La Colecturía de Diezmos (Collector of Tithes)

During the viceroyalty, the diocese of Puebla was one of the richest of the time. Interestingly, its wealth was not based solely on gold and jewelry, but on the region's large harvests.

By Cocina Cinco Fuegos

La colecturía de diezmos (1) (2015) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

This building used to be called the "Collector of surrounding tithes," It corresponds to the warehouses dedicated to the storage of grains, mainly wheat, that the Catholic faithful paid in kind as a tithe to the church from 1531, when the City of Puebla de los Ángeles was founded, until the mid-19th century.

La colecturía de diezmos (2) (2015) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

A tithe was the main income perceived by the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the angelopolitan diocese. This was equivalent to 10 per cent of annual agricultural production for each adult parishioner or head of family, who had to contribute that amount to the support of their ministers of worship.

La colecturía de diezmos (3) (2015) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

This tithe was particularly aimed at those who integrated their venerable cathedral chapter, a sort of Ecclesiastical Senate of careful intellectual preparation.

La colecturía de diezmos (4) (2019) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

Many of them had master's and doctoral degrees, so they assisted the bishop in the government and administration of the bishopric, which during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries covered the present states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Veracruz, plus part of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Mexico. 

La colecturía de diezmos (5) (2020) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

This diocesan extension was divided into more than one hundred and fifty parishes in whose territorial jurisdiction a large number of convents, monasteries, schools, churches, chapels and hermitages were located in which the parishioners met.

La colecturía de diezmos (6) (2020) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

However, the tithe collected in the Tlaxcalensis diocese based in the city of Puebla was aimed at covering the fees of the bishop and his 27 prebendary members of his cathedral chapter. 

La colecturía de diezmos (7) (2020) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

Tithe collection was extremely large (200 thousand gold pesos per year) thanks to the fertile lands of the Tlaxcalteca valley of Puebla and the warm, temperate and cold land of the different bishopric plots.

La colecturía de diezmos (8) (2020) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

This made the bishopric of Puebla the richest in America. His annual tithe income was twice as high as the archbishopric of Mexico, the hierarchical head of the Spanish Church.

La colecturía de diezmos (9) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

For this reason, the prebendary of Puebla was highly coveted when some of them were left vacant because of death or promotion of their holder. In general, the most prepared priests in America, the Caribbean, Manila and Spain itself asked to fill them.

La colecturía de diezmos (10) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

In the ten barns strategically distributed throughout the whole of the Puebla-Tlaxcala bishopric, tithes in kind from the neighboring territories were collected or concentrated. For this reason these places were known as "Collectors of tithes".

La colecturía de diezmos (12) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

The main collection agency was established in the capital of Puebla and was called "Collector of surrounding tithes."  This site concentrated on the tithe corn and wheat of the jurisdiction of what was the major town hall of Puebla.

La colecturía de diezmos (11) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the two previous Collectors were smaller and located in very close grounds to the municipal palace in the historical center.

La colecturía de diezmos (13) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

In 1713 the Collector was relocated to the present calle 3 Sur 1108, a place where the original dimensions of the land were from the present avenue 11 poniente to the 13 poniente. That is, it occupies half of one of the original blocks of the city of Puebla.

La colecturía de diezmos (15) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

In this historic property, the price of wheat was regulated. In extreme cases, their products were used to alleviate times of famine, as happened in the year 1692 when Bishop Manuel Fernández of Santacruz ordered the opening of the doors of their bishopric barns and the distribution of the grains stored in them among the most needy population.

La colecturía de diezmos (16) (2020) by Blas Cernicchiaro M.Cocina Cinco Fuegos

The use that it had as a place of storage of grains from the religious tithe was until the mid-nineteenth century, due to the application of the Juarista reform laws, which made it private property. Unfortunately during the first half of the 20th century part of the arcades of its barns were destroyed.

La colecturía de diezmos (17) (2020) by Dulce PinzónCocina Cinco Fuegos

At present, the surviving ruins are in the process of being restored to house the architectural project of a community of 11 self-sufficient and sustainable houses in terms of food and energy, returning to the building the dignity, importance and greatness with which it was created.

Credits: Story

Curador: Blas Cernicchiaro M. 
Fotógrafos: Blas Cernicchiaro M. Dulce Pinzón

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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