July 27, 2021

Iglesia Parroquial Mayor of Sancti Spiritus Turns 340 (+photos)

This church is considered as the oldest and most important architectonic monument of Sancti Spiritus, the fourth village founded in Cuba by Spaniard Diego Velázquez

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The Iglesia Parroquial Mayor of Sancti Spiritus holds the status of National Monument since 1978. (Photo: Oscar Alfonso Sosa).

The Iglesia Parroquial Mayor, one of the emblematic architectural jewels of the city of Sancti Spíritus, central Cuba, has just turned 340 years old.

This Roman-and-Baroque style church, featuring relevant architectural values, is considered the oldest on the Island of Cuba and one of the first to hold religious services.

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The church building is typical of the most advanced period of the XVII century. (Photo: Oscar Alfonso Sosa).

It was originally built in Pueblo Viejo, a location near the Tuinicú River, where Diego Velázquez founded the town of Espíritu Santo back in 1514. Later on, when the village was moved next to the Yayabo River, a new larger wooden parish was constructed.

Some time later, due to the population growth of the territory, the metropolis projected a new temple that would be the current Greater Iglesia Parroquial Mayor.

Bishop Fray Alonso Enríquez de Almendáriz made the first episcopal visit to the village in 1661, and sent King Felipe II a letter stating that he ordered the rebuilding of the church because it was not spacious enough, according to his point of view.

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This ancient and well-preserved church is considered Cuba’s oldest. (Photo: A. del Valle).

The new building, which included a house for the priest attached to the temple, was built between 1620 and 1680 with the monetary contribution of Sergeant-Major Don Ignacio de Valdivia.

This ancient and well-preserved church is considered Cuba’s oldest because the ones built in Baracoa and Bayamo, two of the villages founded before 1514, don’t exist anymore.

Texto de Escambray

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