Santa María de Rilán
Its Patron Saint is Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, celebrated each year on February 11.
When the restoration of the Santa Maria of Rilán Church was carried out back in 2012, the master carpenters discovered that all the structural parts were marked with Roman numerals. These numbers showed which parts should be assembled together: the discovery suggests that the Church had not been built in Rilán itself, but that it had been designed and manufactured in another location. Construction would have been entrusted to a group of master carpenters from the town of Curahue, close to Rilán.
The approximately 12 years which the construction took, as well as its restorations, meant that Rilán, before its restoration, became a showcase of different timber types from the island: tepa in the structures, internal finish and portico; ulmo in the floors; cypress in the windows, portico in the doors, wooden tiles on the gable and the altar area; manio in pillars and columns; and larch tiles, walls and exterior cladding, comprise an admirable diversity of wood
San Francisco de Castro
The Castro community celebrates San Francisco of Assisi every October 4.
Originally called Santiago de Castro, the city is located on a plain on the junction of a fjord.
The Castro Church is the most modern of the patrimonial churches, and which shows the most mixed adaptation of European concepts with the specific Chiloé conditions. This special feature in wood gives the church a particular warmth, accentuated by natural light that enters through stained glass windows. With metal coating, which emulates masonry and wooden tiles, the Castro Church was the first to be painted entirely on the outside, which motivated other localities on the archipelago to paint their churches.
The Castro community celebrates San Francisco of Assisi every October 4. It also commemorates the festivities of Immaculate Conception, James the Apostle and Jesus of Nazareth.
Santa María de Loreto de Achao
Its Patron Saint is Santa María de Loreto, a festivity celebrated each year on December 10.
The one feature that makes the Achao Church stand out is the fact that the structural assemblies have no nails: this characteristic is typical of all the churches in Chiloé built before the 20th century. Covered with larch tiles, its structure is built with mañío and cypress wood. Although the Achao Church is probably the only church in the archipelago that was, without any doubt, built by the Jesuits, its Baroque decoration is typical of the Franciscans.
The Achao community celebrates its Patron Saint, Santa María de Loreto every December 10, however hers is not the most prominent image in the Church. The most important feature is a 136-cm high polychrome carved crucifix, a dressed polychrome image of our Lady of Carmen, a full-sized picture of Santa Filomena and a Tabernacle with the images of San Ignacio and San Francisco Javier carved by Reyna.
Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Tenaún
Its Patron Saint is Nuestra Senora de Patrocinio, a celebration held every year on January 30.
The Tenaún Church stands out because of its three towers. This feature is possibly an allusion to the name of the place, which means “three mountains” or “three hills” in the Veliche language. The village is thought to have been founded by Ruiz de Gamboa, following the coastal routes of the Veliches, who led him in their boats. Indeed, the tip of Tenaún is a milestone for the island’s navigation in the archipelago, where the Island of Chiloé is broken up, opening space to a set of Islands fundamental for the Chiloé culture.
In 1861, the community decided to completely rebuild the old chapel, and under the direction of Friar Saldivia and using worshipers’ donations, they restored the ceiling, the walls and the floor tiling. Metal cladding was introduced during the 20th century. Between 2005 and 2006, the tower and the façade were restored; finally, in 2010 and 2011 the nave and the dome were renovated.
San Juan Bautista de San Juan
Its Patron Saint is San Juan, a celebration that is held every year on June 24.
The interior part of the San Juan Church stands out because of its simplicity and beauty. Painted white and with ornamentation details in red and black, San Juan still retains the old pulpit and much of its original decoration. Inside, the visitor can find a 1911 tombstone of the Bahamonde family, a well-known known family of San Juan ship builders.
The Church has been restored several times. In 1950, it was intervened by the community, under the direction of Antonio Bahamonde. The 1960 earthquake was the reason for a new restoration, in which the portico arches were eliminated. In 1996 and 1997 it was restored with the participation of the community, following the criteria of minimum intervention. In 2004, it was intervened again, replacing the wooden tower and façade and restoring the arch porticoes which dated back before 1960.
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Dalcahue
Su santa patrona es Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, fiesta que se celebra cada año el día 15 de septiembre.
The village of Dalcahue, located on the coast, was established in the 17th century as a chapel and an indigenous settlement entrusted to the Spaniards. The village was a stopping point of the Jesuit Circular Mission. Every year, around January 8, the missionaries visited Dalcahue for two and a half days.
Because of its location the Dalcahue Church is the top-most point of the village facing the pier that is another milestone of the parish. Its location makes Dalcahue an exchange center for neighboring populations, a phenomenon which is still seen at the free market held every Sunday in the villge.
The Dalcahue Church was restored between 2013 and 2015. To accomplish it, it was dismantled almost entirely, and the most damaged parts were replaced. The process culminated on its opening day, when one of the master carpenters installed, in the midst of a great festive atmosphere, the last restored board which is representative of all other boards that had been restored.
San Antonio de Colo
The Colo community celebrates San Antonio de Padua, its patron, on June 13.
Colo has a dispersed settlement pattern where the most important architectural element is the Church, next to which there is a cemetery. Formerly it was accessed by the sea, through the Colo estuary. Today, on the other hand, it is accessed by land and it is distant from most of the main roads, making it less accessible and simultaneously more mysterious than the other churches.
The Church, probably built in the early 20th century, is a smaller scale imitation of the Quicaví Church. It was restored in 1996 and in 2004, when the tower, the façade and the portico were repaired. The Colo community celebrates San Antonio de Padua, its patron, on June 13; but it also celebrates the Virgin of Candelaria each February 2, and Jesús Nazareno on August 30. Furthermore, each June 23 the community celebrates the night of San Juan with games, stories, folk music and Chiloé cuisine.
Nuestra Señora de Gracia de Quinchao
Its Patron Saint is Nuestra Señora de Gracia celebrated each year on December 8.
The construction of this Church began in the 18th century, but it was not completed until 1888. As the vast majority of the Chiloé churches, the Quinchao temple has suffered the ravages of the environment, and had to be repaired and restored. In 1910, it was partially rebuilt, probably after being affected by a storm; subsequently, the exterior corridors were removed. Later, after the 1960 earthquake, concrete foundations were added, and in 1993 it was reinforced with wooden posts that can be seen outside, along with a smaller general intervention. Finally, in the 2007 to 2010 period, its tower-façade and subsequently its nave and dome were restored.
The community of this church is made up not only by the inhabitants of Quinchao, or the island, but by a large number of worshippers who gather here every December 8 to celebrate its Patron Saint, coming here from the most remote spots of the archipelago.
San Antonio de Vilupulli
Its Patron Saint is San Antonio de Padua, a celebration held every year on June 13.
Installed on top of a hill which overlooks the Yal channel, the location of the Vilupulli Church reminds us of the meaning of the town, which in Mapudungún, the Mapuche language, means “Serpent Hill”.
This church was built around 1900 by the community itself, which, to accomplish the task, organized the so-called mingas: collaborative working sessions. In the mid-20th century, the inhabitants would once again take on a leading role in the care of the building, when they participated in the installation of the bell on the church’s tower. The contribution of the community in caring for the temple not only takes place in specific moments, but is permanent, and can be observed in its current conservation condition.
In 2005, the Church underwent a heritage intervention which repaired its tower-façade.
Jesús Nazareno de Aldachildo
Its Patron saint is Jesus the Nazarene whose festivity is held every year on August 30.
Although there are records of a chapel in 1734, the Church was built between 1905 and 1910 in cypress and coigüe wood, and covered with larch, and it stands out because of its simplicity and splendor. Its tower is constructed of two octagonal pieces, the same as the piece on which the cross rests. The portico has pillars and arches, and the great central nave inside is decorated with flowers.
A few years back, the local community, usually keen to care for and repair their churches, decided to abandon it and, instead, build a new temple. However, when the materials for the new church had already been purchased, the idea was scrapped. Finally, the community opted for an intervention that brought together local master carpenters who managed to solve some urgent problems. That process took place between 1995 and 1996. Ten years later, the village restored the tower-façade and in 2010 one of the aisles.
Natividad de María de Ichuac
Its Patron Saint is the Virgin of the Candelaria, a celebration held each February 2.
The first chapel that existed in Detif was built in 1734. By then, it was the fifteenth community to be visited during the Circular Mission tour. The current church dates back to the early 19th century, and together with the Colo church, it is the smallest of the world heritage temples.
This church community, consisting of little more than twenty houses and no more residents from nearby areas, has left its mark inside the temple, where a visitor can observe small boats hanging from the ceiling - offerings left by worshippers seeking favors, probably related to the marine trades.
Beautiful images of Saints that are inside the Church have been restored, similar to the exterior parts of the temple and whose finishes were repaired between 2000 and 2001.
Santiago Apóstol de Detif
Its Patron Saint is the Virgin of Lourdes, a celebration held each year on March 25.
This church was built by the Ichuac community. The process took about five years and some 150 people were involved.
It was consecrated on December 8, 1880, a day on which the Immaculate Concepcion of Virgin Mary is celebrated. Since then it has undergone several interventions to preserve its heritage value. After the 1960 earthquake, a third tower beam or drum was removed reducing its height to prevent it from collapsing.
Then, around 2005, the façade and the tower were repaired, and the images found inside were restored, the most important being the Nativity, the Candelaria, the Mercy and the Immaculate Virgin.
Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chonchi
Its Patron Saint is Nuestra Señora del Rosario whose celebration is held on October 7 of each year.
The Church is located opposite Chonchi’s main square.
It is the fourth temple which has existed in the place, and has undergone numerous restorations. Between 1995 and 1996 it was restored, and a small chapel for the community’s daily use was built. Other patrimonial interventions were carried out in 2003 and 2009. The tower – façade, which had been hit by a strong storm, was restored in the first restoration while the second focused on strengthening the structure of the lateral aisle.
Inside the Church, one can see signs of these interventions. The foundations of the old church can be observed through a glass piece located on the floor of the altar, while details of an ancient painting, which decorated the interior with natural and geometric motifs can be seen on the altarpiece of the aisle which is next the altar.
Nuestra Señora de Gracia de Nercón
Its Patron saints are Virgen de Gracia and Arcangel San Miguel whose festivities are celebrated each year on September 8 and September 29 respectively
The current church seems a relic of the past. Flanked by an enclosed porch and a traditional Chiloé cemetery, the Nercón temple reminds us that churches are more than mere buildings and are inserted in the center of an active religious community.
The interior part of the Church emphasizes the colors of the main nave and the choir room, with a stamped design that emulates marble on wooden columns. The furnishings stand out because of the delicacy of the altars and altarpieces that hold religious imagery. Special attention should be given to the altar on the left side, where the full-sized polychrome figure of San Miguel Arcángel can be seen. Local tradition says that this image was made by a local craftsman from a tree found in the forest. San Miguel is holding a scimitar in the right hand and a banner in the left, while under his feet there is a bearded, wild-eyed and open-mouthed Lucifer
Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Caguach
The Sanctuary’s Patron Saint is Jesus the Nazarene and the festivity is celebrated on August 30.
When organizing the festivity of the patron, the Caguach community is accompanied by the inhabitants of four other locations: Alao, Chaulinec, Apiao and Tac, which, since the arrival of the image of Jesús Nazareno, have maintained a close relationship with the Caguach people. Other parishioners coming from different places also join in the celebrations. The celebration is held around an image of Christ the Nazarene of Caguach, which is taken out of the Church by the worshippers and carried in a procession. This is one of the most powerful images and replicated along the archipelago, and it is thought that it was brought to Caguach in 1778 by a Franciscan missionary, Friar Hilario Martínez.
The image of the Nazarene survived the fire that destroyed the former temple in 1919. According to local stories, the day following the fire the Caguach community got together to start the construction of a new temple ‐ the one we can see today ‐ that was completed in 1925.
Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chelín
Its Patron Saint is Nuestra Señora del Rosario whose festivity is held on August 30 of every year.
The construction of the Church existing today on the Chelín Island was completed in 1888.
This temple, located far away from the main tourist routes in the archipelago, is one of the best examples of the so-called Chiloé School of Religious Architecture in Wood. The construction is in the Neoclassical style that is clearly visible in its façade, flanked by six columns, and in the decorations and paintings that imitate marble inside the temple.
At the beginning of the 1990’s, the Church underwent a careful intervention, in which its historical and architectural integrity was maintained. Between 2014 and 2015, it was completely restored.
Behind the Church there is a road that connects it with the town cemetery. It’s a traditional cemetery, where the graves are covered with small houses made in the likeness of the typical Chiloé dwellings and are meant to be the final residence for the deceased.