Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cathedral of the City of Mexico, Catedral de la Ciudad de Mexico: Dateline of Major Events

1519: On November 8th, Cortes meets Moctezuma II, in the Grand Tenochtitlan. In the following days, the Franciscan Missionaries accompanying Cortes pray mass in open spaces near the Templo Mayor, on tables which were set up momentarily for Mass, and after Mass dismounted.
1520: After the conquest, Mass is celebrated in the bottom floor of the headquarters of Hernan Cortes.
1524: Cortes authorizes the construction of the first Cathedral. This first cathedral was much smaller the second and definite Cathedral, which is the Cathedral we see today. The first cathedral was built in the corner of what today is the outside front atrium of the Cathedral, close to the Monument of Enrico Maertens or Enrico Martinez as he was later called. If you are outside the Cathedral, but in the atrium, and you turn to your left, that is, towards the southwest corner of the atrium, you can see on the ground the place where the columns of the first Cathedral were.

In the southwest corner of the atrium of  the present day Cathedral,
was the site of the first Cathedral and some of its columns still
remain on the site.
1555: Fray Toribio de Motolinia complains to the King of Spain that the Cathedral is inappropriate for a city as rich and as important as the City of Mexico.
1573: the Archbishop Pedro Moya de Contreras and the Viceroy Martin Enriquez laid down the first stone of the new and definite Cathedral.
1625, Feast of Corpus Christi: The viceroy ordered that the first Cathedral be torn down and that all religious ceremonies be conducted in the newly finished Sacristy of the Cathedral.
1629 to 1634: The Virgin of Guadalupe Image was brought to the Sacristy of the Cathedral for safekeeping during the terrible series of floods that afflicted Mexico City during those years.

Gilded ribbed vault of the sacristy is the only part of the Cathedral
thar reflects gothic style architecture.
1667: Great part of the inside of the Cathedral was finished at this point and the Cathedral was dedicated.
1690: Cristobal de Villalpando painted his masterpieces in the Sacristy. The Triumph of Religion.
1792 to 1813: Manuel Tolsá gave the Cathedral its final touches, including the main dome, adding the buttresses to the outside roof and the series of the three statues of Faith, Hope and Charity at the top of the façade.

The dome of the Cathedral redesigned by Manuel Tolsá.
in a clear move towards Neoclassic Style.

Buttresses reinforcing outside walls of Cathedral

1810 to 1820: Our Lady of Good Refuge came to the Cathedral for its Basilica in Naucalpan, and became the symbol of the Royalists troops, just as Morelos had made Our Lady of Guadalupe, the symbol of the soldiers fighting for Independence from Spain. In 1820, as I explained in my post on Our Lady of Good Remedy Shrine last month, she was taken our of the Cathedral, and brought back to her Shrine in Naucalpan.
1813, on August 15th: On the Feast of the Ascension of  Our Blessed Lady, the Cathedral was inaugurated, during the war of Independence from Spain.
1815 to 1840: The Cathedral was the target of constant acts of pilferage, by the Spanish and by the Independence Forces. During the first years of Independence, the Cathedral continued to be the target of thieves and pilferage, as the young government lacked stability.
1840: Madame Fanny Calderón de la Barca, wife of the first official Spanish emissary to the new Independent Nation of Mexico, during her stay, wrote her diary Visit to Mexico, where she describes different liturgical celebrations at the Cathedral
1967: A fire destroyed the Altar del Perdon at the entrance, most of the chorus, and a good deal of the two organs.
At the entrance of the Cathedral the Altar del Perdon,
with the miraculous Cristo del Veneno.
2013 August 15: Estela, my wife, and I went to the Cathedral, entering by the Jubilee Door or main entrance, which is only open on these special occasions. During the following months we assisted to several important events commemorating this 200th anniversary of the finished Cathedral, such as the Voces de la Catedral play which I described in my post yesterday, a festival of Baroque Organ Music and the chiming of all the church bells during a concert.

My wife Estela outside the central Jubile Door of the Cathedral
opened on August 15, 2013 for the 200th anniversary of its completion.

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