It is one of the most beautiful and emblematic buildings in the city of León, Guanajuato. It is the Expiatory Sanctuary, located on Madero Street in the citys downtown and this is its history.
January 20, 1576 would go down in history as the official date of the founding of the Villa de León of New Spain, today León, Guanajuato; in which, as in all the Mexican people, the Catholic faith was imposed as part of the spiritual conquest. Villa, that in 1580 would reach the designation of Mayor’s Office, in 1787 the sub-delegation to the Municipality of Guanajuato and in 1830 the title of City of León de losAldama.
Gaining territory, economic and political power; and therefore, a greater number of faithful, who made donations to build a space that will identify them as Catholic believers: The Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, today known as the Expiatory of Leon.
The temple devised by Father Bernardo Chávez Palacios, began construction in 1921 and would take 91 years to complete, interrupted only by the flooding of León in 1926 and the Cristero war that arose in the country between 1926 and 1929.
Being completed in 2012, with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the state of Guanajuato.
But what does Expiatory Sanctuary mean? It refers to “a house of prayer where the Blessed Sacrament is permanently exposed for the atonement of sins”, where according to the Catholic religion, a number of hours of indulgence are obtained (a form of forgiveness that the faithful obtains in relation to their sins) to get to paradise faster and not spend so many hours in purgatory.
Its peculiar architecture is considered “neo-Gothic”; it cannot be called Gothic, as this genre saw its birth, rise and decline in a very different era. Some of the main characteristics of this genre are the needle towers and their pointed arches.