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Cathedral of Santa Eulalia: Wikis


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The neo-Gothic front of Santa Eulalia

The Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (in Catalan, La Seu, the bishop's "seat" or cathedra) is the Gothic cathedral seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. (Though sometimes inaccurately so called, the famous Sagrada Família is not a cathedral). The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The cloisters enclosing the Well of the Geese (Fuente de las Ocas) were completed about 1450. The neo-Gothic façade was constructed over the nondescript exterior that is common to Catalan churches[1] in the 19th century.

The cathedral was constructed over the crypt of a former Visigothic chapel, dedicated to Saint James, which was the proprietary church of the Viscounts of Barcelona, one of whom, Mir Gerberto, sold it in 1058 to bishop Guisleberto.[2] Its site faced the Roman forum of Barcelona,

It is a hall church, vaulted over five aisles, the outer two divided into chapels. The transept is truncated. The east end is a chevet of nine radiating chapels connected by an ambulatory. The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt.

The aisles are almost as high as the nave.

The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in Barcelona. One story is that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called 'Baixada de Santa Eulalia'). The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.

The choir stalls retain the coats-of-arms of the knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. In his first trip into Spain, Charles, the future Holy Roman Emperor, selected Barcelona as the site of a chapter of his Order. The king had arrived for his investiture as Count of Barcelona, and the city, as a Mediterranean port, offered the closest communication with other far-flung Hapsburg dominions, while the vast proportions of the cathedral would accommodate the grand ceremonies required. In 1518 the Order's herald, Thomas Isaac, and its treasurer, Jean Micault, were commissioned to prepare the sanctuary for the first sitting of the chapter in 1519. Juan de Borgonya executed the painted decoration of the sanctuary.

The Crist de Lepant

One side chapel is dedicated to "Christ of Lepanto", and contains a cross from a ship that fought at the Battle of Lepanto (1571).[3] The conventional shift of the corpus to the right, is explained by popular Catalan legend to avoid being hit by a cannonball, a miraculous sign from God that the Ottomans would be defeated.

The cathedral has a secluded Gothic cloister where thirteen white geese are kept, the number explained by the assertion that Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred.[3]

A program of cleaning and restoration of the cathedral was carried out in 1968-72.[4]



  • The tradition of the Dancing Egg is upheld on the day of Corpus Christi at the cathedral.



  1. ^ Edward Steese, "The Great Churches of Catalonia" Parnassus 7.3 (March, 1935:9-12) p. 9.
  2. ^ F. Carreras Candi La Ciutat de Barcelona
  3. ^ a b Patterson, Margot (2004-04-01). "To build a cathedral is immense, crazy work". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 2007-01-12.  
  4. ^ Detailed in Juan Bassegoda Nonell, La catedral de Barcelona: su restoración 1968-1972 (Barcelona).

External links

Coordinates: 41°23′02″N 2°10′35″E / 41.38389°N 2.17639°E / 41.38389; 2.17639

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