The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the skies of Mexico City is the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Mexico and is located on the north side of the Plaza de la Constitución in the Historic Center of Mexico City, in the Cuauhtémoc Demarcation. Being part of the aforementioned architectural complex in that area of the city, it is a World Heritage Site since 1987.
The approximate measures of this temple are 59 meters wide by 128 long and a height of 67 meters to the tip of the towers. It is one of the most outstanding works of Spanish-American architecture. It was built according to plans by the Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega, who was inspired by Spanish cathedrals, around a church that was erected on the site shortly after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan. The works began in 1573, finished inside in 1667 and abroad until 1813.
Due to the long time it took to build it, just under 250 years, practically all the principal architects, painters, sculptors, gilders and other plastic artists of the Viceroyalty worked at some time in the building of the enclosure. That same condition, that of its extensive building period, allowed the integration of the various architectural styles that were in force and in vogue in those centuries: Gothic, Baroque, Churrigueresque, Neoclassical, among others. The same situation experienced the different ornaments, paintings, sculptures and furniture inside.
Its realization meant a point of social cohesion, since it involved the same ecclesiastical, governmental authorities, different brotherhoods and religious brotherhoods, as multiple generations of social groups of all kinds.
It is also, as a consequence of the influence of the Catholic church in public life, that the property was intertwined with events of historical significance for the societies of New Spain and independent Mexico. To name a few, there is the coronation of Agustín de Iturbide and Ana María Huarte as emperors of Mexico by the President of Congress; the protection of the funeral remains of the mentioned monarch; burial until 1925 of several of the heroes of independence such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and José María Morelos y Pavón; the disputes between liberals and conservatives caused by the separation of the church and the state in the Reformation; the closing of the property in the days of the Cristero War; the visits of Pope John Paul II (January 26, 1979) and Francisco (February 13, 2016); the bicentennial celebrations of independence, among others.
The cathedral has four facades in which doors are opened flanked by columns and statues. It has five ships that are composed of 51 vaults, 74 arches and 40 columns; There are two bell towers that currently contain 35 bells. Inside there are two large altars, the sacristy and the choir. There are sixteen chapels dedicated to different saints, whose construction was sponsored by different religious brotherhoods. The chapels are richly adorned with altars, altarpieces, paintings, furniture and sculptures. In the cathedral choir there are two of the largest eighteenth-century organs on the continent. Under the building there is a crypt in which rest the remains of some archbishops of Mexico. Next to the cathedral is the tabernacle, inside which the baptistery is located.
The main facade of the cathedral has a south orientation. It opens three doors, the central one being larger than the lateral ones. The central door is flanked by pairs of columns separated by niches in which are the sculptures of St. Peter and St. Paul. Above the door is a marble relief of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, inspired by a work by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as the rest of the reliefs on the facades; flanked equally by pairs of columns, you are Trisóstilas, in whose niches are the sculptures of San Andrés and San Mateo. Above, is the shield of Mexico, with the eagle with wings extended. The set is completed by the clock tower, on which are the sculptures that represent Faith, Hope and Charity, works by sculptor Manuel Tolsá. Sculpture of Hope fell during the earthquake on September 19, 2017.
The west facade was built in 1688 and rebuilt in 1804. It presents a cover divided into three sections with images of the four evangelists. It presents a great relief that represents Jesus giving the keys of heaven to St. Peter. For its part, the east cover is similar to the previous one, with four apostles occupying the niches, with Saint Peter at the head, and a relief of the Church’s nave sailing through the seas of eternity. The north facade was built in the 16th century in the Herrera style, it is the oldest part of the cathedral and the one with the lowest height.
Three reliefs in white marble. The central represents the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The one on the left side shows the delivery of the keys of Heaven to San Pedro; the one on the right hand side, the Church Boat. On the clock there are three representative figures of the theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity. Faith holds a cross, Hope an anchor and Charity holds two children. The clock and the sculptures are due to Tolsá, as well as the balustrades and flowers that crown the whole set.
The towers were built between 1787 and 1791, although the base and first body of the eastern tower was built between 1642 and 1672. The works were in charge of the architect José Damián Ortiz de Castro. The towers of the cathedral have a height of between 64 and 67 meters whose interior access is made through ellipsoidal stairs built in wood. The top of the towers is bell-shaped, built with tezontle rock from Chiluca. Both towers are crowned by a metal cross on a metal sphere. The sphere of the eastern tower was used as a time capsuleIn 2007, during the restoration works of the cathedral, a lead box with religious medals, coins of the time, a reliquary, a palm cross, various images of saints and prayers and authorized testimonies were discovered inside by the cabildo of the cathedral. Under the sphere, in the highest part of the tower, was the inscription “May 14, 1791. Tibursio Cano” carved in the stone. The cross of the east tower fell during the earthquake of September 19, 2017.
Each tower has eight representative sculptures of protective saints of the city, being four of doctors of the Western Church and the other four of doctors of the Church in Spain. The sculptures of the western tower are the work of José Zacarías Cora and represent Gregorio Magno, Agustín de Hipona, Leandro de Sevilla, Fulgencio de Cartagena, San Francisco Javier and Santa Bárbara. On the other hand, those of the eastern tower were sculpted by Santiago Cristóbal de Sandoval and represent Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Mary, Saint Philip of Jesus, Saint Hippolytus and Saint Isidro Labrador.
The two towers have space to house 56 bells, although, today there are 35, 25 being located in the western tower and 10 in the eastern. The largest bell of all has the name “Santa María de Guadalupe”, was founded by Salvador de la Vega in 1791 and placed in 1793, weighs about thirteen tons. The oldest bell was cast in 1578, and is known as “Santa María de la Asunción” or “Doña María”, it weighs approximately 7 tons and was placed in 1653, as well as “La Ronca”, well known as his grave tone The most modern is from 2002, was placed on the occasion of the canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin and was blessed by Pope John Paul II.
The bells of the cathedral have chimed in important moments in the history of Mexico, thus, they summoned the town to the demise of El Parián in 1682, they chimed in the coronation of Emperor Agustín de Iturbide and in his death and burial, they summoned the people to the defense of the city before the US invasion the 14 of September of 1847 and marked the beginning of the festivities of the centenary of national independence on September 15 of 1910 and the beginning of the festivities of the Bicentennial of national Independence on 15 September 2010. They ring in their entirety every year at the Corpus Chisti party, on the night of September 15, on Christmas night, at the New Year’s Mass and at Easter Mass.
It ended with adaptations to the Ortiz de Castro project. Inside, the Assumption of the Virgin was also represented (Rafael Ximeno y Planes, 1810). The dome that exists today, is the work of Manuel Tolsá, and octagonal drum, raised to the center of the cruise, on four columns and topped by a lantern. The current windows are by Matías Goeritz. In the fire of 1967, caused by a short circuit in the Altar of Forgiveness, the painting of the Assumption was consumed.
This disappeared in the forties of the twentieth century. On the occasion of the Jubilee of the year 2000, a new table of the main altar was made to replace the previous one. This was built in modernist style by architect Ernesto Gómez Gallardo.
Altar of the Kings
The Altar of the Kings is located in the apse of the temple, behind the Main Altar. It is the work of Jerónimo de Balbás, author among others of the altar of Forgiveness of this same cathedral, and of the disappeared Main Altar of the Church of the Tabernacle of the Cathedral of Seville. Its construction began in 1718, it is made in churrigueresco style in white cedar wood and ayacahuitePandorada, was completed in 1737 by Francisco Martínez, which makes it the oldest Churrigueresque work in Mexico. It measures 25 meters high, 13.75 m wide and 7.5 m deep, due to these dimensions it is known as «the golden cave». It was restored in 2003.
The altarpiece is divided into three streets, presenting an exuberant composition of pilasters, columns, foliage, garlands and cherubs. It takes its name from the carvings of saints belonging to royalty that are part of its decoration. At the bottom, from left to right, six canonized queens appear: Daisy of Scotland, Helena of Constantinople, Isabel of Hungary, Isabel of Portugal, Cunegunda of Luxembourg and Edith de Wilton. In the center of the altar are six canonized kings: Hermenegildo, Henry II of the Holy Germanic Roman Empire, Eduardo the Confessorand Casimir of Poland, located in a lower position, and Louis IX of France and Ferdinand III of Castile, located in a position superior to the previous four. In the center of these kings is an oil painting of the Adoration of the Kings by Juan Rodríguez Juárez that shows Jesus as King of kings. The upper part has a painting of the Assumption of the Virgin, by the same author, as a celestial queen. The assumption painting is flanked by two oval bas-reliefs depicting Saint Joseph with the child Jesus and Saint Teresa of Avilawith a pen in his hand and the Holy Spirit, who inspires her to write, above her. The altarpiece is completed with the images of Christ and Mary surrounded by angels that carry attributes of praise to the virgin such as Sealed Fountain, Golden House, Living Water Well and Tower of David. The set is crowned by a double golden vault in which the image of God the Father holding the world appears.
The choir stalls are made in an excellent tapincerán carving. It has two levels of seats: the high for canons and the low for six and sochantres. In the upper part it presents 59 reliefs of bishops and saints made in mahogany, walnut, cedar and tepehuaje. The choir stalls were made by Juan de Rojas between 1696 and 1697. It was also damaged in the 1967 fire.
In the center of the choir, between the fence and the stalls, is a mahogany facistol, adorned with ivory figures, one of which is a crucifix that crowns the entire work. It is used to hold the singing books, and is made up of three bodies.
The cover of the choir and the creak were made according to the design of the painter Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez under the supervision of sangley Quiauló. The gate of the choir was made in 1722 Sangley Queaulo. He built it in Macau, China, using tumbaga and calain. It was released in 1730 replacing a previous wooden one.
The cathedral has had several organs in its history. The first time it is known of its existence is a written report to the king of Spain in 1530, although details of it do not appear. In 1655, Diego de Sebaldos built an organ. The first great organ was built by Jorge de Sesma in Madrid in 1690 and was inducted into the cathedral by Tiburcio Sanz in 1695. The two current organs of the cathedral were built in Mexico by the Spanish José Nassarre between 1734 and 1736. In the organ of the Epistle, Nassarre reused elements of the organ of Jorge de Sesma. In the fire of 1967 they suffered important damages, reason why they were restored in 1978 and later restored between 2008 and 2014 by Gerhard Grenzing.
Altar of Forgiveness
It is located in the trascoro, in the front of the central nave. The altarpiece was made by the Spanish architect Jerónimo de Balbás in 1735, being one of his most important works. It is baroque, finished in gold leaf, represents the first use of the stipe in the Americas, in which, the columns represent the human body. In early 1967 there was a fire in the cathedral that damaged the altar. Thanks to the restoration practiced, today you can admire a great work of viceregal art.
It is called that because it is behind the door of the same name. Although there are two other legends about the origin of the name, the first states that those condemned by the Inquisition were taken to the altar to apologize before their execution. The second refers to the painter Simon Pereyns, author of many works in the cathedral, which was reportedly accused of blasphemy and sentenced to prison, while in prison, painted a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary, so his crime He was forgiven.
On this altar is the image of Jesus Christ crucified made of corn cane paste known as the Lord of the Poison. The image dates back to the 18th century and was originally in the chapel of the Porta Coeli Seminary in Mexico City, but after it was closed to public worship in 1935, it was transferred to the Metropolitan Cathedral. His party is celebrated on October 19.
Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows of Granada
The chapel serves as a seat to the oldest tower in the temple, was roofed between 1624 and 1627, and was originally used as a sacristy. The chapel has a medieval style, with the ribbed vault and two simple altarpieces. In his right side altarpiece he has an oval painting from the 16th century, the work of the Flemish painter Martín de Vos, San Rafael, archangel and the young Tobias. At the top of this altarpiece is a painting of the Virgen del Carmen and above this other painting of the Last Supper. The frontal altarpiece that presides over the chapel, is of churrigueresco style, and is presided by a painting of the Virgin of the Angustias of Granada.
In the nineteenth century the original side altarpiece bank was lost, so in 1964 another one prepared by Miguel Ángel Soto was placed, commissioned by the Diocesan Order and Decoro Commission. The main altarpiece was mutilated in the twentieth century. A sculpture that housed San Felipe de Jesus is now in Tepotzotlán and a canvas by San Nicolás de Bari was integrated into the pictorial collection that was located in the tabernacle and was later dismantled.
Chapel of San Isidro
Also known as the chapel of the Holy Black Christ, The Lord of Poison. Also finished between 1624 and 1627, it communicates internally to the Cathedral with the Tabernacle, because the Cabildo decided to open an access that turned it into a “simple passage”. It has a baroque cover in gray quarry, the work of Lorenzo Rodríguez (late 1767 and early 1768) that today is severely fractured, due to a severe crack that appeared in the eastern processional nave and that left the entire chapel. The kinship of this cover “goes more with the window frames than. .. with the exterior covers of the building”, due to the composition of the crowns of the frames.
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
When his vault was finished during the construction period of 1624-1648, he originally had a “reticulated altarpiece, with Solomonic supports dating in the last third of the 17th century” dedicated to Santa Ana and with 6 tables by Juan Sánchez Salmerón. Only two paintings placed in the chapel of the Divine Providence are conserved in the church: the Annunciation to Santa Ana and the betrothal of the Virgin. The fabrics dedicated to La Purísima with San Joaquín and Santa Ana, The Archangel’s appearance to San Joaquín and The Birth of the Virgin are now located in the Viceroyalty Museum.
On July 21, 1752, Canon Joaquín Zorrilla gave the chapel an important silver lamp that was cast in 1847. The senior sacristan, Bachelor Ventura López, was not far behind and also donated a “niche of scourged glass, within which there were two Agnus waxes and some relics; plus a Holy Child lying on a wooden cross, with two oversized silver flappers ”, in addition to emeralds and fine pearls. The fate of these pieces is unknown.
The Michoacan archbishop Labastida and Dávalos – who decided on his new invocation – ordered the first remodeling of the chapel, placing a neoclassical alabaster altar from the Hacienda de los Negros in Guadalajara, which was shared with the Chapel of San José. Finally rebuilt it was sent to the Temple of the Assumption in the Industrial Colony, where it disappeared in 1985.
In the twentieth century, the chapel once again obtained a baroque altarpiece of the anástila modality (without columns), that of the Altar of San José, located firstly on the east wall of the north cover. This altar contains works by Simón Pereyns, Baltasar de Echave Orio and José de Ibarra.
A half-point of the seventeenth century representing Jesus in glory and a painting of the Assumption of the Virgin of José Ibarra disappeared, as well as the representative sculptures of Santa Ana, San Joaquin, San Antonio de Padua, San Lorenzo, San Nicolás Tolentino and two holy children.
Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe
It was roofed in the third stage of the building’s enclosure, between 1653 and 1660, and used before the second cathedral consecration, first as a baptistery and then as a boardroom of the archbishopric of the Blessed Sacrament and Charity.
It had 17th-century altarpieces assembled between 1670 and 1675, which were renovated in 1754 through a contract between the archicofradía and José Joaquín de Sáyago, including the altarpiece of Guadalupe and the sides dedicated to San Juan Bautista and canvases of Christ Our Lord. In 1807 it was decided to intervene again these altarpieces by virtue of which “they are already very old, they are remarkably deteriorated and indecent so that it does not correspond to the decorum of the same Holy Church nor to the splendor of a body as illustrious and distinguished as the Archofraternity”. The work is carried out between 1807 and 1809 (according to the opinion of the Royal Academy of San Carlos), by José Martínez de los Ríos, with the collaboration, for seventeen sculptures, of Clemente Terrazas.
Three altars were worked: the plant continued dedicated to the Guadalupana, flanked by San Joaquin and Santa Ana; the left dedicated to San Juan Bautista, with his parents San Zacarías and Santa Isabel; and the right that changed its dedication in 1809, before with canvases of Christ linked to the Blessed Sacrament and then dedicated to the Jesuits San Luis Gonzaga, San Estanislao Kostka and San Juan Francisco Regis.
Chapel of Our Lady of La Antigua
It is dedicated to the Marian invocation of the same name, and in the main, neoclassical altarpiece, the work of Juan de Rojas (1718), there is a copy of the image of the Virgen de la Antigua whose original is in the Cathedral of Seville. This image of Byzantine influence was highly revered by the Spanish population of Mexico City during the colonial period.
Under the image of the virgin there is a magnificent Sevillian sculpture of the Child Jesus, original from the first half of the 17th century and attributed to Juan Martínez Montañés. It is popularly known as The Holy Captive Child, because it remained in Algiers with Francisco Sandoval de Zapata, a rationer of the cathedral, who was taken prisoner by pirates from North Africa in 1622, when he carried the sculpture to Mexico.
St. Peter’s Chapel
The chapel of St. Peter guards two other altarpieces. The first and main one is dedicated to honoring the life of the holy apostle and was built around 1670. It already shows the early Baroque guidelines in which there are still Mannerist elements such as lazaric reliefs, brackets and pincers.
The altarpiece is formed by three bodies, the last of which is integrated into the architectural space leaving the window opening in the center. The altarpiece deserves a special mention for its general decoration in which the varied vegetal and inanimate motifs of the Baroque stand out. As for the paintings of this altarpiece, it has not been possible to know for sure who the authors were, these are works whose theme is the life of St. Peter, and in a passage the martyrdom of the apostle who asked to be crucified of head “for not being worthy of dying as your teacher.”
Chapel of the Holy Christ and the Relics
It was built between 1610 and 1615 dedicated to the Holy Christ of the Conquerors. Also it receives the name of Chapel of relics by the famous relics kept in the baroque altarpieces. According to some historians the image of the crucified Christ known as the “Holy Christ of the Conquerors” (S. XVI or XVII) was a gift from Carlos V, others argue that it is a work done in these lands, the truth is that already In the first cathedral he received great veneration.
The paintings and sculptures stage moments of the passion of Christ joining this theme the passion or torment of the saints and saints martyrs. The sculpture of the “Holy Burial” is used every year in the procession of Good Friday. The altarpiece on the right has a Virgin of Guadalupe in the center, by José de Ibarra, before whom Santa María de Guadalupe was sworn in as the General and Universal Patron of all the kingdoms of New Spain on December 4, 1746, and that conserves a relic of the ayate of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. The relics of this chapel are exhibited annually on the day of all saints and the day of the deceased faithful (November 1 and 2). According to tradition, in this chapel relics of, among others, San Vicente de Zaragoza, San Vito, Santa Úrsula, San Gelasio, San Vital de Milan, as well as a splinter of Vera Cruz and a crown spine are guarded of Jesus.
Chapel of Saint Philip of Jesus
The Chapel of San Felipe de Jesús was completed in the first construction stage of the Cathedral, in 1615; its vault was closed in quarry stone with gothic-style ribs, since it is one of the oldest roofs of the temple. Here are the remains of Agustín de Iturbide. Also, the heart of Anastasio Bustamante is preserved here. In this chapel there is a sculpture alluding to the first Mexican saint: San Felipe de Jesús. This work, as seen by many art critics, is the best elaborated stewed, carved and polychrome sculpture in Latin America.
Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows
It is one of the oldest in the Cathedral. Completed around 1600, it was dedicated to the archdioceship of the Blessed Sacrament, which decorated it sumptuously. It was dedicated to the Virgin of Sorrows when the sculpture, the work of Clemente Terrazas, was placed on the central altar. This image was in the chapel of the National Palace at the time of Maximilian I of Mexico.
Chapel of the Lord of Good Dispatch
It premiered on December 8, 1648 and was dedicated to the guild of silversmiths who placed in it two images of solid silver, one of the purest conception and another of San Eligio or Eloy.
The decoration of the entire chapel is neoclassical style belongs to the first half of the nineteenth century.
Chapel of Our Lady of Solitude
The chapel dedicated to the Virgen de la Soledad was opened to worship in the second half of the 17th century. She protects the masons and workers who participated in the construction of the cathedral. The main altarpiece is formed by two bodies and a shot, in it you can see the Solomonic columns of Corinthian capital that separate the entrecalles. She is a virgin of Soledad, copy of a Spanish image. The altarpiece can be located in the 1670-1680 decade thanks to the paintings with the theme of the Passion of Christ made by the painter Pedro Ramírez.
Chapel of San José
Its main altarpiece is Baroque, from the old Church of Our Lady of Montserrat and has in its center the image of Saint Joseph with the Child, surrounded by saints, among which St Bridget of Sweden stands out. The side altarpiece is a composition of baroque paintings, consisting of The Triumph of Faith, The Transfiguration, Circumcision and The Assumption.
There is an old Ecce homo sedentary, popularly called the Lord of cocoa. It is a Mexican sculpture of corn cane from the first cathedral, and much revered by the natives during the colony, who lacked cocoa seeds as an offering, which were considered valuable pieces of change in pre-Hispanic times. Nowadays it is common for children to deposit offerings in the form of candies.
Chapel of San Cosme and San Damián
Among the altarpieces that decorate the interior of the chapel, the principal is dedicated to honoring the tutelary saints of the chapel. It consists of two bodies, the auction and three entrecalles. It is one of the cathedral altarpieces of the 17th century in which it can be affirmed that it has a Mannerist accent and as evidence of them are the striated classicist columns. The altarpiece was conceived to house paintings, which exalt the life of the medical saints Cosme and Damián and are due to the painter Sebastián López Dávalos. In the center there is an old wooden crucifix known as the Lord of Health, which is invoked against diseases and is considered protector of the city in cases of epidemics. The last time the image was taken to the street in procession and transferred to the altar of forgiveness was in 2009, on the occasion of the epidemic of influenza A (H1N1); the image was not taken since 1850, when there was a plague epidemic in the city.
A small side altarpiece is dedicated to the birth of Jesus, and comes from the Franciscan temple of Zinacantepec.
Chapel of the Angels
It serves as a foundation for the western tower, and was completed between 1653 and 1660. This first chapel was destroyed by a fire in 1711, so it was immediately replaced by the current one, completed in 1713. It has some lavish baroque altarpieces with stewed and polychrome sculptures, works by Manuel de Nava, representing the seven archangels.
It is the oldest space in the cathedral. In 1626, when the viceroy Rodrigo Pacheco y Osorio, Marquis de Cerralvo (1624-1635) ordered the demolition of the ancient temple, the Sacristy functioned (until 1641) as the place where the offices were held. Logically there was placed the main altar and according to the inventory of 1632, it had two lecterns, one of gilded iron and the other of silver made by the master Pedro Ceballos.
Inside the sacristy you can admire huge paintings by the Novohispano painters Cristóbal de Villalpando and Juan Correa. The titles of the paintings are: The Triumph of the Church, The appearance of San Miguel, The Woman of the Apocalypse (Villalpando); The Transit of the Virgin and the Entrance of Christ to Jerusalem (Correa). There is also a painting attributed to the Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.
There is not yet enough documentation to give an idea of the interior decoration that was presented between 1641 and 1684, but instead, if there are abundant ornaments and goldsmiths in the inventories of 1632, 1649, 1654 and 1669, giving clues about what there was.
The furniture it houses today is from the last third of the eighteenth century: cabinets and chest of drawers in balsam wood “that faithfully adhere to the precepts that San Carlos Borromeo formulated in this regard”, cardinal and archbishop of Milan, in his factory instructions and of the ecclesiastical ajuar of 1577
Juan de Viera comments that in the headwaters of the Sacristy there were “two mahogany tables from China, black as jet, where the chalices prepared for the sacrifice are placed, being their boards of a piece of two rods wide and two and a half of long”. And he continues to point out that the “caxonera” is made of “exquisite wood of Saongolica stick and others, with its golden locks and distributed in proportion, cupboards with doors of the same wood… and in the circumference… next to the caxones distant two rods, armchairs of the same mahogany. ” These drawers were recently altered due to apparently operating problems.
Toussaint’s 1948 book still records the trousseau of chairs with cabriola legs and a credenza with drawers of domed skirts, cabriola legs and claw, in addition to phytomorphic reliefs.
The cupboard for chalices, originally located on the west wall under the Virgin of the Apocalypse of Cristóbal de Villalpando, housed a large number of “gold chalices and glasses of the same metal trimmed of fine stones and other vessels and sacred vessels, candlesticks, pedestals, acheros of silver on gilthead and cruises. .. its wealth is much. Only gold and diamond custodians have five, without a new one that has cost 116,000 pesos. ” The inventory of 1662 accounts for the aquamaniles, one of them by the silversmith Ena.
In 1957, the wooden perimeter floor and floor were changed to another stepped stone; a twin fence was placed to the one of the Chapter room (adapted by the architect Antonio G. Muñoz) to vestibular the space creating an anteacristia. Master Soto also altered the original proportions of some drawers: the drawer was cut from the front wall and a “hybrid taste” mahogany oratory was placed in the center.
Finally, the canvas of the Virgin of Guadalupe with a donor, work of Francisco Martínez made in 1747 that remained a long time in the basement, now chairs the Guadalupana room of the old building of the Curia de la virgen de guadalupe
Under the Altar of the Kings is the crypt of the archbishops, in which the remains of the archbishops of Mexico, from Fray Juan de Zumarraga to Cardinal Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada, whose remains were deposited in April of 2008. The entrance is made through a large wooden door behind which, a spiral staircase that gives access to the crypt, made by the architect Ernesto Gómez Gallardo Argüelles, descends. In the center is a cenotaphwith a life-size sculpture of Zumárraga, whose base is a skull carved in stone in Aztec style, since it was considered protector of the Indians against the abuses of their masters. Behind this, there is an altar with another pre-Hispanic geometric sculpture located at the bottom. The other archbishops are in niches in the walls, indicated by bronze plates in which the name and the episcopal shield of each one appear. On the floor are marble slabs that cover the niches of other people buried in the crypt.
The cathedral contains other crypts and niches where other religious figures are buried, even in the chapels. In addition, it has crypts for the faithful who wish to be buried in the cathedral.
The Metropolitan Tabernacle of Mexico City is located east of the cathedral. It was built following the design of Lorenzo Rodríguez between 1749 and 1760, during the height of the Baroque. It had the function of housing the archives and clothing of the archbishop, in addition, it is the place for the reservation and communion of the Eucharist.
The first church that was built on the site of the current cathedral also had a tabernacle although its exact location is unknown. During the construction of the cathedral, the tabernacle was located in the place currently occupied by the chapels of San Isidro and the Virgen de las Angustias de Granada. However, in the 18th century it was decided to build a separate building but connected to the cathedral. The current tabernacle is built in red tezontle stone and white chiluca stone that forms a Greek cross. It is connected to the cathedral through the chapel of San Isidro.
The building has two main entrances from the outside; the main facade opens to the south, to the Plaza de la Constitución; while the other opens to the east, to the Plaza del Seminario. The two facades are richly decorated. The main theme glorifies the Eucharist with images of the apostles, the fathers of the Church, the holy founders of religious orders, martyrs, as well as biblical scenes. There are some zoomorphic and other anthropomorphic reliefs, highlighting a rampant lion and the golden eagle present in the national shield of Mexico. The east facade, meanwhile, presents scenes fromOld Testament, as well as images of St. John Nepomuk and St. Ignatius of Loyola. The dates of the different phases of construction of the tabernacle are inscribed on this facade.
The exterior of the tabernacle is baroque, it presents decorations such as niches shelves of various shapes, floating curtains and a large number of cherubs. Highlights fruit elements such as grape clusters and pomegranates, which symbolize the blood of Christ and the Church, and floral elements such as roses, daisies and various types of four-petal flowers.
The interior is built with chiluca and tezontle stone, the chiluca covers the walls and floors, while the tezontle is in the door and window frames. The cruise is covered with a dome supported by arches. The temple is divided into three ships. The central nave is arranged from the main entrance to the main altar, where the missing Churrigueresque altarpiece that Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque made in 1829 was located. In the west nave is the baptistery, while in the east, there are some offices, next to the entrance, and a sacristy, next to the main altar; all separated by walls of the inner temple.
Chapel of the Souls
Located outside the cathedral, next to the apse the north-west of it, this 17th century chapel separates with the rest of the building for its lean construction. Its simple cover, a semicircular arch, flanked by table pilasters; his second body-shot, in turn flanked by a pair of oval windows. Of no artistic merit, this chapel serves today, for the baptisms that take place in the Primada Cathedral of Mexico.
The cathedral has been a focus of Mexican cultural identity, and is a testament to its colonial history. Researcher Manuel Rivera Cambas reported that the cathedral was built on the site sacred precinct of the Aztecs and with the very stones of their temples so that the Spaniards could lay claim to the land and the people. Hernán Cortés supposedly laid the first stone of the original church personally.
It once was an important religious center, used exclusively by the prominent families of New Spain. In 1864, during the Second Mexican Empire, Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and Empress Charlotte of Belgium (later known as Maximiliano and Carlota of Mexico) were crowned at the cathedral after the magnificent arrival to the head city of their reign.
Located on the Zocalo it has, over time, been the focus of social and cultural activities, most of which have occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. The cathedral was closed for four years while President Plutarco Elías Calles attempted to enforce Mexico’s anti-religious laws. Pope Pius XI closed the church, ordering priests to cease their public religious duties in all Mexican churches. After the Mexican government and the papacy came to terms and major renovations were performed on the cathedral, it reopened in 1930.
The cathedral has been the scene of several protests both from the church and to the church, including a protest by women over the Church’s exhortation for women not to wear mini-skirts and other provocative clothing to avoid rape, and a candlelight vigil to protest against kidnappings in Mexico. The cathedral itself has been used to protest against social issues. Its bells rang to express the Archdiocese’s opposition to the Supreme Court upholding of Mexico City’s legalization of abortion.
Probably the most serious recent event occurred on 18 November 2007, when sympathizers of the Party of the Democratic Revolution attacked the cathedral. About 150 protesters stormed into Sunday Mass chanting slogans and knocking over pews. This caused church officials to close and lock the cathedral for a number of days. The cathedral reopened with new security measures, such as bag searches, in place.