History

A CHURCH IN LAS ARENAS

As appears in the book "Memories of the Sands" by the priest D. Félix Acha, we must go back to January 11, 1886 to find the first reference to what was the Church of Mercedes. There is a document from the City Council of Getxo giving an account of a document for which "Some plans to execute a Church in the Sands" are sent. This office was approved on February 25, 1886. From a later document that appears in the Provincial Council, it seems that the Temple was built in this same year. The Temple was of a single nave, neo-Gothic style and designed by the architect Severino de Achucarro.

Vista general

Said temple was ecclesiastically “filial” of San Nicolás de Bari de Algorta, whose Pastor was D. Juan José Arechederra. The Temple must have been very simple and small, so that 20 years later it no longer responded to the needs of the parishioners. The population increased and for that reason the broadening of the Church was approached, which came to have two more naves so the Temple was left with a Latin cross, with a sacristy, as well as a portico. The expenses were being paid by the parishioners and an aid from the City Council of 10,000 pesetas, in 1906, which had already collaborated financially, with Saint Nicholas and Saint Ignatius of Neguri.

As the works went on, the desire grew for it to be a Parish. A commission made up of: Telleria, González, Aznar and Ubieta was in charge of discussing the issue with the Bishop. The attempts did not come to a successful conclusion until January 1, 1913, when it became reality, although it appeared in the Official Gazette of the Bishopric of Vitoria in December 1912. The Bishop was D. José Cadena y Eleta and the first Parish Priest, was D. Manuel del Moral Ansoleaga.

The diocesan document indicates that all the inhabitants, chapels, churches and oratories that were in the segregated land of Algorta, became members of the new Parish. The Barrio de Santa Ana had long ago its Church, which continued to be a hermitage belonging from that moment to the Mercedes, until a new Parish was erected. Later, in 1916, the construction of a tower was undertaken to highlight the Temple.

Destrucción

At 3 in the morning of June 16, 1937, during the civil war, the Church was burned down by the Malatesta battalion. For this reason, only the ruins and photographs of the old neo-Gothic church remained.

 

 

 

CHURCH OF LAS MERCEDES (New temple)

With the new Pastor, D. Antonio García Zarate, the construction of a new Temple received a boost. On December 21, 1939, the "Steering Committee affected the Factory Board" was created.

At the moment the Maritime Club, the Chapel of the Angels of Romo and the Social House successively, (today School of Music) are being enabled for worship. The relationship of the collaborators is huge, as well as the avatars they had to overcome.

For a more detailed study, we recommend approaching the book: “Postwar Architectures, The Church of Our Lady of Las Mercedes” by Maite Paliza Monduate and edited by the Getxo City Council

Outdoor (Front view)

Our Lady of Las Mercedes” by Maite Paliza Monduate and edited by the Getxo City Council As stellar moments in this history, we emphasize the symbolic inauguration of the "new temple on September 24, 1944. Beginning in 1948, the preparation of burial niches and chapels in the" Crypt "began. In 1949 the central nave was already enabled..
That same year the electric ringing of the bells was inaugurated. In 1954 López Sánchez Avecilla was commissioned to carry out the baptistery mural. In 1955 the concern was to give an ornamental solution to the High Altar. When, after extensive discussions, it was decided to paint the apse, a restricted competition was used in which the project presented by Alfonso Ramil Garín, an outstanding student of Vázquez Díaz, professor of mural painting at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, was chosen. Ramil is one of the most outstanding muralists of the second half of the 20th century. He used the painting technique "Temper to the Egg". Later, the same muralist was entrusted with the different works of the Church until his death.

 

ARCHITECTURE

Outdoor of the church

North side. In Garamendi's original project, this façade was designed as an altarpiece with two bodies, three streets and a closed triangular pediment. There were five niches flanked by Ionic and Doric columns. Outdoor (Side view)

The architect Garamendi passed away and when Galíndez was retired, his nephew José María Chapa and Ángel Cortazar also joined, introducing the current facades, which reflect more renovating currents (1953).
The current north façade is framed in a large profile in the shape of a semicircular arch, which simulates a broken-down exploded view. The columns or niches are not made, many ornamental elements such as pinnacles, pyramids and spheres, typical of the Baroque of the first half of the 17th century, the Herrerian Baroque, disappear from the exterior of the temple. Above the lintel arch there is a niche that shelters a high relief of the Virgin of La Merced with the Child, of a certain modernity that radiates an evident sweetness and elegance. It is the work of Vicente Larrea who participated in the interior decoration of the Church..
The cover of the center Chapa and Cortazar give the same solution: lintelled within a large semicircular arch, which simulates a large adovented cutting. They introduce "diamond point" decoration on some buttresses and covers.

Indoor of the church

 Indoor of the church

It has an area of ​​2075, m2 of noble floor. It is a church with a Latin cross, with a single nave, a transept with a central vault and a presbytery with a circular floor plan inside and polygonal outside. On each side of the buttresses there are three chapels. They are connected to each other by means of smaller semicircular arches. This escurialense element enables the chapels.

The vaults are complete with lunettes and large windows called "Thermal Baths", with stained glass windows. They try to imitate the Escorial the vault plates and the casing that decorates the interior of the vault.

The flooring has a geometric design, configured with black and white marbles.

The presbytery is a perfect circle on its ground floor, and constitutes a work of classical style.

Apse Mural

 Apse Mural (General view)

It is a large mural: 400 m2. It requires great technique and perspective for deformations and procedures. The surface to be painted forms a large niche with 20 m2 of arrow and 19 of perimeter. It is carried out on a 9-storey mechanotube scaffold that involves the difficulty of the null visibility of the work, which ended in 1957..
The theme of the composition is the glorification of Our Lady, founder of the Order of Mercy, in the 13th century, by San Pedro Nolasco.

 Apse Mural (Detail)

They are a total of 168 figures. At the top is the Holy Trinity with three archangels, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Joseph, the Four Evangelists and the Apostles. In the lower part, King Jaime I of Aragon, Raimundo de Peñafort and San Pedro Nolasco, those who intervene in the foundation of the Mercedarian order. The mural finishes off, in the lower part, scenes that allude to the liberation of slaves, mercedarians releasing the chains.

 Apse Mural (Detail)

It is worth highlighting the compositional clarity of the ensemble with a rich palette of colorful, discreet and muted tones, on flat and schematic forms that convey balance, grandeur and lightness in the figures. On a centralized triangle whose axis is headed by the Holy Trinity, the main characters are ranked. A beautiful carving of Our Lady of Las Mercedes with the Child made by Ricardo Iñuria stands out in the center.

 

Mural of the Coming of the Holy Spirit

 Mural of the Coming of the Holy Spirit

It is the cloth that we can see when entering through the East door. It was composed by Ramil in 1970. Another work of great magnitude due to the height and perspective ten meters above the ground. It has one hundred square meters, represents the Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostolic College. The figures measure about three meters each.

 

 

Crucifixion Mural

 Crucifixion Mural

Ramil painted it in 1967 and it is on the right cloth. Grays dominate. The iconography of the Calvary scene, with Christ crucified, the two thieves on both sides, accompanied by Saint John and the Three Marys. The composition is completed by characters that allude to the death of Jesus. Stylistically, the image is lengthened and stylized, enhancing expressiveness and drama.

 

 

Mural del Juicio Final

Mural of the Last Judgment

Ramil's work of the year 1969.
On a background in bluish tones with whitish and greyish nuances, the New Testament iconography referring to the Last Judgment is represented. Christ presides over the scene of the composition.

 

 

Altar del Sagrado Corazón

Altar of the Sacred Heart

It is the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on the arm of the transept. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stands out, of great dimensions. Modernist style, on a polychrome wooden lightning background. It is the work of Vicente Larrea.
10. our photo

 

 

Chapels of the Virgins

Following the interest of different people, several chapels with a Marian reference were enabled. The composition and painting of each of them are due to Ramil, who used acrylic paint.

The images, from various donations, were carried out by various workshops. On the right the Virgin of Begoña, (carving by José Larrea), year 1962. The Virgin of Fatima follows with the theme of the rosary. On the left the Virgin of Lourdes and then the Virgin of Pilar.


Chapel of the Virgin of Fátima Chapel of the Virgin of Lourdes Chapel of the Virgin of Pilar Chapel of the Virgin of Begoña

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Chapel of the Father of the Prodigal Son

Chapel of the Father of the Prodigal Son

Inaugurated on September 24, 2010, this mural is the work of Bilbao's Iñaki García Ergüin. It is an oil representation, on 12 phenolic chipboard, offering the impression of a single space of 5.92 x 3.60 m. The bottom of the cloth is matte black acrylic. Located in the area of ​​the confessionals, it alludes to the parable of the Merciful Father, or the return of a prodigal son. The composition is made up of seven characters. The most descriptive is the central figure, the welcoming father, highlighted with red lines symbol of love. On her knees is the son, genderless in the dirty white dress. Above the father, the figure of the older brother is suggested, who does not approve of reconciliation. The other accompanying figures symbolize the Christian community or family.

 

Mural del Baptisterio

Baptistery Mural

It was the first to be held in the temple and dates from 1954, painted by López Sánchez Avecilla. Technically it reflects the avant-garde with surrealism and a dreamy atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

OTHER ORNAMENTAL ELEMENTS

Vidrieras

Stained glass windows

The large upper windows are equipped with ten stained glass windows. They were also designed by Ramil and carried out by Vidrieras del Arte. They refer in part to litanies of the Virgin. The symbols of the evangelists appear on the stained glass windows of the transept.

 Way of the Cross

Way of the Cross

In 1964 Ramil carried out a beautiful and avant-garde Way of the Cross, with a tendency to schematize. They are the fourteen stations and uses as original element the work on stone of Colmenar, with lands as color. Each station measures 1.30 by 2.40.

 

 Carving of the Sorrowful

Carving of the Sorrowful

Located near the altar of the Sacred Heart. Life-size, work attributed to the Bilbao sculptor Quintín de Torre.

 

 

 Crucified Christ

Crucified Christ

Located next to the Virgin, it comes from the Epalza de Arrancudiaga family.

 

 Bronze clock

Bronze clock

Ramil's work, cast in bronze, from 1959. Square in shape with schematic clusters of vines and fishes at the corners, related to the symbolism of Christ..

 

Organs

Órgano

Manufactured in 1956 by Organería Española, it was removed from the Teatro Real in Madrid. It was transferred to the Parish and installed in 1988. It consists of 3,500 pipes. It has liturgical use and there is a program of concerts a year. It replaced the one that had been bought from D. Javier Múgica, the Hammond house dealer, in 1949 and that cost 250,000 pts. He is currently in the Choir.

In 1949 the Parish Board of Works decided to purchase an electronic organ, Hammond brand, for liturgical celebrations. Many parishioners knew him until with the installation of the pipe organ in 1988 -89 he was forgotten in the choir.


 Hammond’s organ He has recently been rescued from dust and oblivion, with the selfless work of some Eibar residents linked to this brand of organs. On January 21, at 7:45 p.m., we were able to check and enjoy its harmony with an extraordinary concert by Pedro Guallar Otazua who, with a comprehensive and careful program, showed us the great possibilities of this instrument.

 

It is installed on the opposite side of the pipe organ and we will hear it at some concerts.

 

La CriptaPintura del plafond

The Kript

Already in 1948 work began on the fitting out of a crypt with preparation of niches and chapels with burial. This idea came from D. Javier Lauzirica Torrealba, Bishop of Vitoria who suggested it on his visit on May 14, 1941.

The chapel of the Zubizarreta Family stands out artistically.

The decoration and the iconographic program, carried out by Luis Mª Iñiguez Paiolle, refers to marine themes.

The painting on the ceiling is by Aranoa.capilla.

Chapel of  Zubizarreta family Chapel of  Zubizarreta family

 

And the chapel of Tapia family.

Tapia family