Return on Cebu church panels sought | Inquirer News

Archdiocese of Cebu calls on National Museum to return pulpit panels

/ 03:50 PM February 20, 2024

PHOTO: The pulpit panels on display. STORY: Archdiocese of Cebu calls for return of pulpit panels

The pulpit panels on display.

MANILA, Philippines — The Archdiocese of Cebu requested the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) on Tuesday to return the pulpit panels of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santissima in Boljoon, Cebu.Cebu Archbishop Most Rev. Jose Palma said the removal of the panels was considered “sacrilegious” and these should not be treated as mere artworks.

“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. They are integral to the patrimony of the church as part of her missionary work and thus considered sacred,” Archbishop Palma said in a statement.


“Their illegal removal constitutes a sacrilege. They should never have been treated, then or now, as mere artworks for museum exhibition, much less for private appreciation by the collectors who purchased them,” it added.


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On February 13, the NMP received the pulpit panels, which depicted the patron of the Augustinian Order, St. Augustine of Hippo, from collectors Edwin and Aileen Bautista.

Palma also said that the archdiocese “asserts its ownership” of the panels, and requests for their return. He also hoped for a “constructive dialogue” between the two parties.

“Given the foregoing, the Archdiocese of Cebu hereby asserts its ownership of these panels and requests their immediate return to Boljoon at the pulpit where they were surreptitiously removed,” Palma said.


“It is also my ardent hope that a proper venue for constructive dialogue be provided so as to meet the befitting terms of the parties concerned,” he added.

On Monday, the local government of Cebu also requested the return of the panels.

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In a statement also on Monday, the NMP expressed eagerness for dialogue concerning the panels.

TAGS: Archdiocese of Cebu, Jose Palma, National Museum of the Philippines

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