Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Angels
LOCATION: 3 Km from the urban area, at the top of a mountain
daily, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
*Note: Illustrative timetable.
It is an interesting architectural ensemble dated from the 16th and 17th centuries, which is composed of the church, guest quarters, viewpoint, wells and other annexed structures.
The devotion to the patron of Sant Mateu, Our Lady of the Angels, started in 1584, when the hermit Sebastian found an image of the Virgin in the altar’s concavity of the previous San Antonio Hermitage.
Some important dates related to the history of this collection of historic monuments are: 25th October 1585, when Vicente Cerdà donated the sanctuary and its mountain to the Jury of Sant Mateu; founding of Our Lady of the Angels Society in 1866 and its/their buyout of the auctioned and disentailed land on 13th April 1866; fire which destroyed the church’s interior on 13th December 1918; benediction of the new image from the pope Benedict xv, sculpted in Carrara marble; arrival of the new image at Sant Mateu on 30th April 1924 and its enthronement on 27th September 1925; and celebration of the 4th Centenary in 1984.
Our Lady of the Angels Festivity takes place the second Saturday after Easter.
In the 15th century, a hermitage dedicated to San Antonio Abad and San Pablo Ermitaño was situated in this location, but it was absorbed by the new church founded in 1590 and finished in 1622. The guest quarters, an annexed L-shaped building, were finished in 1590.
It is a Renaissance church with Baroque decorating from the 18th century. Its central nave is covered with a vault. It has side chapels, transept, dome, choir, sacristy and a safe-keeping room, where people can venerate the image. The carefully worked front door consists of a semi-circular arch and archivolts with reliefs representing figures of angels. Two pilasters decorated with geometric motifs flank the arch.
Some key dates related to the construction work are: construction of the apse from 1590 to 1600; construction of the rest of the church from 1602 to 1622 by Lázaro de Reinaga and Bernardo Cumba; reparation and construction of the transept and battlemented wall in 1685; interior decorating from 1690 to 1693; and construction of the bell tower from 1725 to 1730.