PANAMA CITY, PANAMA, DECEMBER 19 2006.  The Golden Altar of the Church of San Jose, on December 19th 2006. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY; Shutterstock ID 157436489; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

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Iglesia de San José

Panama City

This Casco Viejo church protects the famous Altar de Oro (Golden Altar), the sole relic salvaged after privateer Henry Morgan sacked Panamá Viejo.

According to local legend, when word came of Morgan’s impending attack, a priest attempted to disguise the altar by painting it black. The priest told Morgan that the famous altar had been stolen by another pirate, and even convinced Morgan to donate handsomely for its replacement. Morgan is said to have told the priest, ‘I don’t know why, but I think you are more of a pirate than I am.’ Whatever the truth, the baroque altar was later moved from the old city to the present site.

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