Church of Blessed Sacrament - it's the most beautiful basilica in Buenos Aires, a place of prayer and reconciliation, an oasis of silence and peace located next to the Plaza San Martin.
Basilica of the Holy Sacrament
The Basilica of the Holy Sacrament (often translated to English as the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament) was privately funded by Mrs. Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena. The church was intended as a shrine for the family members.
Its architecture, selection of finishing materials, and details of interior decoration are the combined work of the team of French architects Coulomb and Chauvet, Salesian architect Rev. Fr. Vespignani, and the superior of the local religious community Rev. Fr. Antonio Seignon.
Similarly, as most of Buenos Aires' buildings, the church was designed in an eclectic style – being a mixture of Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Byzantine features.
The foundation stone for the church was placed on the 25th of March 1908. Eight years later on the 15th of July 1916, the church was consecrated by Archbishop Mons. Mariano Espinosa. Later, on November 25th of the same year, Pope Benedict XIV established it as a Minor Basilica. Externally (what may be not that easy to see these days), the church structure is marked by five towers – all finished with beautiful domes. Three towers make the frontal façade. The central one – 50m meters high is decorated with the sculpture showing Saint Peter Julián Eymard, (founder of the Congregation of the Holy Sacrament) and two kneeling angels on his side.
Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament - view from the narrow "Pasaje Corina Kavanagh"
Basilica's interior - beautifully carved wooden pulpit
The church has two levels – an upper one accessible to the public and the lower level - private from the beginning designed for the Anchorena family.
Entering the upper level of the basilica makes many visitors speechless. It is really one of the most beautifully and lavishly decorated churches in Buenos Aires. Definitely, Mercedes Anchorena did not spare money and efforts to make this Memorial Church not only an eternal monument for the glory of God but also for the “ages of ages” lasting splendor of the Anchorena family.
Above and below: Interior of the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament. Please note details of the pulpit's carvings
The candelabrum of the rare beauty stands on the marble base next to the pulpit.
Many magnificent ornaments are finished in precious metals and stone. Gold, silver, bronze, blue granite and snow-white marble, Venetian mosaics, precious wood carved by best Flemish masters, stained-glass windows, crystal chandeliers – it is all there carefully selected to blend into an atmosphere of the place of worship.
The main organ with about 4800 pipes is still one of the biggest and certainly the most beautifully “tuned” in South America. It was made in 1912 by the famous French manufacturing house Mutin- Cavaillé-Coll at the request of Mercedes Anchorena.
It is worth noting that Aristide Cavaillé-Coll is considered by many as the greatest organ builder of the 19th century thanks to his gifted combination of science and art in the manufacturing process.
After his death, the business (or rather “tradition-of-science-and-art”) was continued by Charles Mutin. In 1915 he traveled to Buenos Aires to personally attend the inauguration concert opened with the Toccata from the 5th Symphony played by Charles Widor.
Interior of the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament - richly decorated high altar.
To these days this beautiful instrument stays in its original form with only one exception. In 1955 the initial mechanical console was replaced by the Italian one – Tamburini (unfortunately whereabouts of the original console are not known and it is not even clear why the old one was replaced).
The upper level of the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament is open daily for the public from 6:30 am till 8:00 pm (free admission).
The lower level of the basilica includes the “private” church with a beautiful Merklin organ from Belgium. Here, under the central tower is the family crypt holding the earthly remains of Mrs. Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena.
4800 pipes organ from the famous French manufacturing house Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll (upper level of the Basilica of the Blessed Sacrament)
Lower fragment of the organ above the main entrance to the church
Confessional in the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament
Main entrance to the Basilica
Quote from the panel at the entry to the church:
"....In this beautiful place erected for Jesus to be adored, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed daily, day and night, where zealous adorers pray for the needs of all mankind. This church was intended to be a “Tabernacle” of the city, the place of prayer and reconciliation, an oasis of silence and peace..."
Interior: Floor's mosaics
It is so beautiful that it is hard to keep your eyes off.... Here Venetian mosaics and benches
Basilica of the Blessed (Holy) Sacrament: Interior's details
Fragment of the door...
Well, after visiting this beautiful church with so much spirituality "in the air" it may be wise to stop for a while, sit on the bench and take some time for reflections....
Otherwise leaving the church you will find yourself in the middle of the bustling Plaza San Martin.
However, once you are ready, you are invited for the next step on this walking tour - our next stop is not far from the church - it is the Kavanagh Building.
You will find out what these two beautiful but completely different structures have in common in their history.
To continue the Buenos Aires walking tour please select:
Kavanagh Building next - (page 5)
Please note however that at any time during this tour you can take a break, have a glass of wine, and then re-start the walking tour by making one of the following selections:
To start the Buenos Aires Walking Tour from the overview of the Plaza San Martin, see maps, learn the history of this famous place, click on the left picture, or select the following link:
San Martin Plaza Walking Tours (page 1)
To find out who was General José de San Martin and see the imposing monument glorifying his South-American achievements please click on the left picture or select the following link:
Monument to General Jose de San Martin    (page 2)
To read the story of the Anchorenas - once the wealthiest and most influential dynasty in Argentina, make the tour of their beautiful mansion next to the Plaza San Martin and see it all on the pictures, please click on the left photo or select the link:
Plaza San Martin - Anchorena Palace     (page 3)
To learn the story behind the construction of the Kavanagh Building (love, betrayal and "sweet revenge" by red-hair Irish girl Corina), see the pictures of this engineering marvel from the beginning of the 20th century, please click the left picture or select the link:
Kavanagh Building (page 5)
To see the gift of British residents of Buenos Aires offered to the city for the celebration of the centenary of the Revolution of May let's walk towards the English Tower located across the street from the Plaza San Martin. Please click on the left picture or select the following link:
Best of Buenos Aires-English Tower (page 6)
Not sure yet where to go and what to see in Argentina? You may find help selecting: Tourist Destinations in Argentina
However, if you are falling in love with Buenos Aires (I do not blame you, it happened to me) then please select: Buenos Aires Walking Tours
If you want to prepare yourself for a vacation in Argentina then please select:
Argentina Travel Tips
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St. Patrick - NYC;
Iglesia de la Concepción (Tenerife)
Basilica of Blessed Sacrament (Arg)
Buenos Aires Cathedral (Arg)
Our Lady of Pillar (Arg)
Basilica in Colonia Antigua (Uruguay)
Orawka Wooden Church (Poland)
St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church in Havana (Cuba)
Pokhara-Peace Pagoda (Nepal)
Taste of a city....
Cities and their little secrets
list of cities
Buenos Aires Walking Tours
Palacio Barolo (2 pages)
Plaza San Martin
Puerto Madero (2 pages)
Plaza de Mayo Tour (2 pages)
Plaza del Congreso Tour (3 pages)
Colonia Sacramento (2 pages)
Teatro Colon Buenos Aires (2 pages)
Street Lamps (3 pages)
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