The Saint Mary Church of Rilán (Iglesia Santa María de Rilán) is a Catholic Temple located in front of the Central Square of the village of Rilán, in the Peninsula with the same name, in the municipality of Castro. The name Rilán means “no pass”, which alludes to the situation of its location, at the end of the peninsula.
The first version of the church would have been located where the square is today. The current temple appears registered in the parish files in 1903. However, its construction took place between the years 1908 and 1920, a contemporary of the temple in Castro, where the techniques and building solutions used in Rilán came from. Nevertheless, the quick construction of its primary structure and the roman numerals on parts of the parish have allowed restorers to hypothesize that it was prebuilt.
According to the writings of Father Gabriel Guarda, the carpenter in charge of the site was Francisco Oyarzo from Curahue, who would have constructed the church and parish house with a group of carpenters who called themselves “The 80”. In addition, this group would also have built the temples in Dalcahue, Curaco de Velez, Quilquico, and Yutuy.
With a stone foundation, the church was built with a three-nave basilica floor plan, in an eclectic style, with architectural elements from neogothic, neo classical, and neo roman styles. It is 37.5 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 9 meters high in its central nave. With wooden shingles in the exterior, it presents a façade consisting of pillars, as well as semicircular, diminished, and pointed arches. The tower, almost 28 meters high, consists of one base and two bodies: the first with a square plan, the second and third octagonal ending in a spire. Its interior holds a ribbed vault proper of neogothic style, similar to that of the Saint Francis Church of Castro (Iglesia San Francisco de Castro), in addition to columns and semicircular arches separating the main and lateral naves.
The wood for the construction was taken from Dalcahue to Rilán on yokes of oxen, but the damage and death of the cattle due to exhaustion led to looking for new ways to transport material, which was eventually done using rafts with paddles. Among the types of wood utilized for its construction are tepa for the structures, interior and portico cladding; ulmo in some areas of the floor; cypress in windows, portico doors, shed of the gable and a small area in the altar; tenío in some pillars of the colonnade; and larch for the external cladding of the tower, lateral partition walls and rear. The tower eaves and spire roof are made of thick metal standing seams.
It was declared National Monument in July 1971 and World Heritage by UNESCO in 2000. Its main festivity is celebrated on February 11, honoring Our Lady of Lourdes, patron of the Church.
Address: 515 Emilio Marquez St., Rilán, Castro, Los Lagos Region
Main Religious festivity: Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11)
Parish Priest: Luis Angulo Martínez
Churches of Chilote School
World Heritage Churches
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