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Church of Saint Thyrsus
Iglesia de San Tirso (Spanish)
Basic information
Location Spain Oviedo, Spain
Geographic coordinates 43°21′43.84″N 5°50′37.56″W / 43.3621778°N 5.8437667°W / 43.3621778; -5.8437667Coordinates: 43°21′43.84″N 5°50′37.56″W / 43.3621778°N 5.8437667°W / 43.3621778; -5.8437667
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Province Asturias
Ecclesiastical status Church
Website Official Website
Architectural description
Architect(s) Tioda
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque
Year completed 9th century

The Church of Saint Thyrsus (Spanish: Iglesia de San Tirso or Spanish: Iglesia de San Tirso el Real de Oviedo) is a Roman Catholic Asturian Romanesque church situated in Oviedo, in Asturias, northern Spain. Dedicated to Saint Thyrsus, it was built by Tioda, the royal architect of Alfonso II of Asturias. The Great Fire of Oviedo in 1521 and rebuilding in the 18th century removed most of the original church, except for a three-light window.

Original three-light window of the church of San Tirso (IX century)


The building has suffered so much from alterations over the centuries and only the general plan has been preserved. It is that of a basilica with nave and aisles divided by rude stone piers set at unequal intervals, from which round arches spring. In the easternmost bay, however, owing to the smaller span, the arch was made sufficiently pointed to raise its crown to the same height as the others. This irregularity is not surprising. Back in Imperial Roman times, barrel vaults were given a pointed form, when, in order to make the height of rooms of varying size uniform, it was necessary to raise the crown of the vault in some of them. This is illustrated by various chambers in the House of Tiberius on the Palatine [1].

There is no satisfactory explanation of the ' many angels ' the building is said to have presented:

Basilicam quoque sancti Tirsi miro aedificio cum multis angulis fundamentavit.

Codex Vigilanus

In the rectangular sanctuary atriplet round-arched window (2 by 2 metres (6.6 ft × 6.6 ft) is preserved. With its pre-romanesque bases, rough brick arches, and capitals with rude packed leaves, it gives an idea of the better style of building and carving in the time of Alfonso II of Asturias. We know that the church of San Tirso housed Royal Chapel [2]:

Basilicam in honorem S. Martyris Tyrsi prope palatium condidit.

The architect Tioda had displayed all the magnificence he knew :

Necnon et tertiam baselicam in memoriam saneti Tyrsi condidit, cuius operis pulcritudo plus presens potest mirare quam eruditus scriba laudare.

—Cronica Ad Sebastianum [3]


  1. ^ Rivoira 1918, p. 335
  2. ^ Redondo Cadenas 1976, p. 609
  3. ^ Latin text available here [1].




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