Church of Santa Fe de Conques

Church of Santa Fe de Conques
Church of Santa Fe de Conques

In the first half of the 10th century, the primitive Carolingian monastery of Santa Fe de Conques began work to carry out the first modifications to its old temple. Throughout the Middle Ages, the French region of Aveyrin experienced a period of great economic and cultural splendor, especially the Conques region, which had the relics of Saint Faith, which attracted a large number of pilgrims.


It was precisely the increase in pilgrims passing through Santa Fe that led the congregation to consider the need for a new church to meet the needs of visitors. It seems possible that the prototype of a pilgrimage church, with the aisles extending to the transept and embracing the chancel as an ambulatory, appeared at this time and influenced other pilgrimage churches such as San Martín de Tours, San Marcial de Limoges or even in the Iberian Peninsula the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. However, historians have not been able to firmly affirm such a hypothesis.

The works must have begun in the thirties when he was abbot of the Odolrico congregation. A building was erected with a Latin cross plan, with three naves with the central one wider and taller than the lateral ones and relatively short, since it only had six sections. At the foot of the temple was anarthex inheritance of the primitive Christian basilicas that later, in the 19th century, was flanked by two tall neo-Romanesque towers. The transept, being crossed by the lateral naves, allows the transition surrounding the choir and the chancel so that the faithful could pass through the interior of the temple and venerate the relics of the saint without interrupting the religious services. The head has three apses that open from the main chapel, the only one in the temple, marking the outside thanks to the arrangement of staggered volumes.

Regarding the roofing, the ribbed semicircular vault that runs through the main nave and the groin vaults for the lateral naves stand out. The galleries were covered with a quarter-sphere vault and the central area of ​​the transept with a ribbed dome that was raised, like the bell tower, throughout the 14th century.

Santa Fe stands out for the magnificent iconographic program that was developed on the main front, the West one. Sheltered under a deep semicircular arch, one of the most popular themes of Romanesque statuary, the Last Judgment, unfolds. The biblical theme is represented following the guidelines of the Gospel of Saint Matthew and is structured in three superimposed floors: in the upper area Jesus Christ in majesty appears accompanied by angels carrying the symbols of the passion and on the right and left the saved and those sentenced respectively. In the intermediate level follows the procession of the blessed and in the center Santa Fe.the last register has represented hell with Satan and paradise with Abraham.

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