Iglesia de la Vera Cruz


Address

124 José Victorino Lastarria St.

Overview

This church is one of the heritage attractions of the quarter known as Barrio Lastarria.

For many years, it was this church mistakenly believed to stand on the site of the residence of the conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia. Over the years, this error took a firm hold, until in 1852 the Church of the Real Cross was raised in tribute to the founder of Santiago.

The images in the church include a Christ donated by the King of Spain to the Order of the Mercedarians in the 16th century.

It was declared a National Monument in 1983.

History

At the turn of the 19th century, in the alleyway called Callejón de Mesías, now the street known as José Victorino Lastarria, was the adobe-and-tile house of the Barril family from the city of Valdivia. Perhaps for this reason the widespread idea arose that the house had belonged to the conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, and began to be known as the “Pedro de Valdivia Palace”.

Around 1847, Salvador de Tavira, Spanish Director for Trade, proposed paying homage to Pedro de Valdivia in the place where he had supposedly lived. The proposal, intended to strengthen links between both countries, was received with great enthusiasm, especially by the Mayor of Santiago, Colonel Francisco Ángel Ramírez and Archbishop Rafael Valentín Valdivieso.

The idea became a reality when a church dedicated to the founder of the city of Santiago was built on the site where he had presumably lived.

Construction works commenced in 1852 and were completed in 1854.

The church was named La Veracruz, in remembrance of the arrival of Christianity to the continent, since the first altar in the Americas was raised on Good Friday, the day on which special worship is given to the Wood of the Holy Cross.

Architecture

This church is neo-classical in style, with a single nave covered with a gable roof. The motif of the Arch of Triumph appears on its façade. The portico stands out for the Doric columns, the large vaulted arch lying over them, and the triangular pediment that gives the finishing touch. The belfry housing two bells is above the attic that crowns the façade.

On the altar can be seen the Christ that the King of Spain donated to the Mercedarians in the 16th century. On the left hand side is an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

José Victorino Lastarria, 124, Santiago.