Die Balearen, geshildert in Wort und Bild (1869-1884) > Architecture > Churches in Palma (II). Socors, Mercè and Sant Miquel

Churches in Palma (II). Socors, Mercè and Sant Miquel

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"The origin of Socors Church in the plaza with the same name is modern. Its exterior is simple. It has a portal with a square window in the lintel and a bell tower consisting of eight parts ending in a Baroque skylight. It is perhaps the tallest bell tower in Palma. Inside the church, six rounded arches support a barrel vault. The four arches in the middle rest on double molding supported on pillars with Roman capitals. On the vault we can read the dates, 1691 and 1694. The choir is above the entrance supported on a large diminished arch and it has a transept vault. It has a lattice and balustrade. The church has four chapels with rounded arches on either side. They’re separated by pilasters with spiral grooves.

There are two doors, one on either side of the presbyter leading to two chapels without any adornment whatsoever. The chapel on the right serves to venerate a very beautiful golden statue of the Virgin Mary, her dress decorated with gold designs, while a large silver crown rests atop her head.

Today’s Mercè is not very old. It’s believed to have been built along with the convent of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy dedicated to Saint Pere Nolasco, canonized on October 11th, 1628. The latter accompanied King Jaume I in his conquest of Mallorca.

The church’s exterior is pleasant, its side walls consisting of sandstone blocks and a beautiful skylight built in 1761 with a frame between two moldings, forming twisted cords. The portals, both the main one and the other on the side, are simple. Over the lintel of the second one is an image of the Virgin Mary of Mercy. On the right corner, sticking out over the entrance, is a square tower divided into five parts by simple molding, thus forming seven floors. The last two have ogee windows on either side. There is a terrace on top with a type of pinnacle in the center. The church’s interior is simple. It has a barrel vault with six arches, including the two ends, supported on Roman pilasters. The spiral ribs cross through keystones with coats of arms, and there are side windows between them. There are four chapels on each side with rounded arches and a gallery each.

Sant Miquel Church was once a mosque, very possibly the first one to hold a Catholic mass upon King Jaume I the Conqueror entering the city on December 31st, 1229. It was dedicated to the Archangel Saint Michael in memory of Father Miquel de Fabra, a Dominican and the King’s confessor. The church still has a small marble statue of Our Lady of Health which was in the chapel of the royal galley ship and to which King Jaume promised to build a church in its honor if his mission was successful. The old mosque survived until 1390 in which it was rebuilt into a church though atop the walls of the mosque. The main portal was built in 1391. Though Sant Miquel Church was the first one consecrated to Christian cult after the conquest, it’s considered as the next to last parish in Palma. The order of these parishes is as follows: Almudaina, Santa Eulàlia, Santa Creu, Sant Jaume, Sant Miquel and Sant Nicolau.

To the right is the bell tower which is divided by six moldings into seven floors. The top two have ogee windows, two on each side. The top is crowned by a tetragonal pyramid. The portal is a fairly good Gothic piece though not that old. There are two statues on both side pillars, an ogee arch decorated with leaves, and a figure of Saint Michael killing a dragon. The tympanum features a seated Virgin Mary and Child, with an angel on each side holding musical instruments. There is a completely flat side portal. The inside of the church is very Baroque. It has a barrel vault ceiling with rounded arches and Baroque altarpieces, a choir above the entrance supported on a diminished arch, with spiral-shaped ribs and two chapels which are smaller than the ones below. The main altar, with a narrower dome than that of the church, is decorated with marble and jasper and also features a small rosette."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: City of Palma. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


English translations and the structure of all summarized information is under:
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