Spanish version

La Almudena Cathedral of Madrid

La Almudena CathedralDuring the reign of Felipe II the idea arose of building a cathedral in Madrid. The city had become capital of the country and it should also have a representative church. But in those days, Madrid belonged to the archdiocese of Toledo, which meant that there was no bishop in Madrid. The archbishop of Toledo was against the segregation of Madrid from Toledo´s archdiocese.
In the catholic Church, a diocese is an administrative and territorial unit. It is administrated by a bishop. If a diocese has historical importance or covers a big area it is called a archdiocese and, in this case, is governed by an archbishop. ThisAltar with the image of La Almudena archbishop can have authority over other dioceses.
Apart from the opposition of the archbishop, Felipe II was much more interested in the building of the El Escorial Monastry and the cathedral was more or less forgotten.
In the XVII century, King Felipe III obtained permission from the Pope, Clemente VII, to build a cathedral in Madrid, but again the archbishop of Toledo opposed categorically to this idea.
Without mentioning the segregation from Toledo, Felipe IV and specially his wife, Isabel de Borbon, started again the formalities for the construction of the cathedral. But still nothing happened.
Finally Alfonso XII, sad after his first wife´s death, was the one who was going to impell the building of the cathedral as he Interior of the cathedralwanted to erect a big temple, near to the Palacio Real, to bury her there. As Maria de las Mercedes had died without having had any children, i.e. not being mother of a king or queen, she could not be buried in the Panteon Real in the El Escorial Monastry.
In 1869 the parish of Santa Maria had been demolished and this was another reason for the new building, to have a new parish to sustitute the old one. So the building of the church, as a parish, began in 1883. King Alfonso had assigned an area in front of the Palace for the construction.

Finally, Madrid became a diocese in 1885, the same year King Alfonso died, and the idea of a cathedral for the city became reality.
There were different projects and designs and many interruptions in the process. The first architect was Francisco de Cubas who wanted to build a neogothic church over a romanic crypt. The crypt was finished in 1911 following his design.
Later other architects took over the project and after the Civil War, in 1944, Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidra prepared a new project which covered the neogothic interior with a neoclassic exterior.View on the cathedral from the Royal Palace
Eventually, the cathedral was consegrated by Pope John Paul II on July 15th, 1993.
All these changes have influenced the end result which is of dubious taste. There is no defined style and the interior seems more a trip through different artistic styles than anything else. But we can appreciate its exterior, which is beautiful and combines perfectly well with the Palacio Real.

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