The Church of Santa María la Blanca in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, also called the Church of Holy Mary of the Snows.

It used to be a synagogue built in the thirteenth century. There was an important Jewish community in the city center, which is the reason why a part of the district of Santa Cruz in the historical center of Seville has been called “the Judería”. This temple was granted by Alfonso X to the Jews of Seville.

In 1391, after the anti-Jewish revolt of that year, it was transformed into a Christian church, being rebuilt in the middle of the seventeenth century, with funding from Justin de Neve.

The interior of the church was decorated in 1657 by the brothers Pedro and Miguel de Borja. It had several paintings by Murillo, of which only “La Cena” (The Supper, 1650) was preserved. It has three naves divided in six sections by 10 Tuscan columns of red marble. On the last two sections of the central nave, before the presbytery, a dome rises illuminated by two lateral windows. The space of the presbytery is covered by a barrel vault with lunettes.

The entire surface of the vaults, dome and of the arches are full of a profuse and volumetric decoration of plasterwork with geometric, vegetal and figurative motifs, which, along with the murals, which follow the sequence of the plasterwork, give movement to an orthogonal plant and without dynamism.

Main altarpiece

In 1657, the Canon Justino de Neve, as a visitor to the chapels of the Cathedral of Seville, notified the town hall that he had collected alms for a new major altarpiece. On August 31, 1657, Martin Moreno, an assembly master who had already executed the choir stalls of this church, was hired for execution.

This baroque altarpiece consists of a bank very reminiscent of floral themes, as well as the side altars, where the silver tabernacle is found, flanked by the carvings of St. Peter and St. Paul. The images are framed by pairs of columns of Doric order and then follows a body, framed by two Solomonic columns, with attic base. At the top are carvings of seraphims. Recently a crucifix has been added, attributed to Juan de Mesa, dated around 1620.

AUDIO CREDIT AND SOURCE: Eja Mater, fons amoris by The Tudor Consort is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 International License.

TEXT SOURCE: adapted translation of


Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei, Catholics Striving for Holiness,

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