At the end of the sixteenth century; a church dedicated to the Divine Savior of the World was erected and became known as the “Parish of San Salvador” or as “Parroquia El Sagrario”. Its guiding priests where José Matías Delgado and Nicolas Aguilar, who historically are known as the heroes of independence. According to records this church was elevated in status to cathedral in 1842.
The cathedral was damaged by an earthquake in 1854; and in 1873 another earthquake reduced it to rubble. This time, the church leadership was moved to Nueva San Salvador.
In September 1877, initiatives were taken to build this temple for a second time; this time at the former site of the convent and church of Santo Domingo, in front of Plaza Gerardo Barrios.
Historical data shows that this second church opened its doors in 1888. This new church had a roman style and was constructed of fine woods, some brought from Lebanon in order to be more flexible in case of earthquakes. The interior had beautiful paintings and decorations, especially at the altar; however, this church was reduced to ashes by a fire on August 8, 1951.
The foundations for a third cathedral were laid on October 1956. The work was falling behind due to many reasons, particularly the armed conflict of the 1980’s. However, the cathedral was finally completed and inaugurated on March the 19th, 1999.
The Cathedral has a Roman cross configuration. Some of the art in the cathedral is the work of famous local artist Fernando Llort, with a native naïve type style. The ceramic mural on the façade represents the people of God, the new man and new woman with the tools that are used for work, as well as guardian angels and celestial figures, the dove, symbol of peace and the representation of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.
Inside you will be surprised to see the beauty and yet the simplicity of this building. Colorful stained glass windows, eight colorful paintings depicting the life of Christ in the altar area (brought from Pamplona, Spain) and even four beautiful statues of the evangelists Matthew, Luke, San Marcos and San Juan.
In the central part of the cathedral you may appreciate the majesty of the dome. It shows the sky like a paradise in which the Holy Trinity, St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary participate in the bliss of angels and people of all races and social strata, including animals and vegetation participate indicating the universal nature of Christ’s redemption.
17th century painting dedicated to the Mother of Jesus which was restored in Spain and donated to El Salvador by Queen Sofia of Spain in February 2001.
We recommend you visit the cathedrals crypt´s, where the last remains of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero are buried.
There is a lying bronze relief sculpture 2.50 meters long made by Italian artist Paolo Borghi. The sculpture represents the Bishop “sleeping the dream of the righteous.” He is guarded the four evangelists, as “guardians of the Prophet until the second coming of Christ”, they are holding the ends of a canvas depicting the Word of God and in which a palm and some roses are deposited.
On the left side of the crypt is a series of 14 “mysteries” paintings made by Luis Lazo in 2010. Also there is the remarkable “Black Christ of the Road” image, in memory of Maurice Duke Carazo, who died in a road accident driving to La Libertad in June 1922. This was donated in February 2011, by the Duke family.
Every year, the national tradition of the “lowering of the Divine Savior of the World” which celebrates the mystery of the Transfiguration, takes place between August 4th and 6th. At this time, thousands of Salvadorans come together in the historical center of the capital to see this large and significant religious and cultural event.
How to get there:
This is temple is located on Rubén Darío Street, just in front of Plaza Gerardo Barrios, near the National Palace in downtown San Salvador. If driving there is parking available within the temple (US$ 0.50 per hour).
Bus routes that circulate are in the area: 3, 9, 34, 38-E, 41-A, 42, 42-A, 42-B. Cost of ticket $ 0.25-$ 0.35
Open to public: 6:00 am. until 6:00 pm.
Phone: (503) 2221-0003
Additional Information: http://www.sansalvador.gob.sv/?p=98
Elevation 2180 feet
N 13 ° 41,901 ‘
W 89 ° 11,445 ‘