Mare de Déu del Coll

Mare de Déu del CollEsglésia de la Mare de Déu del Coll
Built: Before 1098 A.D., with later additions
Founded: Before 1098 A.D.
Function: Parish church and school; former Benedictine priory
Address: Santuari 30

Although it has experienced some significant downturns in its history, the Church of Our Lady of Coll, in the district of the same name in the north end of Barcelona, retains vestiges of its very ancient past. The first documented history of the church’s existence dates from 1098, when there is mention of the chapel having been built by Father Grau Miró, a member of the Benedictine Abbey of Sant Cugat. At the time the Coll District, which lies roughly to the NW end of the then-village of Gracia, was well-outside the city of Barcelona, in the foothills of the Collserola Mountains which ring the city.

The small Benedictine community continued to live and work here until sometime around 1450-1500, when the last of the monks left and the church was turned over to the Archdiocese. The building saw little use until after Barcelona’s expansion in the 19th century; at one point it was burned during a Left-wing uprising in 1835. However, with the growing city population headed towards formerly semi-rural districts like Coll, the need for a mission in this area brought the ancient structure back into service, albeit on a spotty basis.

In 1928 the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was given the charge of running the church, and within two years of their arrival began to preserve and improve upon the structure, adding both neo-Romanesque elements to the remains of the old chapel, as well as a new school for the local children. During the Civil War the school and the church were closed, but they returned to service in 1948. In 1961 the church was formally raised to the level of a parish by the Archdiocese.

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