Mare de Déu dels Àngels

Mare de Déu dels ÀngelsEsglésia de la Mare de Déu dels Àngels
Built: 1942-1955
Founded: Before 1497
Function: Parish church
Address: Balmes 78

The present parish church dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels is the ecclesiastical descendant of the earlier Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Angels which I have written about previously. After the expulsion of the Dominican Nuns in 1906, the parish which had been created for the lay community at the monastic church, in essence, ceased to exist for a period of time, with the members of the congregation worshiping at the then-extant church of St. Anthony Abbott (also the topic of a previous entry.)

In 1932 the parish was formally reconstituted at its present location by redrawing its territorial boundaries outside of the old city and moving it into the Eixample, or expansion district which was built between the mid-19th century and the lead-up to the Spanish Civil War. While the parish was gathering funds for building a new church, they shared the nearby Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The interruption of the Civil War meant that the new church did not begin construction until 1942, but this also meant that the parish was able to avoid the ravages suffered by other congregations as a result of Leftist anti-Catholicism during the 1936-1938 period.

The building was designed by Barcelona architect Josep Danés i Torras, and was completed in 1955, the year of his death. Decoration of the interior continued over the next twenty years, but remained faithful to his original vision. It was built in an almost Scandinavian Romanesque-Art Moderne style, though still traditional in its elements, making it seem like it would be more at home in Stockholm or Oslo than in sunny, Mediterranean Barcelona. While its interior is very beautiful, it is certainly one of the most unusual parish churches, architecturally speaking, in the city today.

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