Nora Johnson – A brush with history

In an attempt to smarten up his church for Holy Week, a local priest on Tenerife, Héctor Lunar, unintentionally whitewashed listed 300-year-old frescoes at St. Anthony of Padua Church in El Tanque. The blunder sparked outrage among locals, leading to an investigation by the Canary Islands’ government.

Lunar, once threatened in Venezuela for criticizing the regime, claimed ignorance of the frescoes’ protected status. The 16th-century church, rebuilt after a volcanic eruption in 1706, held the hidden gems under protective paint.

Lunar admitted that he had no idea what was on the walls he ordered to be stripped and repainted, and that the church’s heritage status meant he should have first consulted the Canary Islands’ government.

Local and regional heritage experts are examining the walls to see if the frescoes can be salvaged.  Meanwhile, his apology was accepted by the local religious brotherhood that had called for him to be replaced as parish priest.

In this island drama, with tensions as hot as Tenerife’s volcanic past, only time will tell if Lunar’s blunder will fade into history or leave a lasting mark on El Tanque’s cultural legacy. Indeed, the priest’s inadvertent brushstroke serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us all to tread carefully when painting over history.

Meanwhile, locals jest, “Only in Tenerife could a priest’s brush be mightier than his sermon!”

Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers, including the latest ‘The Couple across the Street’ (, all available online at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.     


Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.