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Saint John Marie Vianney Parish showcases Capirote and Cofradia

Written By David D'Angelo on Saturday, April 15, 2017 | 4/15/2017


Cofradia and Capirote is perhaps a sight that is never before seen in the Holy Week tradition in the Philippines and when someone sees it the first word that comes to them is "cult" or "kulto" in Filipino term.  Saint John Marie Vianney Parish of Adorable in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija is the first ever parish to allow and use this Spanish tradition as part of their Lenten Procession.  What is Cofradia and capirote? Is it right to use them locally?

What is Cofradia?



Cofradia is also known as confraternity.  They are religious organizations or brotherhood which carry religious tasks.  Cofradia is a common part of the community in Spain, most commonly in Sevilla.  During Holy Week these brotherhood are usually part of the procession and wear "capirote" as part of their penance or penitence.  They are also called as "Penitentes."

The cofradía was an ecclesiastical institution of the laity based on the veneration of a specific image or religious attribution, such as the Blessed Sacrament (Santísimo Sacramento), Saint Peter, or the Virgin Mary. - encyclopedia.com

A confraternity is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. They are most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and the Western Orthodox. - Wikipedia

What is Capirote?

Photo courtesy of Leni Ringor, Saint John Marie Vianney Parish

The pointed hat that you see in the photos are called "capirote".  They are commonly used in Spain and is part of some of the brotherhoods or cofradia there.  They are commonly used during  Easter observances and reenactments in some areas during Holy Week in Spain.

Before this however the "capirote" is used as part of the Catholic Inquisition wherein those who are deemed to have committed sin will be asked to wear them and the color based on the judgment given to them.

Historically the flaggelants are the origin of the current traditions, as they flogged themselves to do penance... The use of the capirote or coroza was proscribed in Spain and Portugal by the holy office of Inquisition. Men and women who were arrested had to wear a paper capirote in public as sign of public humiliation. The capirote was worn during the session of an Auto-da-fé. - Wikipedia

When the Inquisition ended this tradition was carried on until today.  The biggest sight for Capirote, Penitentes and Cofradia is in Sevilla Spain.  Here is a video of the most recent Holy Week Celebration in Seville and Spain.


Is it proper to use Capirote in the Philippines?


Capirote is part of the tradition of the church and is observed in fact in Spain which is the origin of our religion.  This is a symbol of penitence which is also equivalent to those we commonly see being crucified or walking on streets with their back full of blood.

Capirote is never a symbol or part of any cultust organization.  In fact the United States famous cult Ku Klux Klan only copied this from the religious tradition in Spain.

Is Cofradia and Capitore in the Bible?


It might not be in the bible but it is a symbolism of dedication and religious tradition which makes everyone remember the passion of Christ.  It teaches everyone humility and remorse from the sins that we commit in our everyday life.

Cofradia although not organized strictly in the Philippines is very similar to laymen's association and catholic associations in various parts of the country.  One of the best example of a worldwide Cofradia is the Knights of Columbus.

Cofradia of Saint John Marie Vianney Parish

Photo courtesy of Saint John Marie Vianney Parish


Saint John Marie Vianney Parish in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija is the first ever parish to exhibit this very old tradition of the church in Spain.  It is for us a welcome addition to what we will be seeing in the Philippines not as a way to amaze everyone but an additional tradition to let us all remember the passion and faith in Christian beliefs.

What do you think of Cofradia and Capirote in the Philippines?  Would you welcome more of these?


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