History

On March 18th 1588

A box with a parchment and some relics was unexpectedly found when demolishing the Turpian Tower. The parchment was written in three languages: Latin, Arabic and Castilian Spanish. The relics were. “An image of Mary the Virgin painted on a small wood panel; painted in a very old style, in Egyptian dress (oriental), holding the Child in her arms”, as described by the Marquis of Estepa; a piece of the cloth the Virgin wiped her tears with, on contemplating his Son’s crucifixion, and a bone from St. Stephen, one of the very first Christian martyrs.

Fact:

The Turpian Tower was the minaret of the town’s mosque, supposedly built in the time of the Phoenicians. It was demolished in order to build the third nave of the Cathedral.
The parchment displayed an unknown prophesy by St. John about the end of the world. This prophesy had supposedly been hidden by St. Cecilius, Granada’s first Bishop, in order to keep it safe until the time of “its revelation”.

 

On February 21st 1595

Some underground ovens for slaking lime from Roman times were found by two treasure hunters, Francisco Garcia and Miguel Lopez Muñoz, in Valparaiso Mount. St. Cecilius mortal remains, as described in Latin letters carved on a metal plaque, were found in one of these ovens.

Fact: That same year, amidst a bustling popular devotion, pilgrimage to the site started. More than 1,200 crosses were erected to signal the way. Only five remain nowadays. Some documents in the Abbey’s Archive describe this evolution: “… 16 days after erecting the first Cross, there were 50 […] On June 27th there were 683, of which 136 were big”.

1598

Don Pedro de Castro, Granada’s Archbishop, provided four chaplains to minister cult in this sacred place. They were accommodated in a small house next to the Holy Caves.

April 30th 1600

The authenticity of the relics is declared by a Council presided by Don Pedro de Castro.

 

1607

The old name of “Mount Ilipula, or Ilipulitano” is replaced by “Sacromonte” (Sacred Mount).

1609

Construction works at the Abbey start under the direction of Pedro Sanchez, a Jesuit priest and architect. A Foundation for the Abbey was established with one Abbot and 20 Canons.

 

Fact: As one can see in the building plans displayed in the Abbey’s museum, the ambitious original project included four cloisters and a magnificent Church which never came to completion. The present Collegiate Church was meant to be its Sacristy.

1610

Sacromonte Abbey’s Tridentine Seminary-College was founded, with the name of St. Dionysius the Areopagite.

Fact: It had an original capacity for 30 collegiate students.

Don Pedro de Castro is commissioned Archbishop of Seville. Because of his departure, the works on the Abbey’s main project come to a halt.

1615 – 1617

The Choir in the Collegiate Church, one of its main features, was made by Francisco Diaz del Rivero.

 

1618

The students of the Seminary-College could get their studies accredited and become ordained priests.

On December 20th 1623

Don Pedro de Castro dies. This also means a severe shortage of the funding he provided for the works at the Abbey.

 

1624

The Sacromonte site receives the visit of King Philip IV, his Patron.

1646

February 1st is declared St. Cecilius holy day.

1682

The leaden books, which were found near the relics, were declared false by a Vatican Council presided by Pope Innocentius XI.

1698

Jose de Risueño makes the wood-carved sculpture of the Christ of Consolation, who is popularly known as the Christ of the Gypsies.

1711

Construction works at the Abbey resume following the financial support of Archbishop Don Martin Azcargorta.

1752

Pope Benedict XIV concedes the Academic tenures of Canonical and Civil Laws, Ecclesiastical History, and Arabic, Greek and Hebrew Languages.

 

1845

The Law School is closed and, therefore, the College loses the category of University. It is transformed into a High School for gentlemen.

1870

Civil Law classes resume, however, without any official recognition.

1895

The New College building and St. Dionysius Neo-Gothic Church are completed.

 

Fact:

Sacromonte Abbey has been a first-rate Educational Institution, as shown by the number of illustrious alumni, among them 28 University of Granada Chancellors, 24 Bishops, or Francisco de Saavedra, Spain’s Secretary of State at the end of the 19th century. Don Andres Manjon, founder of the Ave Maria Schools in the 20th century, was a canon in the Abbey.

1919

The Association of the College’s former alumni is founded.

 

1929

The Museum at Sacromonte Abbey is opened.

Fact: Among other invaluable objects, the museum displays a painting by Goya. It is the portrait of Fernando de Saavedra, an illustrious former student at the College, who donated it to the institution, as it was customary among former Sacromonte Abbey College pupils who had reached a high rank in society.

On May 14th 1939

The brotherhood of the Christ of Consolation was officially founded, and consecrated by the Abbot Don Jose Jimenez Casqet.

1975

St. Dionysius College is closed.

 

2000

On June 28th 2000, the Vatican returns the original “Leaden Books” to the Abbey

On September 21st 2000, a great fire burns the roofs of the New College.

2010

The new Museum opens.

 

On September 15th 2015

The Sacromonte Abbey Foundation is founded by Don Francisco Javier Martinez Fernandez, Archbishop of Granada.