Church of the Week: San Jose Church, San Juan, PR

While I didn't get to enter the historic San Jose Church in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I did get to see it on a recent visit to Puerto Rico.
Originally known as the Iglesia de Santo Tomás de Aquino, this church structure is considered by many scholars to be among the finest and oldest examples of Gothic-influenced religious architecture built by the Spanish in the New World. Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico, was buried in the crypt of the church from 1559 to 1836, when his remains were exhumed and later transferred to the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. His grandson, Juan Ponce de León II, is still buried in the crypt beneath the sanctuary floor.

From the World Monuments Fund website:
Dominican friars built the church, beginning in 1532, as a temple to the adjoining sanctuary building within Puerto Rico’s walled city of San Juan. The church was designed as a longitudinal temple with side chapels and was located on the highest point of the Isleta of San Juan on a site donated by Juan Ponce de León. 
In 1858, the church passed from the Dominican friars to the Jesuit Order and was renamed the Church of San Juan. Under this new leadership, the church was transformed. The interior design, decoration, and furnishings changed significantly to reflect the fashionable neoclassical style. In 1887, the church was again transferred, this time to the Vicentian Fathers (Padres Paules), who redecorated the interior of the church for the third time in the building’s history. 
By the mid-20th century, political, technological, and economic factors had taken a toll on the historic church, and its survival was in question.
So I guess I shouldn't be too bitter that the current restoration project, funded by Puerto Rico's National Endowment for the Humanities, prevented me from seeing more. Still, they should have been notified that I was coming, so arrangements could be made. Good thing I'm a forgiving sort. 

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