Iglesia de San Agustí­n


Address

Estado 180

Phone

+56 2 26380978

 

Overview

This church was erected by the Augustinian Order, one of the last important congregations to have arrived in Chile towards the close of the 16th century.

Inside is the image of the Lord of the Agony, also known as the Christ of May, the only sculpture not damaged by the earthquake of 1647, a fact that was considered to be an authentic miracle at the time since the thorny crown dropped down to Christ’s neck, leaving the figure intact.

This image struck Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperger, known as La Quintrala, accused of several deaths and abuses. She asked to be buried in this church and, in exchange, she made important donations in money, which helped to rebuild it.

The current church was built after the great earthquake of 1647, and was newly restored after the earthquake of 1730.

Saint Augustine’s Church was declared a National Monument in 1981.

History

The Augustinian Order reached the port of Valparaiso on February 16, 1595. Alonso de Riberos and Catalina de Ribers sold to the Augustinians the two plots of land and houses located between the streets currently known as Agustinas, San Antonio, Moneda and Estado. They also donated to them the family chapel.

The Augustinian Brothers took possession of the lands on March 31, 1595, and on the following day opened the small church whose door opened into the street now called San Antonio on the corner with Moneda.

In December of that year, unidentified individuals set fire to the convent and church, which were completely destroyed; only the Saint Augustine canvas remained intact, which was considered to be a miracle.

In 1601, the Augustinians purchased from Francisco Sáez de Mena the piece of land where the Church of Saint Augustine currently stands.

Works on the current church began in 1608, but the earthquake of 1647 destroyed the building that was close to completion.

Only a sculpture carved in wood survived, The Lord of the Agony, better known as the Christ of May, whose crown of thorns dropped to the neck, leaving the figure intact. This sculpture has been preserved until today in the left wing of the church, and caused such an impression on Doña Catalina de Los Ríos y Lisperger, better known as La Quintrala, accused of several deaths and abuses, that she asked to be buried in this church and donated important sums of money that allowed it to be rebuilt.

But the 1730 earthquake damaged the church once again, which made it necessary to restore it.

This church was one of the most frequented in the Colonial period, and today is a traditional place of worship.

Architecture

Inside, the church has three parallel naves separated by thick columns sustaining rounded arches. The main nave is separated by a thoral arch that makes up the presbytery and the choir. This space is Colonial in inspiration, but in the changes made on the façade and the towers, the neo-classical style predominated.

 

Estado, 180, Santiago.