Spanish version

Colegiata de San Isidro

Arco de CuchillerosLeaving the Plaza Mayor through the Arco de Cuchilleros we can already see the Colegiata de San Isidro. It is in Calle de Toledo, 37.

The first Jesuit school was already built on this place in 1564 and had a church dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

The Collegiate was built in the XVII century by the Jesuits thanks to the money donated by the Empress Maria of Austria after her death. Her coat of arms can be seen on the façade of the Collegiate. In those days religious orders needed a patron who bought the land, paid the architect and left them an annuity to live on.  This patronage passed from parents to children.Colegiata de San Isidro

The Jesuit Order was founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. This Order founded nearly 600 schools in its first 50 years of existence. There were over 13.000 brothers ready to spread the Christian faith all over the world. They fought against Protestantism.

When King Felipe II chose Madrid as capital of the country, the jesuits came immediately in order to found a church and a school. The influence of the jesuits on the Habsburg dinasty was very important.

The church was built following the model of the Gesu Church in Rome. A jesuit, Pedro Sanchez, was in charge of the works. In 1661 the church was consecrated to San Francisco Javier, but when King Carlos III expelled the jesuits, he changed the name of the church and dedicated it to San Isidro. CollegiateIn fact San Isidro and his wife are buried in this church.

The Colegiata is located where San Isidro and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza lived. Here the saint dug a cave and a well. The water of this well was supposed to be very healthy and cure sick people.

In 1768 it was restored by the architect Ventura Rodriguez.

Inside the church is a sculpture of San Isidro and Santa Maria de la Cabeza made by Javier Tudanca, a sculptor of Madrid. On May 15th, these sculptures are taken in procession through the streets of the city.
Façade of San Isidro CollegiateUnder the altar are the cave and the well.
It was Carlos III who decided that the bodies of both saints should be buried in this Colegiata, as their home had been there.

In 1885 the collegiate became Madrid´s provisional cathedral until 1993, when the Almudena Cathedral was finished. Now it is once again a collegiate.
The church is the best representation of Madrilian baroque. In 1936 the church almost burnt down and so after the Spanish Civil War it had to be rebuilt.San Isidro School - patio

When the church burnt down, Saint Isidro´s body was hidden in a wall and discovered later in 1939, which was considered another miracle.

Next to the church is a school, which also belonged to the Jesuits. Many of the most famous Spanish writers went to this school. Inside is a wonderful patio. On the walls we can see an eagle with two heads, symbol of Carlos I, who was king and emperor at the same time.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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