San Martin Pinario Monastery History 

San Martín Pinario Monastery lavish stands in Plaza de la Inmaculada, only a few meters away from Azabachería facade of the Cathedral. Construction began in the last third of the XVI century and ended two centuries later, the late XVIII century. A mid-nineteenth century was no longer monastery and, at present, is seat of Major Seminary of Santiago’s Archdiocese; of Compostelan Theological Institute and the School from Social Work, dependent of the University of Santiago and the Archive Diocesan. Some facilities are dedicated to different residence hall and administrative units related to the Church, as well as a guest. The monastery is, together with the Cathedral, the most valuable set Galician Baroque, and the second largest in Spain, after El Escorial (Madrid).

The monastery was founded by some Benedictine monks who have settled in a place called Pignario after the discovery of the Apostle’s remains, near the chapel called Corticela (now integrated into the Cathedral, and which is accessed by Azabachería door). Pignario name comes from the pines that were in this place where monks built their first chapel in the XI century. The group began its further development in 1494 under dependence of congregation of Valladolid, five years before of the foundation by Catholic Kings in 1499, of the Royal Hospital, now converted into Parador Hostal of Catholic Kings. Until late of XI century the monks acquired enough wealth to begin construction of monastery, whose works began in the church.

The Church

The construction of this Monastery began shortly after the nomination of Juan de San Clemente how Archbishop of Santiago (1587), in a particularly difficult time. The disaster of Invincible Armada and the threat of Drake, led the archbishop to hide the relics of the Apostle "not to be profaned by those barbarians heretics" and build an appropriate system of walls to protect the city, which led to plane carrying the earliest known of Santiago in 1595.

On this context, in 1590, Mateo Lopez, the most prominent architect Santiago monastic late sixteenth century, planned the church of San Martín Pinario, for which he also designed its impressive front-altar, which is the germ of future monastery. The monastic reform process undertaken to promote the Catholic Kings of Royal Hospital building above is the key to understanding the evolution and guidance, throughout its history, will take this set.

The church served as a starting point of the monastery and as a guideline from which the works should progress from north to south, toward the cathedral. The design by Matthew Lee made the church in 1590 did not suffer serious disruptions after his death in 1606, when Benito González de Araújo takes the helm until 1620.

Mateo López design a church with a Latin cross inscribed in a rectangle with a rectangular head, also flanked by two rectangular spaces (possible vestry) that are traversed by a balcony and covered with a barrel vault with fake wood panelling, like the nave, which were three chapels linked by small arches.

In addition to Mateo López and Benito González de Araújo, in the process of construction also participated Bartolomé Fernández Lechuga, who built the magnificent dome ribbed and organized the interior will get a majesty, and to lay the foundation for what later Processional will be the Senate and the Office of the monastery.

During the eighteenth century will perform three works of particular interest to modify the plan of the church: the new sacristy, choir loft and the new extension of the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy, works attributed to Friar Gabriel de Casas, Fray Tomás Alonso and Fernando de Casas y Novoa, respectively.

Following the departure of lettuce in the play worked different teachers until the final conclusion of the monastery: the Salamanca Peña y Toro, which is responsible for containment works (after the transfer of the walls), the aforementioned Friar Thomas and Friar Alonso Gabriel House, which made various contributions on the facade, cloisters, monastic bell tower and units; Casas y Novoa and García de Quiñones.

The church shows its main facade, east, facing the Plaza de San Martín, in which stands a magnificent oval staircase, a work of pleasure to walk, no doubt inspired by giving access to the Cathedral from the square Obradoiro.

Above the door displays a showy facade Plateresque paths chaired images of the Virgin, San Benito and San Bernardo, just below the oval that allows light to enter the temple. On the pediment that crowns the doorway is San Martin dividing his cloak with a poor. The towers of the church does not exceed the height of facade, due to opposition from the council of Cathedral, fearing that greater majesty overshadow the basilica and is losing visibility.

Inside the temple several interconnected chapels open on each side of the longitudinal arm. It is very striking the lavish baroque altarpiece, designed by Fernando Casas y Novoa and executed by Romay. Closing the frontispiece of the cruise include the altarpiece of San Benito, in the north, and the British Virgin in the south. Also worthy of admiring the altarpiece of the chapel of Socorro, of Santa Escolástica, the Cristo de la Paciencia and Santa Gertrudis. Mateo de Prado made in walnut, the choir stalls, which is considered the most important of those in Galicia and one of the principal at Peninsula.

The Monastery

The monastery is of great simplicity and coolness of lines, broken only by the facade, which is accessed by a grand staircase from the Plaza de la Inmaculada and leaving behind the Cathedral, a few meters.

The facade is divided into three parts with a central shaft flanked by two large canvases of four floors. Tower of five bodies helps break the monotony. The baroque facade in the centre, with a span of lintel entrance is guarded by two pairs of huge Tuscan columns. Above is the statue of San Benedicto and the ball flew. At the top stands the structure added by Fernando de Casas in 1738, with the arms of Spain between scallops and the figure of San Martín de Tours sharing his cloak with a poor.

The monastery has two cloisters, one is denominated of the Office and the other is the main, called of the Reception or the Processions.

The cloister of the goal in height, has two floors connected by paired Tuscan columns giant torn from a high base, as a plinth, slightly sunken. The first floor is organized by six arches and in the upper lintels span are no balconies, with paired Doric columns in large spaces. This cloister is closed with the bell tower built in the northwest. The centre is occupied by a large fountain, which was transferred from a neighbouring yard.

Initially assigned to Casas y Novoa, it seems that the fountain was built by Fray Gabriel de Casas.

The faculty offices, which began in 1626 and concluded Lettuce Fernando Casas y Novoa in 1743, has two floors connected by paired columns. Its design separates from presenting the great cloister. In a rectangle, has six sections with the long sides and four smaller ones, which are separated by paired columns, connecting the two floors.


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