Despite deaths of its chief promoters, Mexican cult of Santa Muerte prospers. Doctrines of Devils. Death Reigns Supreme in Mexico!!! 10 Million Members. 10 is a doubling of satanic influence (2×5).
July 5, 2019. Religion News Service.
SANTA ANA CHAPITIRO, Mexico (RNS) — Since before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the image of death has loomed over Mexico, present in festivals, rituals, music, dance and literature. The Mesoamerican cultures that preceded the colonial era had six days a year to celebrate death. A much newer addition is the cult of Santa Muerte, which has become increasingly popular in the past two decades.
The cult to Santa Muerte has been gaining more devotees every year in Mexico and has expanded to the United States and areas of Central America. A blend of Roman Catholic and indigenous influences, Santa Muerte is a female folk saint that goes by many names, including la Niña Blanca, la Hermana Blanca, la Niña Bonita, la Dama Poderosa, and la Madrina among others. The Catholic Church condemns the cult.
In this small town near Mexico City, the growth of Santa Muerte’s popularity can be traced to a single family that built the world’s largest statue to the folk saint. The Temple of Santa Muerte International was created by the Jonathan Legaria Vargas, known as “the Pantera Commander,” in the early 2000’s.
The Pantera Commander was killed in a shooting in 2008 and his mother, Enriqueta Vargas, took over his growing cult. Under Enriqueta Vargas’ guidance, Santa Muerte International grew dramatically from 2008 until her death in 2018, and is now estimated to have more than 10 million followers worldwide, according to “Devoted to Death,” an academic study of Sante Muerte by Andrew Chesnut, professor of religion at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Santa Muerte International has a 70-foot tall statue of Holy Death at their temple on the northern stretches of Mexico City.
Since Enriqueta Vargas’ death last year, her daughter Kristhel Legaria Vargas is the head of the temple. And while many demographic groups have joined the cult of Santa Muerte, younger women have been one of the largest groups joining the church.