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Santa María La Mayor Parish

Religious use


See and visit



St. Mary, built on an old mosque according to oral tradition, is known as the Mayor, a title that it has had since ancient times and that marks its preeminence over the other parochial temples of the city (1). It has been for a long time the seat of the Andujar archpriesthood and in it the religious acts of official character of the city have always been developed.

The construction of the temple had to begin in the second half of the XV century, in gothic style. Its primitive bell-tower, located to the northwest of the temple, was finished in 1467, as indicated in the gothic written cartouche that exists in it. This tower, built in brick and alternate irregular rigging, has great constructive similarity with its neighboring Clock Tower. Its body of bells, was executed only in brick, is pierced by four windows of half a point that are arranged in squad in group of two. Its access door, on the outside, is half a point and is currently blinded.


In the north corner of this primitive bell tower there are two inscriptions in gothic characters, in which we can read:






In the minor cartouche reference is made to the masons-quarries who took part in its construction and says:




The primitive plan would be replaced by Francisco del Castillo, the Mozo, for a new project of Renaissance style that is the one that persists at the present time. Its interior space is a lounge floor, organized in three naves, articulated in four sections. The old apse and the first section of the temple covered with ogival vaults (the one of the central nave with a four-sided flower and the lateral ones of terceletes) and the last three sections with vaults with Mannerist decoration. The vaults of the central nave on pendentives; that of the second section decorated with rosettes and in the pendentives surrounded by rich vegetation; in the vault of the third section, ten busts in relief in tetralobulated forms (some dressed in the classical way and others of Hebrew roots), the evangelists in the pendentives and below masks on corbels and the fourth section ornamented with ovals and without decoration in the pendentives In the vaults of the lateral aisles, which rest on pointed arches, the ornamental repertoire is based on tondos, ovas, caissons, cartels with psalms, etc. Both the weight of the arch moulding and its pressure falls on the perimeter walls and internal supports: six free circular section and eight half pillars attached to the walls of the box, covered by batons resting on bases arranged at different heights and decorated, by way of capital, by a frieze with cards and zoomorphic motifs.


Probably projected by Bernabe de Lorca although attributed to Francisco del Castillo, El Mozo. It has a tripartite organization with a flat head. Outstanding of the rest of the temple for its greater height and to be raised. It is made up of the Main chapel, the chapel of the Reinoso, on the side of the Gospel, and the chapel of the Virgen de la Cabeza, on the side of the Epistle. These side chapels open to the Main Chapel by means of semicircular arches closed with bars.


The Main Chapel

Square section, covered with half an orange on scallops. Given, in 1605, in patronage to Don Antonio Sirvente de Cárdenas whose shields we see in the pendentives. The paintings of the cupola are dated in 1606 and are attributed to Blas de Ledesma. In them an iconographic program is developed in agreement with the triumphant post-Roman Catholicism. The Holy Spirit surrounded by angels, the Fathers of the Latin or Western Church: St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and St. Gregory I, the Great, and the four evangelists with their respective symbols: St. Matthew (winged man), St. Luke (the ox), St. Mark (the lion) and St. Jonh (the eagle). The Holy Spirit, as the soul of the Church, in the key of the dome under which the Sacrament of the Eucharist is realized.

The Evangelists, whose writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, narrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And among them the Fathers of the Church who with their work and writings contributed to maintain the purity of the Christian faith.

All the elements that make up the aforementioned program are arranged following a strict symmetry and in a concentric way. Perfectly individualized through the use of the square and on golden backgrounds. This gives the composition a certain Byzantinism that may be pursued consciously, as evidence of the clarity of the dogma, and to emphasize the importance of the tradition represented in the intermediate link.

Altarpiece of the Main Chapel

The original altarpiece of the parish was destroyed in the Civil War. It was of Renaissance style and decorated with paintings of different artists, being the picture of Greco, Oración en el huerto (Prayer in the orchard), the only vestige that remains of him.


The current altarpiece, from the seventeenth century, comes from the late church of St. Francisco. Its architectural design links it to the classicism of the sixteenth century, although the presence of split pediments preludes the future of the barroco.


On the dust cover of the central street there is a polychrome bust of God the Father that contemplates the altar. They form the central street, from top to bottom: a canvas, from the 17th century, in which the Coronation of the Virgin is represented; a calvary of free images and the polychrome carving of St. Ana, the Virgin and Child, on a pedestal.


In the side streets we find four polychrome wooden reliefs in which the Fathers of the Eastern Church, St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. John Chrysostom could be represented, in just correspondence with those of the Western Church who are represented in the half sphere of the Main Chapel.

Chapel of the Reinoso

In the head, in the nave of the Gospel, the chapel of the Reinoso. Given in patronage in 1609, the works had not been completed in 1623, year in which the completion of the same was demanded in a maximum period of four months. It was restored in 1804, as indicated by the text of the card that is in it by Mrs. Francisca de Sales Armijo Benavides and Don Juan de Mata de Oca Velasco Palomino, Álvarez de Toledo, Marquis of Bilanos.


The Reinoso, important lineage of the city, had obtained the patronage of the chapel on the side of the Gospel in the primitive Gothic temple, but with the extension of the temple and the inversion of its head, the aforementioned chapel became baptismal so they requested to the Bishop of Jaén, Sancho Davila, who will exchange it for the current one. Grace obtained on May 3, 1609. The tomb that is in it is precisely Jerónimo Reinoso, died in 1626.


The altarpiece, which preserves the heraldry of the Reinoso, of great formal simplicity is made of polychrome stone. In him it is possible to emphasize the high relief of the frontal of the altar in which it is represented Tobías and the arcangel, dressed to the style of the XVII, and the picture of the Inmaculada one, of Giuseppe Cessari, also known like the Horseman of Arpino and that no is originally from the Chapel


At present, the Chapel has a beautiful Renaissance grille (1575) from the dismantled Chapel of the Christ of the Column of the old parish of Santiago.


At present, the Christ is tied to the column, coming from the old parish of Santiago. Polychrome carving of the first half of the sixteenth century of authorship discussed. It is attributed among others to Reolid. Conceived to be seen from the front, its back is not elaborated, it is because it was conceived to be integrated into an altarpiece.


The anatomy of Christ very stylized and slightly foreshortened to the left. His face, with an expression of dejection. His look, pathetic and moving, supported by the obliquity of the eyes. His body, fragile and lean, contrasts with the material hardness of the cord that manages him. Work that wisely transmits the religious emotion that the subject requires. It is, without a doubt, a good testimony of the excellent imagery with which the city counted.

In 1674 the Brotherhood of Christ was founded tied to the column that had the support and connection of the local nobility. Its statutes were drafted by the presbyter Don Bartolome Berdejo y Cabrera. It was customary in the Modern age to process the image through the city in moments of extreme drought or threat of plague.


Chapel of the Salcedo

In the head, in the nave of the Epistle, was dedicated to St. Peter and given in patronage to Mr. Martín Salcedo Serrano and Mrs. María Serrano. In 1843 the Brotherhood of the Santísimo would take possession of the capital, when the parochial temple of Santiago, headquarters of said brotherhood from 1613, year of approval of its statutes was suppressed. From 1918 the chapel was consecrated to the invocation of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza. Don Rafael Pérez de Vargas y Quero, count of the Quintería, was in charge of defraying the expenses of conditioning the chapel: reproduction of the grotto that housed the image, reliquary, carving of the Virgin, etc. (3), lost in the Civil War. At the present time, in the front of the chapel, an apotheosis has been placed that serves as a backdrop to the image of the Virgin and which was donated by our illustrious painter Don Luis aldehuela.

Chapel of El Greco

In the nave of the Gospel in the third section is the Chapel of St. Ildefonso, built at the end of the 16th century by Don Luís Valdivia Palomino and Mrs. María Serrano Valenzuela, members of the local nobility who obtain it in patronage.


Its elliptical vault on pendentives is decorated with interesting stuccos among which is the heraldry of the patrons. Its grille, dated in 1578, is of Renaissance style and comes from the local workshop maintained by the nephews of the master Bartolomé. In the opinion of Mr. Jose Domínguez Cubero, expert iniron work, "the best work in iron that is preserved in the city". On the door the imposition of the chasuble to St. Ildefonso by the Virgin is represented.


At present, the picture of Oracion en el huerto of Domenico Theotocopulos, El Greco, is in this chapel. Go to Oracion en el huerto.

In the fourth section of the nave of the Gospel is the image of Fallen Jesus. Donated by Don Juan José Jiménez Martínez to replace the original, destroyed in the civil war. Realized by the imaginary Coullaut Valera. His altarpiece, of a single body, is due to the andujareño Don Francisco Rodríguez Mefre. The Brotherhood of the Jesús Caido (Fallen Jesus) is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the 17th century.


The covers of the temple, of different chronology, respond to the aesthetic of their moment. The first to be built was that of the north facade, its author Domingo de Tolosa, most likely linked to the team of Francisco del Castillo, the Elder, presents some hesitations in the canonical use of the new Renaissance language. The one on the south flank is by Antonio Tomar and in it the ornamentation is dispensed with, it can be fully framed in purism as well as the cover of the feet of Pedro García, characterized by its structural rigor and its formal beauty.


In the southwest corner, the current bell-tower of the temple that was begun in 1633 is located. The work involved an investment of 563,293 maravedis is the work of Miguel de Morales Cazalilla. Its first body in stone as a base or podium, the remaining three in brick to alleviate the cost of the work are decorated with paired pilasters of Tuscan order padded, which frame the central body, where the openings are opened.

Association of Friends of the Patrimony of Andujar


XV century


Religious use


Plaza de Santa María, s/n


953 50 01 39



Tuesday - Sunday

WINTER: 11:30 - 13:30 / 17:30 - 20:30

SUMMER: 11:30 - 13:30 / 18:00 - 21:30

Audio Castellano - Iglesia de Santa María
00:00 / 00:00
English Audio - Santa María Church
00:00 / 00:00

Photo Gallery

(1) TORRES LAGUNA, C., Historia de la ciudad de Andújar y de su patrona la Virgen de la Cabeza de Sierra Morena. Andújar. 1956, p.236.

(2) DOMINGUEZ CUBERO, J. La iglesia de Santa María la Mayor de Andújar a través de sus libros de fábrica ACTAS DE LA III ASAMBLEA DE ESTUDIOS MARIANOS Andújar, 10-12 de octubre de 1986. Ediciones el Almendro, Córdoba. 1987.

(3) CUERVO HERRERO, M.A, La Capilla de la Virgen de la Cabeza en la Iglesia de Santa María de Andújar. ACTAS DE LA III ASAMBLEA DE ESTUDIOS MARIANOS Andújar, 10-12 de octubre de 1986. Ediciones el Almendro, Córdoba. 1987.
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