The Last Resting Place of St Valentine lies in this singular church – every day, 24 hours a day. Kris Sinclair Christian takes a look at this Madrid landmark.
Love is omni-present in this magnificent building.
In the eighteenth century archeologists chanced upon the skull and the bones of St. Valentine in Rome. Since there was no place to preserve them Pope Gelasius presented these relics to Carlos IV who in turn handed them to the Piarists –members of a Catholic religious’ order which aims to to help the poor and desolate at San Anton Church in Madrid.
Local homemakers both young and the elderly pop in at this unique church near Chueca famed for its lively cafes and boutiques where partygoers seek sheer fun and frolic thronging the streets at the weekends.
Nevertheless, most of the sightseers do halt at this exceptional place of worship.
Visitors flock on St. Valentine´s Day to see the casket containing the relics of St. Valentine neatly laid out in the 18th century ornamental resting place where colourful ribbons decorate his presence. On the 14th of February a special mass is celebrated and lovers, new and old sign their names on a narrow strip of fabric whilst others renew their eternal affection and love for each other.
The church is also a refuge and people from all walks of life blend in with the panhandlers and the homeless who shelter there. A complimentary breakfast is also served every day to those less fortunate.
Furthermore, this revamped 18th century Baroque style church welcomes four-legged beings during mass. The church has also has moved with the times and is equipped with Wi-Fi providing a live-stream to the Vatican on a gigantic screen! Church co-ordinators and ONG volunteers are on hand to listen, comfort and help those who enter the church in distress.
A priest sits meditating, standing by to reach out to the desperate. Legal advice is also available to those who need it.
So when you to trendy happening Chueca – share a thought for those less fortunate and for the King of Love himself – whose temple this is.
IGLESIA DE SAN ANTON, CALLE HORTALEZA 63, SUBWAY: LINE 1 TRIBUNAL, ALONSO MARTINEZ – LINE 5 OR LINE 4.
Kris Sinclair Christian