Santiponce, built on top of the ruins of Italica, is a small town just north of Sevilla, Spain. In this town is the Monasterio de San Isidoro del Campo, a Monastery built in 1301 and the place of what some may say is the birthplace of the Spanish Reformation. Casiodoro de Reina was a monk here, and as others who gathered inspiration from St. Jerome, who did a lot of writing, he started the translation of the Bible into Spanish which would be eventually published in 1569. It was eventually called Bible of the Bear due to the art of a Bear in the front pages. Reina was chased out of the monastery not too long after arriving there, due to the protestant tendencies that were practiced there. This is a very basic overview of the history of this place. Cipriano de Valera was also a monk at this monastery, who fled with Reina, and worked on editing Reina’s translation. Not too much, just small grammar changes and a bit of reorganizing. About 30 years after fleeing, Valera said, “If God one day should have mercy on Sevilla, it would make sense that this monastery (San Isidoro del Campo) would become a university where theology is taught.” And this is where the Abre Foundation and I come into play.
The Abre Foundation seeks to restore the Monastery back to it’s original glory and purpose. You can find more about what they do on their website, https://fundacionabre.org/en/ Whether it happens or not, is up to God, but they are always hopeful, or else they would not even be trying. My job was to record interviews of people involved, and make a video about the history, and the future of the monastery, to raise awareness of what the Abre Foundation wants to do.
Not knowing very much Spanish was kind of frustrating, but I slowly learned some as I went on. For the first few days that I was in Santiponce, the Theological Seminary was putting on a conference. After getting into the airport, I joined the members of the conference and the people at the seminary for breakfast, and was shown around where I was staying for the week. Over the next few days, I sat through lectures about the history of the monastery and of the Spanish Bible, recording interviews between sessions. It was all in Spanish so I didn’t learn much, but I translated titles of slides and Googled what I could. To be surrounded by people of incredible knowledge and not be able to understand what they are saying is slightly frustrating to say the least. And now I am studying Spanish as much as I can, so next time I go, I will be able to hopefully at least understand a bit more.
I asked, knowing it was unlikely, if I could use my drone to get some footage of the Monastery. Chris (the guy who brought me over to do this project) said he would contact the mayor and check. And it worked out! So I was able to fly my drone around the monastery and get some awesome shots of it. Later on in the week, they put on a concert at the Monastery. Man, the singers and musicians were amazing. And in this huge chapel that was built hundreds of years ago.
Near the end, we went out for supper with a couple that was from the church that we went to there. Jose Manuel told us his testimony and it blew us all away. Our jaws dropped as he told us his story, and he said he couldn’t believe it himself! But others were telling him it was true, so he couldn’t be dreaming! It was really cool to hear how God was working in his life.
I have met a whole bunch of incredible cool, and extremely kind people during my time in Santiponce. People from England, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, the States, and of course, Spain. The kindness and the generosity of these people were incredible. And to hear about why they studied what they did, to get PhD’s in things like missions work or a single word in the New Testament, was inspiring to say the least. I am incredible grateful to have come to Santiponce, to have met all of these people, and to hopefully share their story, in the best way that I can.
I am now in Italy, after two early morning flights, and a couple days in Barcelona just to relax, and I will have another post about what is happening here soon!