jueves, 1 de agosto de 2013

Valencian Cultural Heritage: Borgia's family and a Chapel in valencian Cathedral

During the month of July a group of Official Tourist Guide of Valencia and valencian Community (Apit) had the opportunity to attend a guided tour of the Chapel of San Pedro recently restored, at the cathedral of Valencia,. The guided tour was led by D. Jaime Sancho, Canon and responsible of the artistic heritage of the cathedral.

D. Jaime stressed the importance of visiting this chapel from next September out  as an added element of value of the Cathedral. The oldest part of it is the cast iron and golden grate done in the second half of the fifteenth century, namely the year 1467 by Juan Pons, with the dedication to the Supreme Shepherd of the Church, Peter, Pastor Ovium, Princeps Apostolorum (You are the shepherd of the sheep, the Prince of the Apostles).

Iron Grate, you are the Sepherd

The most valuable items were the frescoes of Antonio Palomino (late seventeenth century) depicting scenes from the life of the Apostle Peter. The paintings of the wall facing the entrance closed other times the doors of the Renaissance organ and were painted by Nicholas Falco early sixteenth century artist, representing scenes from the life of virgin Mary.
Saint Peter's Martyrdom

Former Renaissance Organ Paintings

The stucco decoration in the upper band had a symbolic meaning referring to the spiritual fruitfulness of the soul by means of horns of abundance, poppies and lilies. The canon Sivera Sanchis, before the civil war, described this part as a hemispherical dome topped with flashlight. The whole chapel suffered major damage during the spanish civil war with a devastating fire effect (1936). Now beautifully restored it is illuminated by a Murano lamp with a superb lighting.

Chapel as a Museum during Franco's Period (1940)
Illuminated Dome Perspective

The chapel can be visited and will  also function as a conference center for followers of ecclesiastical art and culture ·

The title of Sixtine chapel of the Cathedral, which gave some past historians seems a little exagerated, but interesting. It was at that time when Rodrigo de Borgia, Bishop of Valencia was responsible for its foundation. The Valencian chapel program was dedicated to the figure of St. Peter perhaps anticipating that one day the founder himself woulb be elevated to the chair of St. Peter.

The first occupant of the Chair of Peter born in Valencia was Alfonso de Borja as Calixtus III, who soon appointed his nephew as Bishop of Valencia, Cardinal Deacon, dean of the College of Cardinals and vice-chancellor of the Church Romana. Rodrigo studiedt at the University of Bologna, where he got a doctorate in law on August 1456
Rodrigo de Borja (Alexander VI)

After beeing appointed bishop of Valencia he took possession of the diocese on July 1458. He returned to Valencia as apostolic legate in 1471. The splendor of his coming around 1457 is described at the novelized biography by Joan Francesc Mira around 1472:

"In the middle of June after a month of traveling by sea we saw the shore of Valencia, twenty-three years after, whence a young law student embarked for Rome. Called by an old uncle, like so many other teenagers who leave their country in search of fortune by means of weapons or church positions, but very few got back, as I was now returning, full of fortune. I waited for two or three days at the Monastery of “El Puig” to order my entourage and complete my retinue and a morning full of light the city welcomed me with more success than a real king, an entry with an entourage larger than that of an ancient monarch, invested with such authority as a Roman pontiff. Now the victory was for me, I was the prince arrived at that door with an entourage that this “Serranos “ Gate had never contemplated in Valencia ... Before me were hundred men well dressed and my white horse was the only sign of sovereign dignity: the way to the Seo (Cathedral) is short but it took very long because of the entire population of Valencia on our way, wishing to contemplate that great son of the noble house, the Cardinal Borja who came from Rome with the splendor of a pope, the air was full of petals and flowers as a cloud that well-dressed women from balconies and windows launched on mi way"(JF.Mira, p. 148ss).

Jose Vicente Niclos


 Joan F. Mira, Borja Papa, Valencia, 2007

Valencia, Revista de la Catedral, No. 6, 2011.

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