Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

This is the grand church of Santa Fe.

Sitting at the eastern end of the Santa Fe Plaza, it is an imposing site.

When the City of Santa Fe was founded in 1610, the first church was built on this site, to be replaced by another in 1630, which was ddestroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The next church built here was in 1714, and was named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Santa Fe. The only part of this church still existing is the small adobe chapel dedicated to Our Lady La Conquistadora.

The First Bishop of Santa Fe was Father John Baptiste Lamy of France, who arrived in 1850. He ordered a new Romanesque church built, and brought French architects and Italian stonemasons to build his Cathedral. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1869 and continued until 1887. Dedicated in 1887, the Cathedral’s spires were never completed due to lack of funds.

The Cathedral was elevated to a Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Basilica means a church of particular importance in Rome and abroad.

During the past year, much renovation has been done on the cathedral in preparation for the 400th anniversary of the church and the city in 2010.

Inside and out, the cathedral basilica is an architectural wonder, and we who live in Santa Fe can be immensely proud of it. I never tire of going there. We visited the church this past week - and enjoyed seeing it all decorated for Christmas.

Here are some photos of the exterior of the church:

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