Sacristia Mayor: The Main Sacristy of Seville Cathedral

The Sacristía Mayor, or Main Sacristy, of Seville Cathedral, is one of the most beautiful and important rooms in the entire cathedral.

It is attached to the south side of the Cathedral de Sevilla with an anteroom called Antecabildo in between.

Construction began in the early 16th century and ended in 1543. It is regarded as one of the greatest Renaissance architectural masterpieces.

This place has been a part of many important events in history.

For example, they made a saint out of St. Ferdinand here, Emperor Charles V got crowned here, and they also signed important agreements with the New World.

Inside, you’ll find lots of valuable and cool things.

The Sacristia Mayor has a Greek cross plan, with a dome at the crossing and a roof lantern above.

The walls are decorated with elaborate Plateresque ornamentation, and the ceiling is coffered.

Among the most important works in Seville Cathedral are the Custody of Arfe, a massive silver monstrance, and the Descent from the Cross by Pedro de Campana, a masterpiece of the Flemish Renaissance.

Here, we take a look at the enchanting Sacristia Mayor, its intricate details, and its profound spiritual significance.

Architecture and Design

The Sacristía Mayor Cathedral de Sevilla is a large rectangular room with a Greek cross plan that measures about 60 feet long and 45 feet wide.

The dome at the crossing is supported by four pillars, and the roof lantern above provides daylight to the hall below.

The walls are decorated with elaborate Plateresque ornamentation, a style of Spanish Renaissance architecture characterized by its use of intricate geometric patterns and relief carving.

The ceiling is coffered, which means that it is divided into a series of square or rectangular compartments.


The Sacristía Mayor is home to some of the most important artworks in Seville Cathedral, including

The Custodia de Arfe by sculptor Juan de Arfe y Villafane 

The Custodia de Arfe is a massive silver monstrance created by Juan de Arfe between 1580 and 1587. 

It is the main centerpiece of the main sacristy of Seville Cathedral, standing over 12 feet tall and weighing over 1000 pounds. 

This tower-shaped custodia was created for processional use and is a receptacle for the Blessed Sacrament. 

It boasts four circular floors, each featuring a distinct architectural style and a centerpiece sculpture.

The Holy Chalice is one of Spain’s most valuable religious artifacts, and its remarkable artistry makes it one of the most prized treasures in the cathedral’s treasury.

The Descent from the Cross by Pedro de Campaña

Descent from the Cross by Pedro de Campana is a large oil painting on canvas measuring 290 x 178 cm (114 x 70 in).

It is currently displayed in the Greater Sacristy of Seville Cathedral in Spain and mounted on the back wall of the enclosure behind Custodia de Arfe.

Painted in 1547, This famous masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance depicts the most important event in Christianity.

The painting depicts the scene of Christ’s body being taken down from the cross.

In the foreground, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are lowering Christ’s body from the cross.

The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are kneeling at the foot of the cross, weeping. 

Other figures in the painting include Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Peter, and Longinus, the centurion who pierced Christ’s side with a spear.

Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary by sculptor Alonso Martínez

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is a masterpiece of Spanish silversmithing. 

This 1650 sculpture depicts Mary standing on a crescent moon, surrounded by angels.

It is kept in the Sacristia Mayor of Seville Cathedral in Spain, next to the Custodia de Arfe. 

The Immaculate Conception is a Catholic dogma that states that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin.

This means that she was born free from the stain of sin that all other humans inherit from Adam and Eve.

The dogma was declared in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.

The sculpture by Alonso Martínez is a beautiful and powerful depiction of the Immaculate Conception.

The artist has captured the Virgin Mary’s purity and holiness in the delicate details of her face and clothing.

The angels surrounding her add to the sense of wonder and awe.

The sculpture is a reminder of the Catholic belief that Mary was a special person, chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus Christ.

Featured Image: Commons.wikimedia.org

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