La Sagrada Familia

Basilica-Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia
Built: 1882 – present
Founded: 1875
Function: Expiatory Temple; parish church; minor basilica
Address: Mallorca 401

The Basilica-Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, more commonly known as the “Sagrada Familia”, is without question the most famous and most visited construction site in Spain. On average, it receives approximately 5,000 visitors a day in the colder months, and 10,000 visitors a day in the warmer months, meaning that something like a quarter of a million people tour this still-unfinished church every year. While this may seem surprising for an unfinished building, it is no exaggeration to say that, whether one loves or hates it, there is nothing else quite as extraordinary as the Sagrada Familia on the planet.

Begun in 1882 by architect Francesc del Villar, the original Church of the Holy Family was supposed to be a more traditional design, taking its cue from the Basilica of Our Lady of Loreto, in Italy. A year later however, after the crypt was underway, Villar resigned from the project, and it was re-assigned to the great architect Antoni Gaudí. From 1883 to his death in 1926, the Sagrada Familia was the largest project of Gaudí’s life – by the end of which, he had given up all other work except for that of the church. This, in combination with his well-attested personal sanctity, has led his cause for beatification to be submitted to the Vatican.

So much has been written extensively in almost any language imaginable about this remarkable building which, when finished, will be the tallest church in the world, that I have little to add to the dialogue. Those wanting to see up-to-date images and read news regarding the construction of this remarkable building should visit the parish’s website listed above, which is in English, Catalan, and Spanish. Donations are always welcome, as the church is being built entirely through private funds, without any government hand-outs.  It was raised to the level of a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, and he himself dedicated the upper church.

Because of modern construction methods significantly cutting down on construction time, worship in the main portion of the church will be possible by the autumn of 2010, and architects believe the major construction will be complete by 2026. Decoration of course, will take much longer. Yet as Gaudí himself once commented about his project, “My client is not in a hurry.”

6 thoughts on “La Sagrada Familia

  1. Most incredible architecture in the world without a doubt, and it’s done for the glory and honor of God. It certainly is something “out of this world.”

  2. I wish I had known about this blog earlier. My son is studying abroad this semester in Rome with the University of Dallas and he and about twenty other Romers are in Barcelona and La Sagrada Familia was most definitely on their must see list! Such an amazing Church!!

  3. We will be visiting from Australia on Easter Sunday 6 April 2017
    What times are Masses and do we need special admission for Mass?
    Have previously visited magnificent church as tourists
    Many thanks

    • Hi Trish – I would recommend that you go directly to the Sagrada Familia Basilica website and use their contact section to ask them directly. They will be able to respond to you in English as well. Have a great trip!

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