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The History of a baroque temple in the Diocese of Guadix

From San Agustín Conciliar de San Torcuato to Santa María de las Lágrimas.

Convent of San Agustín de Guadix

After the reconquest of Guadix, in 1489, several noble families settled to repopulate the area. One of them was the Saavedra family, who built their mansion near the citadel of the old Madinat Wadi Ash. It should be said that the documentation relating to this palace is very scarce. Under the pontificate of Don Juan de Fonseca y Guzmán, in 1594, the convent of San Agustín was founded on the site occupied by the Saavedra family’s palace.

At the initiative of the provincial of the order, Francisco de Castroverde, in the chapter held on October 19, 1591 in Córdoba, with a pontifical brief, the foundation of the convent in Guadix was authorized, giving license to Fray Pedro de Valderrama, prior of the convent. of saint Agustín de Granada for said foundation.

Also in 1594, the capitulations made between the Cabildo of the S.A.I. Guadix Cathedral and the convent, before its foundation, on the agreements established in relation to the tithe that they had to pay for their possessions. His main benefactors were Pedro Ruiz de Valdivia and his wife Mencía de Bolaños y Mendoza, who donated houses for the construction of the convent. They would be patrons of the Capilla Mayor in return. The construction of the convent and factory of the church take place during the following century.

Fray José Laínez, bishop of Guadix between 1653 and 1667, exclaustrated Augustinian, renovated the convent of San Agustín by building the church and part of the convent. The Patrimony of Guadix website describes the church as follows: “with a centralized elliptical plan with superimposed chapels and galleries, with the choir on the upper floor […] In the old transept, today there is the presbytery covered with a dome on pendentives […] The façade It is baroque in style. The portal that gives access to the interior is flanked by two large openings that are now walled up. These are semicircular arches under a flat structure with a triangular pediment with two pinnacles at the ends. In the factory a false ironwork is painted.

The access portal also opens through a semicircular arch, framed in a flat structure with four semi-columns on pilasters and crowned with a belfry in relief. In the upper bodies of the façade there are several openings, two with a semicircular arch and two upper circular ones. The liturgical heritage would increase around 1769, with the suppression of the Colegio de San Torcuato of the Compañía de Jesús de Guadix, since the ornaments, sacred vessels and jewelry of the Jesuits were delivered to the prior of the convent of San Agustín.

French troops arrived in Guadix in 1810, setting up a barracks in the convent of San Agustín. A group of artillery broke the central panel of the church, in order to pass the cannons to the citadel through the hole. After the withdrawal of the French troops from Guadix, the Augustinians recover their convent. The decree of October 1, 1820, abolished all the monastic monasteries, mentioning those of the order of Saint Augustine among others, allocating all their assets to public credit, with a total of 10.88 hectares of irrigated land. The greatest attack against the patrimony of the Church arises as a consequence of the application of the exclaustration decrees of Mendizábal, of 1836, which put the assets of religious institutions up for sale.

Through this law, the property, real estate, income, rights and actions of religious communities and institutions of both sexes were declared national heritage and it was arranged that they be put up for public auction. The Augustinian Order definitively disappears from Guadix. In the inventory of the assets of the temple existing in the disentailment file we find several images, among which we highlight the following for being of interest to us: an image of the Immaculate Conception, in the main chapel; a picture of a framed Ecce-Homo, in the choir; and an effigy of an Ecce-Homo, in the sacristy.

Council Seminary of San Torcuato

Since the exclaustration of the Augustinian friars, the convent has suffered a great deterioration, the diocese rescuing the property after the signing of the Concordat of 1851, when Don Ramón Vargas was ecclesiastical governor. The building is recovered as a mission house and spiritual exercises for the diocesan clergy. The Diocese of Guadix, through the Conciliar Seminary of San Torcuato, purchased the Alcazaba from Mr. Felipe Ramírez de Aguilera y Bercín, as stated in the deed of sale dated January 18, 1868, granted before the Notary Public of Guadix, Mr. Luis de Alarcón and Ariza.

The objective is that the seminarians have a place to relax. Fray Vicente Pontes y Cantelar, Bishop of Guadix between 1876 and 1893, focused his intellectual work on the San Torcuato Council Seminary, where he wanted to train priests with a broad intellectual and spiritual background, which is perfectly summed up in his educational motto “Science and fear of God”15. He was the one who carried out the transfer of the Seminary from its first location in the palace house of the Ramírez de Arellano in the cathedral square (today the School of Arts), to the old convent of San Agustín. A larger and more diaphanous building. It must have been something sentimentally dear, since it was the convent of the order from which he came. The official transfer took place on October 1, 1880 in a solemn ceremony16.

During the Civil War (1936-1939) the church of San Agustín, administered by the City Council and the UGT, served as a general store of provisions for the civil population. The building suffers a great deterioration to which must be added the collapse of the central dome. Don Rafael Álvarez Lara, Bishop of Guadix between 1943 and 1965, carried out a series of reforms in 1949. The floor plan of the building was transformed, endowing it with of a single rectangular main nave with a barrel vault over transverse arches and lunettes that illuminate the entire space. In 1952, the seminary was divided into “major” and “minor”, leaving the minor in the extinct convent of San Agustín and the major in a new building next to the Colegio Máximo de Cartuja in Granada, administered by the Compañía de Jesús19.

At the end of the 20th century, the building was definitively abandoned, yielding to the Hon. Guadix City Council, the seminary and the citadel in 1996, leaving the segregated church under the ownership of the Diocese of Guadix. Finally, the Diocese of Guadix, headed by its bishop Juan García Santacruz Ortiz, signs an agreement for the transfer of the temple of San Agustín in favor of the Very Illustrious and Fervent Brotherhood of Our Lady of Tears.

Church of Santa María de las Lágrimas.

On July 30, 1999, the Brotherhood of Tears took charge of the Conciliar Church of the San Torcuato diocesan seminary. It was declared in a state of ruin: “That said temple marked by historical, artistic and religious character is currently in an advanced state of deterioration, classified by technicians as ruin.”

This agreement, which will later be extended on April 5, 2005, shows the desire on the part of the diocesan Bishop to “restore said temple, not only to the history and cultural-artistic legacy of the city, but to something more vital and important: to reintegrate said temple to the Christian liturgical and religious life for which it was built”. In these 23 years, that the Brotherhood has the temple, it has carried out 4 phases of intervention with an investment of more than €650,000, added to a human effort on the part of the brothers of this corporation, which is impossible to quantify, but without doubt it would surpass the previous figure. Roughly speaking, we could define these phases as follows:

1st Phase:  A side door is enlarged in the presbytery, towards the street later called Jesús del Soberano Poder (Ecce Homo), in order to fulfill one of the main purposes of the Brotherhood, which is the public penance station on Holy Thursday afternoon. . Some closures are made in the lateral chapels corresponding to the old Church that were completely exposed to the elements for decades, causing their total deterioration.

2nd Phase:  All the arches, vaults and domes of the construction of the new Church are reintegrated to recover the vaults and structure of the old one. It is important to point out the lowering of the floor of more than a meter and a half until reaching the original, placing a marble floor throughout the nave of the temple.

3rd Phase:  In this phase, the total rehabilitation of the front roofs and the incorporation of a dressing room that would serve as an enclosure for the main altar, which, being exposed to the elements, caused moisture leaks, causing the displacement of the walls and the movement of the dome of the main altar, in addition to allowing the veneration of the most important head of the Brotherhood: María Santísima de las Lágrimas.

4th Phase: The current phase includes the cleaning and sanitation of the side chapels and comprehensive restoration of the mural paintings that allow the temple to return to its original state in a timely manner according to the agreement signed between the Bishopric and the Brotherhood. Except for the recovery of the original central dome, which, by indication of the Culture Delegation of the Junta de Andalucía, does not allow its realization because “The space of the restored temple must be a restoration and not a new construction that modifies the volume of the ellipsoidal nave or introduce a metal dome cover with a lantern” according to a letter sent on 12-13-2006 (File BC.01.210/06).

From the liturgical point of view, the Brotherhood has been carrying out its own acts that mark its statutes together with its counselor and therefore rector of the temple. For this, it makes a significant economic effort in furniture, utensils and ornaments typical of Christian liturgical worship (bells, Tabernacle, public address system, altar, ciborium, benches, stations of the cross…

The Brotherhood together with the rector of the temple is recovering with historical-devotional criteria the old venerations related to the temple itself and the parish of Santiago to which the Brotherhood of Tears belongs, highlighting the incorporation in 2009 of the invocation of the Sacramental Brotherhood of Jesus leaning out of the window (Ecce Homo) which has its origins in the parish of Santiago in the 16th century and is incorporated as the head of the Brotherhood and with its own chapel in the Church in question; the recovery of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Conception with antecedents in the 16th century also in the hermitage of San Marcos (depending on the Parish of Santiago) and in the parish of Santiago. Or the devotions to San Agustín, San Torcuato, owners of this temple, as well as San Nicolás de Tolentino, Virgen de Correa and Consolación, extinct brotherhoods with canonical headquarters in said Church.

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