Shrine of Our Lady of Africa

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Church of Santa María de África
Iglesia de Santa María de África
The church today
Location Ceuta
Denomination Roman Catholic

The Church of Santa María de África is a Roman Catholic church in the Spanish city of Ceuta which is located in a small Spanish exclave on the north coast of Africa.


The main altarpiece

The history of the church goes back to a picture sent by Henry the Navigator. He said that he thought the picture holy and he named it as Santa Maria in Africa.[1]

The first hard evidence of the church date from 1676 when it is mentioned in building work and then again in 1697. Under Bishop Don Martin de Barcia the church was internally decorated with paintings and both bells and the altarpiece were installed. We know that Barcia was still Bishop when the church was consecrated on 5 August 1752. The altarpiece is decorated with a large sculpture of Mary with Christ which is traditionally carved from a single piece of wood.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Sta.M Sanctuary th of Africa". Retrieved 5 July 2013. 

Coordinates: 35°53′8.28″N 5°19′46.55″W / 35.8856333°N 5.3295972°W / 35.8856333; -5.3295972