Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Sanctuary on San Cristóbal Hill

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Sanctuary on San Cristóbal Hill
Address  Pedro Bannen, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Similar  Plaza de la Ciudadanía, Chilean National Zoo, San Cristóbal Hill, Bicentenario Park, Parque Forestal

The Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception on San Cristóbal Hill is one of the principal places of worship for the Catholic Church of Chile, as well as being an icon of Santiago, Chile. It is notable in particular for a large statue of the Immaculate Conception, which is located at the summit of San Cristóbal Hill, some 863 meters above sea level.

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The Sanctuary and Statue

The statue of the Immaculate Conception measures 14 meters tall, and the pedestal on which it rests, 8.3 meters. It weighs 36,610 kilograms. On the pedestal there is a small chapel in which his holiness John Paul II prayed and blessed the city of Santiago on April 1, 1987. The statue is lit up at night by lights placed on its sides, allowing it to be viewed from all over Santiago both day and night.

At the foot of the statue there is an amphitheater for holding masses or other religious ceremonies. Near the statue, there is also a small chapel for praying. The statue can be reached via the road joining the Santiago Metropolitan Park, via the Funicular of Santiago or the Santiago Cable Car, which has its final station next to the sanctuary.

The statue is currently in good condition, and was given a thorough clean and repaint in early 2012.

History

Before the arrival of the Spanish forces in Chile, the place where the shrine now stands was venerated by the indigenous population and known as Tupahue, meaning “Place of God” in Mapundungun. Some time after the founding of Santiago, a 10-meter cross was placed on the hill’s summit, where it remained until the end of the 19th century. Popes Leo XIII and Pius X both proclaimed that during 1904, the 50th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception would be celebrated. Answering this call to commemoration, the Archbishop of Santiago, Monsignor Mariano Casanova, asked the priest José Alejo Infante to coordinate a meeting of clergymen and lay people. It was at this meeting that Infante proposed and received approval for the construction of a Marian shrine.

The statue is believed to be a reproduction of the “Virgin of Rome” and was designed by Luigi Poletti and is a work by Giuseppe Obici. The prestigious French foundry Val D’Osne was commissioned with the task of constructing the statue by then Chilean ambassador to France, Enrique Salvador Sanfuentes. The statue cost 22,000 francs at the time.

The land on which the sanctuary was built was donated by the communities of the Recoleta Dominica church and the Saint Teresa Carmelites of Santiago. The first stone was placed on December 8, 1904 and the shrine was officially inaugurated on April 26, 1908. In 1987 it was visited by HH John Paul II.

References

Sanctuary on San Cristóbal Hill Wikipedia


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