

ALSO READ: Calls to return Boljoon panels reach House

Augustinan legacy

The friars said that the Boljoon pulpit panels are not only considered as important artifacts of the Cebuano Catholic heritage but these are also a reflection of the Augustinan legacy.

With this, they said they are “thankful that the missing pulpit panels have resurfaced and definitively ascertained their provenance.”

They said the foundational and socio-pastoral ministry of the Boljoon Parish holds “dear” in the memory of the Augustinian priests in the country. From the 1690s to the 1940s, several Augustinian friars served as parish priest in the Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santissima.

ALSO READ: Explainer: What we know so far on Boljoon’s once-lost pulpit panels

Fr. John Ion Miranda, an Augustinian priest assigned at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, told CDN Digital that in 1948, the administration of the Boljoon parish was transferred to the Diocese of Cebu and Fr. Leandro Moran, OSA, was the last Augustinian parish priest who was assigned there.

Boljoon pulpit panels

The discovery of the pulpit panels, that have been missing for decades, in the hands of the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) sparked public outrage.

NMP announced early this month that the pulpit panels were the latest addition to their collections.

ALSO READ: Donated Boljoon pulpit panels acquired legally -Nat’l Museum

On February 20, the Archdiocese of Cebu urged the NMP to return the panels.

While the church was glad that the missing panels had been found, they asserted ownership over these and wanted these reinstalled in the pulpit of Boljoon’s historical church.

“While we understand the National Museum’s desire to exhibit the same to the general public, we have to assert the sacral nature of these panels,” Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said in an earlier interview.

The prelate also requested the immediate return of the pulpit panels to Boljoon “at the pulpit where they were surreptitiously removed.” / with reports from Morexette Marie Erram



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TAGS: Augustinian friars, Boljoon, National Museum of the Philippines, pulpit panels

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