MEXICO CITY – Experts restoring the interior of Mexico City’s Roman Catholic. Metropolitan Cathedral said Friday they found 23 lead boxes with religious inscriptions. And small paintings and relics such as wood or palm crosses.
The lead vessels were about the size of a mint box. And bore inscriptions dedicated to specific saints. A handwritten note found earlier in 1810 and restored.
The note states that a group of masons and painters found a box in 1810. And asked those who found it to “pray for their souls”.
They are found in niches carved into the walls at the base of the cathedral’s lantern. The narrow skylight sitting above the dome. The niches were covered with clay panels and hidden under plaster.
They were found on December 30 during plaster restoration work, experts said on Friday. The National Institute of Anthropology and History says. They may have been placed there to provide divine protection for the cathedral or the city.
The institute said that once they are catalogued. The boxes and their contents will be returned to their niches and re-covered with plaster.
The cathedral was built between 1573 and 1813 in a century-long process. One of the reasons it took so long is that as soon as construction began. The huge, heavy building began to sink into the soft ground that characterizes the city.
This is not the first time that relics have been found within the cathedral’s walls.
In 2008, researchers found a time capsule dating to 1791. That had been placed atop one of the cathedral’s bell towers. To protect the building from lightning strikes.
The lead box filled with religious relics, coins and parchments was placed inside. A hollow stone ball to mark the celebration on May 14, 1791. When the building’s cornerstone was laid 218 years after construction began.
A preserved parchment found in the box described the contents of the time capsule. Including 23 medals, 5 coins and five small crosses made of palm. The parchment says “all to protect against the storm.”