Cathedral of St. Mary The Crowned

Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned

The Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned was built on the site of what used to be a mosque. After the Christians definitively drove the Moors from Gibraltar in 1462 the mosque was used as a church. The Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella decreed it to be stripped of its Christianised and extended. Their Coat of Arms was placed in the courtyard, where it can still be seen today. The Church itself extended to the opposite side of what is now Main Street.

During the Great Siege of Gibraltar it suffered tremendous damage and despite the attempts of returning exiles to rebuild, scant progress was made. In 1790, Governor Boyd offered his assistance in return for some land on which the building site stood, enabling him to re-route Main Street.

Under the statue of Our Lady of Europe there is a crypt where Bishops are buried, but until the 1800’s any person who died in Gibraltar had the right to be buried under the floor of the Cathedral. These are just a few facts about this historic Cathedral so easily found in the centre of Gibraltar.

Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes

This is situated in the patio. Her statue was placed by Bishop Canilla in 1858. The Bishop’s brother had been miraculously cured of a tumour during a visit to Lourdes. The grateful Bishop also placed a large statue of Our Lady at the top of the tower for all to see, but this was removed at the turn of the 20th Century. This tranquil chapel is visited daily by a large number of people who come in from bustling Main Street to pray the Rosary or sit in quiet contemplation.

The Altar of the Blessed Sacrament

Please note two marble tablets, one in remembrance of Mgr.Narciso Pallares, a saintly priest who was murdered in the Cathedral by a madman in 1885; and the other, with the initials of Padre Juan Romero de Figueroa, the only priest who remained in this church, when the British occupied Gibraltar in 1704. In great measure, thanks to him, the catholic faith survived.

High Altar

The marble backdrop to the high altar is very grandiose and some would say, in the style of that of St. Peter’s in Rome. The beautiful marble plinth and columns, with the six-ton bogattino top were originally bound for South America, when the ship carrying this precious cargo sank in the harbour. The Arengo family bought the salvage rights and installed the marble in the Cathedral as their family altar. It was later placed in its present position.

Altar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

This altar was sponsored by Dame Victoria Mackintosh.


Representing Christ on the Cross, flanked by Our Lady and St. John. The background to these figures was painted by local artist Mario Finlayson.

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