San Felipe Neri, the baroque splendour of Malaga

Publicado: 09/07/2012: 5846

The origin of the church can be traced back to the devotional acts of the second Count of Buenavista Antonio Tomas Guerrero Coronado y Zapata who, between 1720 and 1730, built a small octogonal chapel. Attributed to architect Felipe de Unzurrunzaga, today this stands as the presbytery.

In early 1739, the Count of Buenavista, following a request from Gaspar de Molina, Bishop of Malaga, granted the church to the Philippian Fathers. The grant comprised two chapels: one above ground and the other an underground crypt, also a sacristy, numerous ornaments, sculptures, paintings, a dwelling next to the church and several houses in nearby streets for the support of the congregation. In addition, the Count granted the use of the underground chapel to the School of Christ, even though it belonged to the Philippian Fathers.


From 1756, with the arrival of Father Cristobal de Rojas y Sandoval to the congregation of Saint Philip and as a consequence of the important role played by two bishops from Malaga, Juan de Eulate y Santa Cruz and Manuel Ferrer y Figueredo, several distinct phases of construction occurred: the creation of the Casa de Estudios (Study House) and the extension of the temple, by annexing an elliptical nave and atrium, designed by Antonio Ramos Medina in 1755, to the original octagonal chapel. Jose Martin de Aldehuela would direct the final phase of construction in 1778 and in 1790 would begin the construction of the tabernacle, using a neo-classical design realised in polychromatic marbles and woods. By 1795 the tabernacle and high altar had been completed, marked by a solemn procession to place the most Holy Sacrament. The sacristy, also attributed to Martin de Aldehuela, was built in the same year.


In 2000 several painted murals from the 18th century were restored by renovation works on the roof and facade of the building. In 2011, following 15 months of work, restoration of the interior was completed. The temple was inaugurated by a celebration of the Eucharist presided by His Grace Jesus Catala, Bishop of Malaga. The renovation works have restored the temple to its three principal spaces: the presbytery and underground chapel, the main nave and the sacristy. Renovation works have also included the restoration of two archangels, a crucifix and the sculpture of faith, destroyed in 1931, which had adorned the tabernacle.

In addition, six paintings by artist Raul Berzosa were added to the six chapels which surround the presbytery. These paintings represent several moments in the life of Saint Philip Neri as well as the Resurrection of Christ.



Diócesis Málaga