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Church of Santa María la Mayor

The parochial temple of Santa María known as “la Mayor”, speaks of its preeminence over the other parish churches of the city.

The church is one of the most precious jewels of the Andujar heritage and remarkable for the wealth in form of movable property that it treasures, as we can highlight the presence of an authentic Greco, the Prayer in the orchard, in the altarpiece of the Main Chapel or the San Juan autograph of Sayings of Light and Love in the chapel and altar of Cristo de la Paciencia, which make it one of the most significant temples in the province of Jaén.

Although it is not clear how the Andújar manuscript or codex arrived in the city, it is known that it belonged to a noble family of Andújar (the Piédrolas) from immemorial times, probably as a token of gratitude for favors to the Discalced Carmelites.

But the most important thing is that the manuscript is a fundamental piece since, in addition to being a jewel of incalculable value in itself, has been used to contrast whether or not other manuscripts are in the handwriting of Saint John of the Cross.

The original manuscript, bound in parchment and adorned with golden embroidery, was permanently exhibited in the chapel and altar of Cristo de la Paciencia, so it was deteriorating and presented various alterations, therefore it had to be restored at the National Restoration Center of Books and Documents, dependent on the General Directorate of Artistic and Cultural Heritage.

Once the restoration work was finished, the original was kept in the Santa María La Mayor Church safely and with all technical conditions necessary for its conservation, while the Andújar codex exposed in the chapel and altar of Cristo de la Paciencia is a facsimile with great fidelity to the original San Juan.

Finally, it should be noted that the Santa María La Mayor Church was built on an old mosque, in the second half of the 15th century in Gothic style, presenting a serene spatial unity in its interior and great quality in its manufacture.