Basilica of Jesus de Medinaceli

The Basilica of Jesus de Medinaceli is located in central Madrid at Plaza Jesus, 2 (near the back of the Westin Palace Hotel). The church is very popular with Madrileños because of the statue of Jesus de Medinaceli. The Medinaceli Family have been powerful nobles in Spain since the 14th century, originating in Castile.

In its present site there had been various chapels over the years that had been funded by the Medinaceli Family. In 1895, Doña Casilda Salabert y Arteaga and her son Luis Jesus Fernandez de Cordoba y Salabert, the Duke of Medinaceli, gave the chapel that existed at that time to the monks of the Capuchin Order. The church was destroyed in 1922 because it was in ruins. The present church was constructed in 1927 by the architect Jesus Carrasco-Muñoz Encina and completed in 1930. The Church of Jesus de Medinaceli was consecrated on Nov. 21, 1930. The present church was reconstructed in 1966 and in 1973 Pope Paul VI elevated the church to a basilica.

The church has a Latin Cross ground floor with three naves. The style of the church is Baroque and the facade has a triangular pediment. On top of the main altar there is the sculpture of Christ of Medinaceli and there are stairs to go up and see the sculpture up close in the camarin. That is where people go to pray to the image, which is said to have miraculous powers.

The image of Our Father Jesus Nazarene was created in the School of Sevilla, in the workshop of Juan de Mesa or one his disciples, either Luis de la Peña or Francisco de Ocampo. It is dated to the first half of the 17th century. The Capuchin monks brought the image to Mehdia or Mamora in the present Morocco, so that the Spanish soldiers could pray to it. In 1681 the Moors took the statue captive, but the Trinitarian monks rescued it by paying its ransom. The image was then brought o Madrid in 1682. Very soon it received the fame of causing miracles and it became the custom on the first Friday of March that a member of the Royal Family visit the chapel where it was located to pay homage. During the Spanish Civil War it was brought to Geneva in Switzerland to save it from the ravages of war, since the image was considered an artistic masterpiece. After the war, the statue was brought back to its present location. Today the church is one of the churches most visited in Madrid.


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