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Pope to consecrate Panamanian cathedral, first in mainland Americas


This is the first mainland cathedral on the American continent and it's about to reopen after three years of careful restoration. 

The reopening of this basilica cathedral of Santa Maria la Antigua will be in November. And in January, they will welcome a very special guest, Pope Francis.

FR. JAVIER MAÑAS GARCÍA
Committee of Friends of the Old Town

“The Vicar of Christ on Earth, the pope, is going to leave us as a gift the consecration of this temple that is so important for Panama and for the entire American continent. It is not usual today to build many cathedrals. Quite the contrary. This one has been totally remodeled and that is why it is going to be consecrated.”

FÉLIX ESCOBAR
Panamanian Tourism Authority

“With UNESCO's designation as a World Heritage Site in 1997, work began to restore the cathedral and other churches. With the passage of time, and taking into account the important WYD event, the Panamanian government has allocated 12 million dollars for the reconstruction of the walls, facades and the Committee of Friends of the old town is responsible for the furniture and decoration of the church.”

The effects of the climate, such as humidity and rain, as well as termites have gradually deteriorated this gem. It was also abandoned because of the Panamanian government's confiscation of Church property in the 19th century.

Since 2015, the altarpiece, the walls, and the floors have been cleaned and restored. This work was done carefully in order to finally see the cathedral completely finished, since it has been under continuous construction since 1688.

FR. JAVIER MAÑAS GARCÍA
Committee of Friends of the Old Town

“It's due to lack of economic resources. The Panamanian Church has always been poor in this aspect, but it has lived the authenticity of the Gospel. This church does not have great architectural treasures. It only has the building, which is beautiful, simple, elegant and does not even have altars around it.”

The cathedral is located in the Old Town, which also has a colonial style. It is being restored and cleaned in order to recover the most authentic essence of the Panamanian capital.