Sunday, February 13, 2011

Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires, Argentina

In a city where children sleep in card box boxes on the street, waiting for night to conduct their business, churches ought to be very small, very poor and very much focused on earth’s goings on. But perhaps the clergy of the Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires is doing just that. They only inherited their sanctuary, after all.

Amid the pillars of the high colonnade men women and children hold up signs explaining why they have no food or shelter. They hold up calloused hands, look at us as we enter the building. A sign in four languages says, “Mind your possessions.”

Buenos Aires consists of many enormous buildings that dwarf this cathedral; its size becomes obvious only on the inside. And on the inside size is all we find; size and a disturbing artistic vacuum. There are statues but no flowers; murals but no candles. “What a dead church,” Draga whispers beside me.

The altar piece depicts the woman mentioned in Revelation12, which many take to denote Mary, but it’s monotonous, monochrome and plumb ugly. In one of the side chapels we find an endearing depiction of the Czech saint John Nepomucene. Among other things, he’s the patron against calumnies, I tell Draga. That when someone makes a false statement to injure another person’s reputation.

“Imagine that,” she says, and after a brief glance at a crowned Madonna with Child, “Let’s get out of here.”

And we go, past the beggars and the columns, to swiftly vanish into the Argentinean evening.

Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Inside Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Altar piece of the Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Saint John Nepomucene
Madonna with Child, Catedral Metropolitana in Buenos Aires
Madonna with Child, close up


  1. The Buenos Aires cathedral is not such a lavish temple. Also, the church is "dead inside because leftist activists will not doubt steal or destroy any movable object. Besides, for every "lavish" Catholic temple that is active in social works, you have thousands of luxurious residences and apartment buildings where the residents do not care about poverty and many actively looted the country.

  2. I loved the place. When you enter, you ascend a staircase to the dance hall, which appears upon first glance to be in a barn. The roof is high, with wooden beams. Years of kitsch hang from them, the most noticeable being giant, glowing heart that looms over the bar. Taller than a person, it is made from red cloth which covers various sized plastic cans, giving the heart’s arteries their shape and transparency.
    I had an apartments for rent in buenos aires and I really enjoyed visiting places like this one or other religious temples. It was great!


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