Antigua Guatemala Cathedral

Antigua Guatemala Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral de San José) is a Latin Catholic church in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala. The original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America.[1] However, the devastating 1773 Guatemala earthquake seriously damaged much of the building, though the two towers at the front remained largely intact. These have undergone restoration work, and the cathedral has been partly rebuilt

St. James Cathedral
San Joseph Parish
Catedral Primada de Santiago;
Parroquia de San José
Saint Joseph Cathedral
Saint Joseph Cathedral, 2007
AffiliationCatholic Church
ProvinceSantiago de Guatemala
RiteRoman Rite
Ecclesiastical or organizational statuscathedral
LeadershipArchbishop Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño
Year consecrated1541
StatusWorld Heritage Site
LocationAntigua Guatemala, Sacatepéquez
MunicipalityAntigua Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala Cathedral is located in Antigua Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala Cathedral
Location in Antigua Guatemala
TerritoryArchdiocese of Guatemala
Geographic coordinates14°33′24″N 90°43′58″W / 14.5567°N 90.7329°W / 14.5567; -90.7329Coordinates: 14°33′24″N 90°43′58″W / 14.5567°N 90.7329°W / 14.5567; -90.7329



After the Santa Marta Earthquakes of 1773 that destroyed Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, there was a large argument between Spanish and clerical authorities on whether to move the city to a new location . Against strong opposition of archbishop Pedro Cortés y Larraz, Captain General Martin de Mayorga decided to impose the move to its new location in the Ermita Valley; Cortés y Larraz was afraid that with the move the church had to begin from scratch and would lose part, if not all, of its power and influence.[2] The cathedral moved to the new capital on 22 November 1779, but all the interior ornaments that had not been destroyed by the earthquake in the old building remained behind in what was now called Antigua Guatemala; in 1783 they were taken away from the frail ruins and stored in the old Universidad de San Carlos Borromeo building and in the El Sagrario Parish warehouse, which was also open the public in a section of the old cathedral.[2]

In 1816, the gold from the old altars was removed and then used to create the ones for the Cathedral of Guatemala City which was now open to the public.[3]

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Further readingEdit

  • Antigua Guatemala online (2004). "Arquitectos de Antigua Guatemala". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 May 2004.
  • Cadena, Felipe (1774). Breve descripción de la noble ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala y puntual noticia de su lamentable ruina ocasionada de un violento terremoto el día veintinueve de julio de 1773 (PDF) (in Spanish). Mixco, Guatemala: Oficina de Antonio Sánchez Cubillas.
  • Conkling, Alfred R. (1884). "Appleton's guide to Mexico, including a chapter on Guatemala, and a complete English-Spanish vocabulary". Nueva York: D. Appleton and Company. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Edición digital multimedia (2005). "La Antigua Guatemala: Catedral". Edición digital multimedia (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 10 August 2011.
  • López Medellín, Xavier (n.d.). "Pedro de Alvarado" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  • Melchor Toledo, Johann Estuardo (2011). "El arte religioso de la Antigua Guatemala, 1773-1821; crónica de la emigración de sus imágenes" (PDF). Tesis doctoral en Historia del Arte (in Spanish). México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  • Rosales Flores, Martín Haroldo (2015). "Fotos antiguas de la Ciudad de Guatemala: Post conmemorativo". Facebook (in Spanish). Guatemala.

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