Templo del Espíritu, La Compañía

Diego Marín (of first phase); José Miguel de Santa María (of 2nd phase)
First phase 1583-1600. Second phase 1746-1767; towers completed in the 19th century

Baroque grandeur

Originally a Jesuit church, this grand church has a very broad front with three arches on the front and two additional arches on the sides of the porch. Beautiful iron work provides gates for the entrance porch.

Extravagant relief sculpture

This church differs from many in Puebla in that it lacks the characteristic azulejos, or decorative and colorful tile work. Instead, it has a riot of Baroque and extravagant designs in relief sculpture--in wedding cake white in the upper registers and gray in the first register.

Jesuit symbols on the church front

At the top, IHS with the cross drawn above the crossbeam of the letter H. After the approval of the Society of Jesus as a new religious order in the Church, the IHS became the main symbol of Jesuit identity. Directly above the three-lobed door, the bleeding heart of Jesus, a common Catholic symbol and often used by Jesuits in the title pages of books and on church facades.

Entrance portals and monumental carved doors


Towers, completed a century later--A strange combination of elegant classicism and extravagant decoration


Interior with nave columns in dark stone

While Venetian Renaissance churches sometimes use a dark stone (pietra serena), the effect here isn't serenity. Like the front which seems odd with its combination of dark lower register and white upper, the interior seems chaotic--too many colors, too many styles.

View back toward the entrance

Work Consulted:

Guía. Arquitectura representativa de la ciudad de Puebla. Puebla: Centro para la Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural Tangible e Intangible A. C., L'Anxaneta Ediciones, 2008.

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© 2013 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.