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Gibraltar: Cathedral of Mary the Crowned

About the Cathedral of Mary the Crowned:

The Cathedral of Mary the Crowned was built on the site of what used to be a mosque. After the Christians drove the Moors from Gibraltar in 1462, the mosque was used as a church. The Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella decreed it to be stripped of its Muslim decorations and be Christianised. Their Coat of Arms was placed in the courtyard, where it can still be seen today.

During the Great Siege of Gibraltar (Jun 24, 1779 – Feb 7, 1783) it suffered tremendous damage and despite the attempts of returning exiles to rebuild, little progress was made. In 1790, Governor Boyd offered his assistance in return for some land on which the building site stood, enabling him to re-route Main Street.

Until the 1800’s any person who died in Gibraltar had the right to be buried under the floor of the Cathedral.


The High Altar:  The marble backdrop to the high altar is very grandiose and some would say, in the style of that of St. Peter’s in Rome. The beautiful marble plinth and columns, with the six-ton bogattino top were originally bound for South America, when the ship carrying this precious cargo sank in the harbour. The Arengo family bought the salvage rights and installed the marble in the Cathedral as their family altar. It was later placed in its present position.

The Altar of the Blessed Sacrament:  There are two marble tablets here, one in remembrance of Mgr. Narciso Pallares, a priest who was murdered in the Cathedral by a madman in 1885; and the other, with the initials of Padre Juan Romero de Figueroa, the only priest who remained in this church when the British occupied Gibraltar in 1704. In great measure, thanks to him, the catholic faith survived.

Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes:  A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was placed on the patio here by Bishop Canilla in 1858. The Bishop’s brother had been miraculously cured of a tumor during a visit to Lourdes.

Altar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:  This altar was sponsored by Dame Victoria Mackintosh.

Tableau:  Representing Christ on the Cross, flanked by Our Lady and St. John. The background to these figures was painted by local artist Mario Finlayson.

Finding the Cathedral of Mary the Crowned in Gibraltar:

Address:  215 Main Street, Gibraltar

Tel:  +350 200 76688

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