Church of Los Santos Martires

Plaza de los Martires

Hours: 8:30 to 13:30 H and 19:00 to 20:00 H., Sundays and holidays: 9:00 to 13:00 H.

The Church of Los Santos Martires was one of the four churches ordered built by the Catholic Kings after the conquest of Malaga from the Moors. The church was named as it is because the Kings wanted to honor the Martyrs San Ciriaco and Santa Paula, two young Christians living in Malaga who became Christian martyrs during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, and having been canonized in 305 AD. Today these two saints are the patron saints of Malaga, together with Our Lady of Victory. The day they are honored is on June 18.

Don Diego de Deza was the person who built the church in 1505, although work started in 1491. The original church was in the Gothic-Mudejar style, with pointed arches. The architect of the main chapel and sacristy was Juan Rodriguez. The church has three naves and a big cupola on top of the main chapel. In 1545 the baptismal font was installed, and this was the work of Diego de Portilla. Bartolome Perez constructed the tower, but this was destroyed in an earthquake in 1567. It was reconstructed, but was ruined by 1567. The whole church was remodeled in the 18th century and rededicated in 1777. The church suffered damage in 1854, 1884, and during the Civil War in 1936. The church was restored and inaugurated in 1945. The church has a long history of destruction and reconstruction.

Today the church is a mixture of styles, but the main style now in the decoration is rococo. There is a lot of marble and other stones displayed, and many of the chapels have gilded altars. There are about 11 different chapels, many of them maintained by the cofradias (brotherhoods) that have their base in this church during Holy Week celebrations. Many of the processions originate in this church.

The church is very beautiful and has much sculpture and many paintings. The sacristy is especially beautiful with its pastel colors.

One of the side chapels has just been restored and is dedicated to the Virgen de los Remedios, the restoration having been done by one of the cofradias. Every surface has been gilded and the effect is spectacularly beautiful. The statue of the Virgin is also beautifully dressed. There is a small statue of Christ that is polychromed and is on a small table of the altar.

This church is an architectural gem and one of the most beautiful in Andalusia.

History of the Patron Saints of Malaga

Around 300 AD, Malaga had a small Christian community and was part of the Roman Empire. Ciriaco and Paula were two young people who were Christians at that time. The Emperor Diocletian decided to persecute the Christians in 303 AD. At that time the Christians would get together clandestinely at the Monte Coronado, in the north section of Malaga. On June 18, the Roman soldiers learned about this place and captured the Christians there, and among them were Ciriaco and Paula. They were brought before the cruel judge called Silvano and he had them tortured. Ciriaco and Paula refused to renounce Christ and were brought to the edge of the Guadalquivir River and stoned to death.

The Roman soldiers then built a big bonfire so that the Christians could not venerate their remains. However a torrential rain came and the Roman soldiers retreated. The Christians then took the dead bodies of the two and buried them in some unknown place. However in 1969 the Archaeologist Muñoz Gambero discovered in Martiricos a Roman necropolis. He found bones of a young man and woman who showed they died of violence. But it is not known for certain whose bones these belonged to.

During the Christian Reconquest, Fray Juan de Carmona told the Catholic Kings that he had a premonition. If they would found a church dedicated to Ciriaco and Paula, they would be victorious. The Catholic Kings conquered Malaga in 1487 and sent a letter to Pope Innocent VIII about what happened. The Pope told them to build a church for these two martyrs, which the Catholic Kings did, and the Church of Los Martires is the result. Ciriaco and Paula were named the patron saints of Malaga by the Catholic Kings in 1490. Ever since 1507, there has been a yearly procession honoring these patron saints of Malaga.    



Virgen del Amor.


Virgen de la Paz.


Virgen Maria de la O, patron saint of the Gypsies.


Cristo de la Columna, patron of the Gypsies.


Nuestra Señora del Carmen, patron of the sea.


Virgen de Araceli is the patron of Lucena and Andalusian fields.


Virgen de los Remedios.


Virgen de la Misericordia de los Martires, dressed by Grande de Leon from Seville.


Santo Sepulcro y Dolorosa.


Virgen de los Dolores.