North America


priory of Saint Dominic and church of Our Lady of Nativity


For the military and spiritual conquest of Mexico, click here.


A brief description.


"At first (1526) the Dominicans evangelised the lakeside villages around Mexico City, founding priories at Azcapotzalco, as well as Coyoacan and Chimalhuacan in the south-eastern corner of the Valley of Mexico. From there they moved into what is now northern Morelos with the main priory at Tepoztlán, the shrine of Ometochli, the god of pulque (drunkenness).


In 1538, the Dominicans, led by Domingo de la Anunciación, O.P. (1510-1591), succeeded in baptizing the King Tepoztécatl, and so converted the natives to Catholicism. In 1550 the Dominicans finally undertook to build a permanent mission with the splendid priory Santo Domingo. The design of the church Our Lady of Nativity (1570-1588), has been attributed to the architect Francisco Becerra.

On the west porch the Virgin Maria of the Nativity with the Marian symbols, - the sun, the moon and the eight pointed stars of piety and divinity. On her left St. Dominic stands in prayer, an eight-pointed star upon his forehead and his dog by his side. St. Catherine is on the right. The priory is planned after the usual priories of the Dominicans.


The Festival of the Virgin.

Every year on September 8, the people of Tepoztlán, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin, or ‘Altepehuitl’. On the eve of the celebration the townspeople make a torchlight pilgrimage up the mountain tot the former shrine of Ometochli, to celebrate the conversion of Tepoztécatl to Christianity.

Next morning, the baptism of Tepoztécatl is re-enacted in the main plaza. In the afternoon the townspeople commemorate the battle of Moors and  Christians – a colonial dance-drama that has been handed down from generation to generation since the Dominicans first entered this enchanted valley four hundred and fifty years ago.”


Source: Perry, Richard, D.:  Mexico’s Fortress Monasteries. Espadaña Press, Santa Barbara, California 1992. ISBN 0-9620811-1-6. P. 140-144.






The cloister of the Dominican priory and church of Santo Domingo
in Tepoztlán.


Mexico 1950, Mi 969, Sc 858.









The Dominican priory and church of Santo Domingo
in Tepoztlán.


Mexico 1979, Mi 1645, Sc 1190.





Return to   REGISTER B               Return to   HOMEPAGE