San Esteban Monastery

Nogueira de Ramuín, Spain

The monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil is one of the most prominent and spectacular of the rich monumental heritage of Galicia. It was built between the 12th and 18th centuries.

According to most ancient tradition, Santo Estevo was founded in the 6th century by Saint Martín Dumiense. With the privilege of Ordoño II, issued on 12th October of the year 921, the documented history about this monastery begins. The King gave to the Abbot Franquila the ruined and abandoned territory of San Esteban, with its groves, fishing and river banks, to build a basilica and monastery there.

Architecture

The Church has a basilica-shaped floor plan, spacious and proportioned. It preserves the Romanesque front with three apses, being the central smaller than the sides, an unusual case in the Galician Romanesque. The facade of the church is from the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th. At the top there is a simple oculus that light up the interior and has a niche within we can see the image of San Esteban.

Inside the temple, the altarpiece of the chapel is a Renaissance work carried out by de Juan Angés in the 16th century. Among all scenes represented, we highlight in the lower section a double scene of the martyrdom of a man and a woman, which is identified with the double scene of scourging of San Vicente and Santa Cristina, as a tribute to the two added abbeys, San Vicente de Pombeiro and Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil.

On one side of the transept of the church you can see a unique stone altarpiece difficult to date, since some authors place it in the 12th century and others in the 13th. It is a piece made in granite, long rectangular shape with gabled top, quite unusual for that time. It represents Christ in Majesty with the twelve Apostles.

The facade of the monastery is of Baroque style, built in 1736. We can see two images of saints of the order between columns: San Benito and San Vicente. On top of these, two coats of arms. To the left, the one of the monastery with the nine mitres which resemble the nine bishops. On the right, that of the Congregation of Castile. The imperial one of Charles V finishes off the collection.

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Hagios Demetrios

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