Sagrada Familia




Spain – Constitutional monarchy on the Iberian peninsula in SW Europe: capital, Madrid. Christianity came to Spain in the first century.
The first evangelists may have been St. Paul and St. James. Some suffered martyrdom in 3rd century persecutions. The Council at Elvira (305) enacted the first legislation on clerical celibacy in the West. In the 5th century, the Visigoths invaded. They brought the Arian heresy, but were converted to Catholicism by 589. They ruled until the invasion of the Muslim Moors in the 8th century.
The Church survived Muslim rule, with Christians gradually winning back their land, until the last of the Moors were expelled in 1492. In the same year Columbus discovered America, leading to Spain's growth into an empire and the spread of Christianity into the New World. At this time the Inquisition was instituted, to remedy doctrinal irregularities that had developed under Moorish rule. Jews were required to be baptized or leave Spain.
The Reformation had little impact here. Spain provided many significant figures of the Counter-Reformation. But the 18th century brought the Enlightenment through (Bourbon) rulers who oppressed the Church, and expelled the Jesuits. A constitution enacted in 1812 undermined the Church, reflecting the French liberalism of Napoleon.
In 1931, a revolutionary republic nationalized Church property, secularized schools, and passed anti-clerical laws.
The Spanish Civil War began in 1936, between leftist Loyalists and rightist Nationalists. The Nationalists won after a terrible loss of life. Under the dictatorship of Franco, a concordat was signed between the new government and the Vatican, in which Catholicism was declared the state religion.
After Franco's death, a new constitution disestablished the Church, while allowing full religious liberty. 94% of the population are Catholic.


Sagrada Família - a large, privately-funded Catholic church that has been under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain since 1882 and is not expected to be complete until at least 2026. Considered the master-work of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), the project's design have made it one of Barcelona's (and Spain's) top tourist attractions for many years.

Gaudí worked on the project from 1883 and devoted the last fifteen years of his life entirely to the endeavour. His love of the Church is visible in the eighteen towers, which symbolize Jesus, the Virgin, the four evangelists and the twelve apostles, the three facades, representing the human life of Jesus (from birth to death), and the inside, suggesting the heavenly Jerusalem.

After Gaudí's death in 1926, work continued under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Parts of the unfinished basilica and Gaudí's models and workshop were destroyed during the war by Catalan anarchists. The present design is based on reconstructed versions of the lost plans as well as on modern adaptations. Since 1940 the architects Francesc Quintana, Isidre Puig Boada, Lluís Bonet i Gari and Francesc Cardoner have carried on the work.

The current director and son of Lluís Bonet, Jordi Bonet i Armengol, has been introducing computers into the design and construction process since the 1980s. Mark Burry of New Zealand serves as Executive Architect and Researcher. Sculptures by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo and the controversial Josep Subirachs decorate the fantastical façades.

2.26 million people visited the partially built church in 2004.

As of 2006, work concentrated on the crossing and supporting structure for the main tower of Jesus Christ as well as the southern enclosure of the central nave, which will become the Glory façade.

The church is to be consecrated and proclaimed a Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI on November 7, 2010, during his visit.







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