Sunday, January 20, 2013

Iglesia de San Sebastian, Antequera, Spain

The Church of Saint Sebastian is located in the heart of Antequera. Built in the 1500s, the church follows the Renaissance styling of the time with many Roman overtones. Over the door are Saints Peter, Paul and Sebastian, as well as the coat of arms of Emperor Charles V. The fountain in the plaza also dates from the 1500s. The exterior has a striking baroque-mudejar tower built in the 1700s.

Iglesia de San Sebastian

Personally, I think the saints should be over the coats of arms

The interior has a choir right in the middle, so that upon entering visitors and pilgrims see a wooden wall of altars (the opposite side is the back wall of the choir).

Ornate wooden wall

The choir didn't slant, my photo did

The choir takes up half the nave, leaving just a short distance to the main altar.


Main altar

Modest yet posh nativity

Many of the side altars are also highly ornate, following the baroque emphasis on exaggerated motion and ornate detail.

One altar to Our Lady

Beautiful statue of Our Lady

Altar with many saints

Some newer decorations adorn the walls and acknowledge recent saints and blesseds.

St. Josemarie Escriva, Founder of Opus Dei

Blessed Pope John Paul II, hiding in the shadows

The baptismal font was surprisingly plain.

Baptismal font

Who was Saint Sebastian?

Sebastian was born in southern France in the mid-200s. He became a soldier in the Roman army and was appointed as a captain in the Praetorian Guard under Diocletian and Maximian. Both were unaware he was a Christian. He encouraged two brothers, Mark and Marcellian, to remain true to their faith on the eve of their martyrdom. He also healed a deaf woman, whose cure inspired 78 immediate conversions. He also converted Chromatius, the local prefect, who set all his prisoners free and retired to the country. Diocletian ordered that Sebastian be tied to a stake and shot to death with arrows. He was shot full of arrows and left for dead. When the widow Irene of Rome came to take care of his body, she found him still alive. She nursed him back to health. In 268, Sebastian found Emperor Diocletian and denounced him for his cruelty to Christians. Diocletian had Sebastian beaten to death. His body was buried on the Appian Way outside of Rome. He is the patron of archers, athletes, and soldiers and is invoked against the plague. His feast day is January 20th.

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