Church of the Angry Christ in Victorias City, Negros Occidental

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A lot of Catholic Churches in the Philippines has similar patron saints and they celebrate the same festivities every year. Although various churches have the same patron saint, each church becomes popular because of its unique structure and interior design and one good example is the Church of the Angry Christ in Victorias City.

Church of Angry Christ Altar
Church of Angry Christ Altar

The Catholic church of beauty and ethnicity stands inside the Victorias Milling company compound in Victorias City, Negros Occidental. It is locally named as the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church. The name Church of the Angry Christ is hailed by Life Magazine and they internationally famed the VMC chapel.

Inside the Church of the Angry Christ
Inside the Church of the Angry Christ

History of the Angry Christ Church

The Church of the Angry Christ created a controversy among the conservative Church circles for portraying of Jesus Christ as an Angry God. It was a desperate step to interpret Jesus in this way and exceptional too in the world of strict Catholicism. The holy Spanish Churches of Philippines follow a singular decorum and architecture where as the Church of The Angry Christ stands distinctively different in terms of sacred iconography and architectural design.

Image of The Brown Virgin Mary
Image of The Brown Virgin Mary

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In 1949 when the church was established many Catholics rebelled against the decoration and the iconography of the church. Their point was that Christ is the symbol of mercy, love and affection. And the traditional views were against the angry image of Jesus. So it was a contemporary and “Philippinized” touch as well as the modification of the Biblical premise.

San Lorenzo Ruiz
San Lorenzo Ruiz

A brief overview

Victorias Miling Co. (Asia’s largest sugar refinery) had constructed the Church to meet the religious needs of its resident employees (residing in the compound of sugar refinery) and their families.

  • The decoration of the church’s baptism room was entirely designed by the Belgian artist Ade de Bethuene;
  • Arcadio Anore accomplished the design for baptistery as well as the other parts of the church;
  • The images of Mary, Joseph, the crucifix and the Stations of the Cross were painted by the local artist Benjamin Valenciano;
  • Spanish American artist Ossorio painted the chapel;
  • Jesus Christ stretching its arms towards the sky wide open inviting everyone under one roof;
  • A descending dove, the holy symbol of spirit which carries multi coloured wings hangs above; and
  • God the father represented by two giants with red, orange hands.

The Baptismal Room
The Baptismal Room

It is an important landmark of cultural heritage.

This veteran 50+ years old ethnic Church resembles a landmark developmental growth in the history of Philippine’s art and architecture revolving and reflecting religious inertia of the race. Ossorio and Bethune exclusively on its own right have earned immense fame and international recognition for establishing successfully Filipino religious iconography as an art form for the first time ever in the history. In early 90’s the sugar refinery was economically struggling hard to revive and all kind of symptoms were crippling of its operation getting shut down.

The Church of Angry Christ Facade
The Church of Angry Christ Facade

During this crisis period many of the conservationists apprehended the Church getting closed down and with it dawn on an era. But the Church relived and continues to grace people with its architectural beauty, ethnic essence and religious docile presence. The Church not only represents a landmark in Western Visayas but also stands high as a mixed bag of worldwide religious art. A strong verdict for all good reasons and glorified history has been put up to declare it as a Filipino Heritage which shall ensure its preservation for future.

How to get there

Considered as the sugar capital of Negros Occidental, Victorias can be reached in 40 to 45 minutes from Bacolod City either by private car or public utility vehicles plying the northern Negros.

From Bacolod City, ride a bus and ask the driver to drop you at the Victorias Milling Company in Victorias City. Once in Victorias Milling Company, take a tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to the Saint Joseph Church inside VMC.

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