La Merced Church

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Main facade

La Merced Church is a baroque church in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala.

History[edit]

La Merced in 1875. The temple resisted well the Santa Marta Earthquake, but it had to be abandoned in 1829 when Francisco Morazán expelled the Mercedarians along with all the other regular clergy from Central America.

The Mercedarians were the first to establish a male monastery at the former Santiago de Guatemala.[1] The cross in stone at the atrium and the rooms behind the main altar are the oldest structures in La Merced and date from the seventeenth century. In 1749 Juan de Dios Estrada was commissioned with the construction of the luxurious sanctuary and cloister. He erected a building of low height designed to withstand earthquakes based on the experiences of the tremor of 1751. Arches and columns are wider to cope with the quakes. It was opened in 1767.

The effigy of Jesus Christ holding the cross was carved in 1650 by Alonzo de la Paz y Toledo.

Description[edit]

The facade in barroque style is flanked by two bell towers of low height. On top looms the effigy of San Pedro Nolasco who foundend the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy in the thirteenth century. He is flanked by two Mercedaries and the crest of the order. The effigy of Our Lady of Mercedes is situated in the central niche of the facade. She is flanked to the left by the effigies of San Raymundo Nonnatus and San Pedro Arinengol (with a rope indicating his martyrdom because of being hanged) and to the right side by the Mercedary bishop San Pedro Pascual as well as the first Mercedary nun, Santa Maria de Cervellón.

Holy Week[edit]

Holy Week processions are one of the top tourist attractions in Antigua Guatemala. From La Merced, two iconic processions make their way thru the streets during Holy Week:

Day Sculpture Hours
Palm Sunday Jesús Nazareno de la Reseña 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Good Friday Jesús Nazareno de la Penitencia 4:00 am – 3:00 pm
1980 Procession passing by San Pedro Hospital
1980 Good Friday Procession entrance

Image gallery[edit]

Facade
Temple and monastery
Inside chapels

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]