Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista

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Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of Saint John the Baptist
Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista
Catedral de San Juan Bautista a.jpg
Front entrance
Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista is located in Puerto Rico
Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista
Location of San Juan and the cathedral in Puerto Rico
18°27′57″N 66°7′4″W / 18.46583°N 66.11778°W / 18.46583; -66.11778Coordinates: 18°27′57″N 66°7′4″W / 18.46583°N 66.11778°W / 18.46583; -66.11778
LocationSan Juan, Puerto Rico
DenominationRoman Catholic
DioceseArchdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico
ArchbishopMost Rev. Roberto González Nieves, O.F.M.

The Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de San Juan Bautista, or in English, Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist, is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. The cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, located in Old San Juan, the oldest cathedral in the United States, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.[1] Even though the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, is an older church building, the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista was the first cathedral church in the Americas as San Juan, then known as the city of Puerto Rico, was the first diocese of the New World with bishop Don Alonso Manso in 1511. The site is the location of the first church built in the New World.[2] A private Puerto Rican foundation known as Fundación Protectora de la Catedral Metropolitana de San Juan, Inc. has been established to fund the historical restoration of the building and its art treasures for its 500th anniversary in 2021, and to protect it for coming centuries.[3]


The original cathedral in what was the city of Puerto Rico (changed to San Juan Bautista in 1521) was constructed from wood in 1521. It was destroyed by a hurricane and the current structure constructed in 1540, being reshaped in later centuries, the last time being in 1917.

The first school in Puerto Rico was the Escuela de gramática (Grammar School). The school was established by Bishop Alonso Manso in 1513, in the area where the cathedral would later be constructed. The school was free of charge and the courses taught were Latin language, literature, history, science, art, philosophy and theology.[4]

The cathedral contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de León. It also has a shrine to the Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican and first Caribbean-born layperson in history to be beatified.[5]

The first organist of the Cathedral of San Juan was the Canarian Domingo Crisanto Delgado Gómez[6][7] who came from the island of Tenerife and managed to take this position in 1836, having been a composer in Cathedral Our Lady of Los Remedios of San Cristóbal de La Laguna in his native island.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Las cinco iglesias más antiguas de Puerto Rico". Puerto Rico Me Encanta (in Spanish). 2021-04-02. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  2. ^ Palocaren, John. Ecclesiastical News. America (New York, N.Y. : 1909) 8.18 (1913): 431–. Tulane Univ. libraries website Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Buscan proteger y renovar Catedral de San Juan camino a su V centenario ‹ El Visitante".
  4. ^ "Hispanic Firsts", By; Nicolas Kanellos, publisher Visible Ink Press; ISBN 0-7876-0519-0; p.40
  5. ^ "Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918-1963)". Blesseds: Table of the Beatifications during the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II. The Holy See. Retrieved 2007-06-04.
  6. ^ Castro, Olivia América Cano (December 18, 2007). Canarios en la música cubana. Ediciones IDEA. ISBN 9788483821169 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b "Música del Siglo XIX para la Catedral de La Laguna.pdf". Google Docs.

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