San Xavier: The Mystery of the Mission’s Missing Lions

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In 1982, two hand-carved wooden lions dating from 1797 vanished from the chancel at Mission San Xavier del Bac. In 1988, the reproductions shown above made by brothers Hector and Jorge Ortega were installed and fastened down to prevent theft. I never knew what happened to the originals until I visited today and heard two guides tell tour groups that a mentally challenged janitor wrote to a priest at the mission 16 years later and asked for forgiveness because he had taken them out back to an incinerator and burned them.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1982, 1988, Architecture, Cold Cases, Religion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to San Xavier: The Mystery of the Mission’s Missing Lions

  1. Stacia says:

    Oh no! Did he say why he did it?

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