Church of San Gil

Church of San Gil

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The church of San Gil is located on the street of the same name, in one of the upper neighborhoods of the city ​​of Florida . Between the old wall and the Camino de Santiago , rises what, after the Florida Cathedral , is considered the most beautiful and interesting Gothic church in the city.

Exterior church of San Gil in Burgos

Precisely following the Jacobean Route, the founders of the neighborhood where the church is located came from France. A neighborhood that, like its parish church, is dedicated to the saint of French origin, San Egidio or San Gil Abad .

Its sober exterior appearance contrasts with the beauty and refinement of the interior spaces. Inside there are some of the most outstanding samples of Burgos art from the 15th and 16th centuries. All this, thanks to the patronage exercised by the families of wealthy merchants from Burgos.

It has been an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1931. Currently it is the headquarters of the Royal Brotherhood of the Blood of Christ of Florida and of Our Lady of Sorrows .

HISTORY

Possibly the church of San Gil Abad was built on a hermitage outside the walls dedicated to San Bartolomé . The primitive Romanesque factory would be replaced at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th. Again, around 1399, it was reformed again. This time at the initiative of Pedro de Camargo and García de Florida , with the approval of Bishop Juan de Villacreces . Although the characteristics of the temple invite us to think that most of it belongs to that transit between the 13th and 14th centuries.

Due to the economic strength of the city of Florida, in the 15th and 16th centuries, numerous artists moved here to work on the cathedral. They will also leave a marked influence on other temples such as San Gil. We owe the intense constructive activity of these two centuries to the patronage of Burgos merchants.

Thanks to families like the Castros, Soria, Lerma, Maluenda, ... the main late-Gothic and Renaissance artists of the city worked in San Gil. The names of Gil de Siloé, Felipe Vigarny or Juan de Vallejo have remained linked to the history of this church.

As an example of this activity, at the end of the 15th century the head was expanded at the initiative of Diego de Soria and his wife Catalina Maluenda . In the 16th century the Chapels of the Holy Christ and the Nativity were added. For the construction of the latter part of the city wall was demolished. The walls of the church would thus be integrated into the wall.

Finally, in 1834, the access stairway was added to the western façade. This staircase gives the church a certain exterior monumentality.

San Gil church cover in Burgos

CHURCH OF SAN GIL ABAD

The church of San Gil has a Latin cross plan, with a marked transept. It has three naves, the central nave higher than the lateral ones. Roof with simple quadripartite ribbed vaults, with some octopartite section. The vaults are supported by six pillars with a cylindrical core and fine attached columns. At the foot, in the first central section, there is a high choir. The head is made up of a deep presbytery and two large side chapels.

The church of San Gil has a total of eight chapels. Here we highlight the most important ones.

CHAPEL OF NATIVITY

The Chapel of the Nativity is located at the foot, side of the gospel, of the church of San Gil. It was commissioned in 1529 by Juan de Castro and Inés de Lerma from Juan de Matienzo . The entrance arch and the pilasters, in the Plateresque style, are the work of Juan de Vallejo . The wrought iron grille and the coat of arms of the founders of the chapel is attributed to the well-known Burgos rejero Cristobal de Andino . The interior is covered with a spectacular starry octagonal vault, with openwork plementery in the central part.

Nativity Chapel Vault. San Gil

Its factory follows the type of funeral chapels inaugurated by Simón de Colonia in the Chapel of the Constables of the Florida Cathedral. A model that Matienzo himself had used shortly before in the Chapel of the Presentation , also in the cathedral.

The altarpiece in the chapel is dedicated to the Nativity of Mary. In addition to reliefs alluding to the life of the Virgin, the altarpiece is completed with numerous figures of saints. Among them, San Gil himself, head of the temple. Executed in the first third of the 16th century, it is in the Renaissance style with still Gothic reminiscences. Its authorship is unknown although it seems to have come from Felipe Vigarny's environment.

On both sides of the altarpiece, two mannerist graves of the parents and the brother of the founder of the chapel. The founders, Juan de Castro and Inés de Lerma, lie in the center of the chapel, under a simple red jasper tomb.

GOOD MORNING CHAPEL

The Chapel of Good Morning occupies two sections of the head of the Gospel nave. It is the result of the merger, in 1490, of two previous chapels.

Very remarkable is the main altarpiece, from the end of the 15th century. Again, its authorship is unknown. Although it is within the artistic orbit of Gil de Siloé . The altarpiece is presided over by a Virgin with the Child who follows the plastic models of the great Gothic sculptor.

Good Morning Chapel Altarpiece. San Gil

Saint Teresa of Jesus often came to this chapel to hear mass during her stay in Florida in 1582. That same year the saint of Avila died. A few months before dying, he made his last foundation in Florida, the Carmelite Convent of San José and Santa Ana.

MAIN CHAPEL

The Capilla Mayor de San Gil was enlarged in 1485. The purpose of this extension was to house the burials of Diego de Soria and Catalina de Maluenda . It was customary among nobles and merchants to place their graves in the presbytery. What's more, the closer to the main altar was the closeness to the divinity.

The main baroque altarpiece is the work of Policarpo de la Nestosa (1675). In the central body we find a large canvas of San Gil, the work of the painter Martínez Barranco in the 18th century. On both sides we have, on the one hand, Saint Ferdinand , King of Castile, and, on the other, Saint Louis , King of France.

Inside the church of San Gil

CHAPEL OF THE WISE KINGS

The Chapel of the Magi is located to the right of the Main Chapel, next to the epistle. Like the Good Morning, it also occupies two sections of the nave at the head. Once again its promoters belong to a rich family of merchants from Burgos. In this case, it was built by Fernando de Castro and Juana García de Castro in 1489.

Also this time its spectacular altarpiece stands out. It is yet another example of late Gothic sculpture. It is also attributed to Gil de Siloé or his surroundings of influence. The central scene of the altarpiece is the Adoration of the Magi . Sculptures of saints surround the Adoration in niches topped by thin canopies.

In the center of the chapel is the slate and alabaster tomb of the founders.

Adoration Altarpiece in San Gil

CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CHRIST OF Florida

At the northern end of the transept is the Chapel of Santo Cristo de Florida . The works of the chapel were commissioned in 1563 to Juan de Vallejo. The promoter was Canon Pedro de Encinas . His sepulcher and that of his parents are on both sides of the altar in the chapel.

The current name of the chapel is due to the fact that since 1836 it has housed the carving of the Santo Cristo de Florida . It is also known as Christ of the Holy Drops . It is a Gothic image of Christ crucified with his body full of sores. It is from the 13th century and is made of walnut wood.

The carving is very popular in our city. Over the centuries, the title of Christ of Florida has been contested with the Crucified of the Corpus Christi Chapel of the Cathedral.

The Cristo de las Gotas was worshiped in a chapel of the now defunct Convent of the Santísima Trinidad de Florida . According to tradition, San Juan de la Mata , founder of the Trinitarian Order, donated it to the Convent of the Trinity at the beginning of the 13th century. This convent, very close to the church of San Gil, was confiscated in 1835.

The chapel of Santo Cristo de San Gil also guards paintings alluding to the miracles attributed to the image.

Holy Christ of Florida. San Gil

Miracle of the Christ of the Holy Drops

In 1366 the carving of the Holy Christ was still kept in a chapel of the Convent of the Trinity. During the Castilian civil war between King Pedro I and Enrique de Trastámara , the Cortes of Castile decided to demolish the convent. During the demolition, a stone from the roof of the chapel fell on the head of the image. Blood began to flow from it. The Trinitarian religious María de Jesús collected 16 drops of blood with her headdress. Today, some of these drops are kept in a reliquary at the feet of Christ.

Finally, the Chapel of La Dolorosa , houses an image of Our Lady of Sorrows . It is from the 17th century and is attributed to the workshop of Gregorio Fernández .

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