This Romanesque church located in the town of Santa Cruz de la Serós, north of the Spanish province of Huesca, is one of the greatest exponents of rural architecture and sculpture in the artistic style of the Middle Ages.
Within all the sculptural ensemble that it treasures, one of its most outstanding parts is the tympanum that crowns the western portal of access to the temple. There you can see the typical crismón of the time. A crismón with the anagrams in Greek characters that give name to Jesus Christ and the Trinity.
Tympanum of Santa María de Santa Cruz de la Serós
In this case the chrismon is flanked by two lions, as can be seen in the nearby Cathedral of Jaca, to whose diocese the church belonged and belongs. But with the difference that in the temple dedicated to Santa María de Santa Cruz de la Serós, the figures of the penitent, neither the bear nor the basilisk do not appear, as if identified in the Jaqués cathedral temple.
The meaning of these ornaments in relief is to mark the physical separation between two worlds. Between the earthly world outside the temple and the heavenly world that is accessed by entering the church. And even, you can read an inscription that clarifies this symbolism. The inscription reads:
“I am the accessible door. Enter faithful. I am the source of life. All those who enter this blessed temple of the Virgin may thirst for me more than for wine.”
This is an idea about churches that practically goes back to the very origins of Christian temples. As an example, a few kilometers from Santa Cruz de la Serós is the magnificent monastery of San Juan de la Peña, where the old is preserved as one of its oldest parts. Mozarabic church built around the 10th century. At the access to that primitive church of the monastic complex there was also an inscription that said that through that door the path to Heaven is opened to all faithful who make an effort to unite to faith the commandments of God. However, today the stone on which that inscription was carved is no longer in its original location but at the entrance to the cloister built in a later period.
But going back to the church of Santa Cruz de la Serós, by the way, a temple that belonged to a female monastery that was in the town, its tympanum with the chrismon is not the only remarkable thing about this western cover. There are other elements of great interest. Like the sculpted canetes located in the roof of this body of the church. Or the capitals located in the jambs of the flared doorway. Or the balls carved into one of the archivolts. Or the Jaqués checkered pattern that closes the main arch of the entire façade. That is to say, the most common Romanesque repertoire in this area of north ofSpain.