plan your visit
Plaza Juan de Mariana, S/N. Toledo
(+34) 925 251 507
Tickets and bracelets are sold at the monument ticket office.
Open from monday to sunday.*
APRIL 1 TO SEPTEMBER 30
10:00 - 18:45 **
OCTOBER 1 TO MARCH 31
10:00 - 17:45 **
General: 2’80 €
Reduced: 2’40 € *
Free: 0 € **
TOURIST BRACELET: 9€
ACCESS TO THE 7 MONUMENTS
* January 1 and December 25 closed.
December 24 and 31 closed at 13:00.
** The ticket window closes 20 min. before.
* Accredited groups. +20 people groups.
** Under the age of 11. Accredited religious. Residents in Toledo.
QUIENES HAN VISITADO LA IGLESIA DE LOS JESUITAS OPINAN
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“Las dos torres”
Merece la pena visitar no solo el interior de esta iglesia, sino también animarse a subir a sus dos torres. Desde allí podremos ver a nuestros pies parte de la ciudad, incluyendo entre otros edificios el imponente alcázar y la catedral.
“Vistas de Toledo”
Bonita iglesia, importante subir a la torre de donde se pueden observar impresionantes vistas de todo Toledo.
“Unas vistas de la ciudad increíbles!!”
La Iglesia es de estilo barroco, muy bonita, lo genial es subir al campanario y fotografiar la ciudad, fabulosas vistas!!.
Jesuits in Toledo
In 1559 the Archbishop of Carranza allowed the Jesuits to establish in the imperial town. They also wanted to establish a monastery there because the town had a university. After living in Infantes School and in other houses, they finally moved to the Plaza del Salvador where they established the monastery and San Eugenio School. It soon was too small to fit all the pupils and the faithful, so they decided to purchase a larger plot of land, in a quieter place, away from the noise of the market.
St Ildephonsus’ house
Tradition has preserved the place where the saint’s birth house was. A small chapel was in its place until the sixteenth century, when the main houses belonging to the Count of Orgaz, Juan Hurtado de Mendoza Rojas y Guzmán, were built on top. He put them for sale and told his Jesuit brother about it. The Society of Jesus purchased the buildings in 1569 to build a large church and a monastery.
Pedro and Estefanía Manrique, two pious siblings
They had to buy more plots of land to add to the initial houses that they had bought from the Count of Orgaz. One of them was the Misericordia Hospital, which had to move elsewhere so it did not lose the little wealth it owned. They invested so much money on the construction that eventually it ran out. Providentially, two pious siblings, Pedro and Estefanía Manrique, came to the rescue by offering to be patrons and giving all their inheritance. They were both single and had no children. He had been Knight of the Order of Alcántara and gentleman in the court of Felipe II and Felipe III. She had been lady-in-waiting to Queen Isabel de Valois, wife of Felipe II, and afterwards she had retired to a life of devotion and charity.
Founding document by don Pedro and doña Estefanía Manrique
‘Because the tradition is that the glorious St Ildephonsus, archbishop and patron saint of this town, was born in these houses, where we are founding the church; and because we, Pedro and Estefanía Manrique, are very devoted to this glorious saint, our wish is that this church is dedicated to him and that his image is put on the main altarpiece, in the most important place.’
The tombs of the founders
Under the high altar there was to be a tomb where to put the bodies of the founding siblings and their parents. Their statues would go underneath two arcosolia on the high altar. The figures were to be kneeling in adoration towards the altar, two at each side, the siblings and their parents, Gaspar Manrique, Knight of Santiago, and Isabel de Castilla. None of this was ever accomplished because the construction was finished decades later, when this form of architecture was no longer used. Nevertheless, the bodies of the Manrique siblings rest over the doors of the chapels at either side of the high altar. They were taken there from the old chapel that was built on St Ildephonsus’ house, which is where they were initially buried. Their coats of arms, with the arms of the Manrique and Castilla families, were placed on the arches of the dome.
CONSECRATION AND WORSHIP
The first mass
The main nave and the chapels were opened for mass in 1718, thanks to a temporary brick wall built at the end of the nave to enclose the finished space while the crossing and the apse were still under construction. The old chapel over St Ildephonsus’ house was still standing at the back. There were four days of festivals to celebrate the event and the faithful congregated en masse in the church.
The construction´s final and the drama of the Expulsion
Finally, the construction work finished in 1765, supervised by José Hernández Sierra from Salamanca. He built the crossing, the dome, the chancel, the octagonal chapel and the vestry. Two years later King Carlos III ordered the Jesuits to be driven out of Spain and Indias and their properties will be confiscated. The library will pass to the archbishop library and the novitiate of St Eugene will be occupied by the Toledo University.
Return and presence in XX century
The jesuitics return was in 1903 in Beato cardinal Sancha times, who allowed them to recover the church and to open a hall of residence in he place they had been until 2011, when due to the shortage of vocations they have closed the house and they have return to Madrid.
Dome with the shield of the founders
Incredible Counter-reformist arquitecture accord with the model for the Jesuit church
The enormous temple shows their Counter-reformist spirituality. It has a single nave with side chapels that are interconnected, and its incredible architecture can be seen in the large dome that covers the space of the crossing.
Although Gesù Church in Rome is established as the model for all the other churches, other more recent Spanish constructions influence the plan.
The deed of foundation, written in 1602, established the dimensions of the church. They refer to a church which is almost 30 metres long. The deed said that they wanted to build the church ‘like the one that the Society has in the town of Palencia’, although in 1605 the plan of the church was to be the one ‘that is being made in Alcalá School of the Society of Jesus, where they are correcting any mistakes they find’.
Light for the Eucharist
Light in the Baroque church, symbol of Counter-reforming spirituality, shines in gradually and dramatically, and focuses on the places where the Eucharist is exalted. The light in the central nave is diffused and leaves the side chapels in darkness, to concentrate all the illumination on the crossing, next to the high altar. Light floods in through the eight windows of the dome, onto the place where Christ’s body is consecrated and venerated.
Architect Monegro gives the plan and the Jesuit teacher Pedro Sánchez design
The plan was designed following the model of the Jesuit Gesù Church in Rome and the Spanish churches of Palencia and Alcalá. The master builder of the cathedral, Juan Bautista de Monegro, is said to have designed the plan, although it was the Jesuit Brother Pedro Sánchez who took charge of the construction work, which started in 1629. He had proved he was skilful and capable, and he had been ordered to supervise the construction work in Toledo and the Imperial School in Madrid, founded by Empress Margarita, sister of Felipe II. He probably designed a new plan that included an alteration of the apse and the façade. The first stone was solemnly laid on 10 February 1629. 200 stone poles and charred sticks had been purchased the previous year from Las Ventas con Peña Aguilera quarry and over one hundred bricks. Strangely, the temple was started by the façade, to protect the mass that was held in the original chapel over St Ildephonsus’ house while the construction took place.
Francisco Bautista and the Baroque façade
When Pedro Sánchez died in 1633 and he was replaced by another important architect from the Society, Brother Francisco Bautista, who had participated in the octagonal chapel or chapel of relics project in Toledo Cathedral. Bautista designed the bold Baroque façade and changed Monegro's Mannerist design for a bolder and more Baroque style. He also introduced decorations inside the church – large plaster corbels and cantilever cornices. All this contributes to the strict and calm concept of classical architecture.
Bartolomé Zumbigo and the towers
In 1642, the construction work was slow and was interrupted because there were not enough resources.
In 1669, architect Bartolomé Zumbigo from Toledo continued the construction work. Zumbigo erected the body of the nave and chapels up to the cornice. The second floor of the façade has a large window that lets light flood into the nave. The rest of the façade was finished in 1701, as well as the second floor of the towers, which were finished off with belfries.
José Hernández Sierra and the crossing with a dome
The construction work did not continue until 1752, when José Hernández Sierra, from Salamanca, who was the quantity surveyor of the cathedral, took charge. Until then all their effort had been put into building the adjacent building that was to be a monastery or novitiate, dedicated to St Eugene. Now it was time to finish the crossing, which was covered with a dome with a wooden framework, on a circular tambour covered with plaster on the inside and an octagonal one covered with bricks on the outside, covered with slate slabs from Guadalupe Mountains. The wooden strips, covered with elegant materials, were a solution for beautiful Baroque domes when Spain's economy was in crisis and bankrupt. Sierra also designed the new vestry, taking as models the one in the cathedral, the one in the nearby San Pedro Mártir Monastery and in the one in San Juan Bautista Hospital. The construction work finished at last in 1765, only two years before King Carlos III ordered the Society to be driven out of Spain.
Altarpiece of San Jose
Altarpieces and chapels for the saints
In the first project, the altarpieces in the chapels were going to be dedicated to saints to whom the founders were particularly devoted: Peter, Paul, John the Baptist, Benedict, Mary Magdalene, Joseph and Stephen. For the inauguration in 1718 the altarpieces dedicated to St Ignatius, St Francis Borgia, Christ the Saint and Our Lady of Peace, work of sculptor Vicente Alonso were placed in the church. Today the side chapels are dedicated to St Francis Borgia, Christ crucified, St Francis Xavier, the Virgin of Fatima, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, St Ignatius and the martyrs of the Civil War.
The second chapel in the Epistle nave is dedicated to St Francis Xavier, who is represented in the centre of the altarpiece by Pedro de Luna. The saint is about to die opposite the coasts of China, while angels come down to receive his soul.
In the third chapel there is a figure of Christ crucified, carved by the Jesuit Domingo Beltrán, around 1580. The colours of this Mannerist-style figure are very moving and the coiling movement is very typical of this style. We know that the people of Toledo became more and more devoted to this figure. It was placed here together with two powerful figures of the Virgin and St John, probably created by the Tomé workshop, which made the famous sculpture ‘Transparente de la Catedral’, in Toledo Cathedral.
On the left, also called the gospel nave, the third chapel has an image of St Ignatius of Loyola, made in the nineteenth century. It is a beautiful Rococo golden altarpiece, carved carefully, with mirrors on the niche.
The big altarpieces in the crossing
On the crossing there are magnificent altarpieces from old San Juan Bautista Church, now disappeared, which replace the old altarpieces by Pedro de Luna. On the right is what used to be the main altarpiece, with a painting of the Baptism of Christ by Alonso del Arco, the deaf artist from Madrid, in 1702. On the left is what used to be an altarpiece of the carpenters' guild, which also came from the same parish church that Mateo de Medina built, with the magnificent image of St Joseph, carved by Germán López Mejía. He is also the images of the Apostles author that are in the nave and the crossing and the beautiful image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the reliquary.
The images of the Apostles
All round the nave, the crossing and the chancel there are fourteen images of the Apostles, by sculptor Germán López Mejía: Peter, Paul, John, James, Andrew, James the Less, Matthew, Thomas, Philip, Jude Thaddeus, Bartholomew and Simon; Matthias and Barnabas have also been added to the twelve.
An optical illusion. The chancel is dominated by an original altarpiece, consisting of a fresco painting, framed by columns and a frame that are painted in perspective. This technique is called trompe l'oeil, because of the optical illusion of the false architecture. The altarpiece, as well as the shrine on the altar, was made by the Velázquez brothers, Luis and Alejandro. The latter was professor of perspective in the Madrid Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It represents the most important event in the life of St Ildephonsus, exactly in the place where he lived: the miracle of the Virgin’s descent to present St Ildephonsus with a chasuble. According to tradition, this miracle happened where the cathedral stands today, as an award for the Bishop of Toledo in the seventh century because he defended his treatise De perpetua Virginitate against Jovinianus and other heretics. The altarpiece exalts the book and an angel shows it while other angels burn the treatises written by the heretics.
The Society of Jesus
When the founder, Ignatius of Loyola, died in Rome in 1556, the Society he had created to defend Catholic faith from the Lutheran heresy had already existed for sixteen years and had spread to Italy, Spain, France, Flanders, Germany, Brazil, Hindustani, Mallaca, Mallucas and Japan. St Ignatius ‘cried tears of shame' when told about it had spread and how it touched people's souls.
The reliquary, holy of holies
Estefanía de Manrique had insisted especially in the deed of foundation that there should be ‘a chapel as a sanctuary to place relics, and it should be fit for the purpose'. Even though the Protestants had opposed, love and worship of relics had been encouraged at the Council of Trent, which had been held recently. These sacred spaces show this, offering beautiful reliquaries with delicately sculpted busts and gold carvings. The octagonal plan symbolises number eight which is the number of eternity. The red walls symbolise the love and blood of the martyrs, witnesses and people who have continued Christ's sacrifice. The whole reliquary is dominated by a spectacular Rococo altarpiece by Pedro de Luna, who also made the relic cabinet, with the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, by Germán López Mejía, in which the Virgin Mary is defending a soul from the Hell’s dragon, with a spear.
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