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Archdiocese of Valladolid

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Bounded on the north by Palencia, east by Burgos and Segovia, south by Avila and Salamanca, and west by Zamora. Excepting two towns, it comprises the civil Province of Valladolid, and has in its territory six towns which are alternately one year under its jurisdiction and the next under that of the Diocese of Avila. Its suffragan dioceses are Astorga, Avila, Segovia, Salamanca, Zamora, and Ciudad Real. Valladolid (60,000) is built on the site of an ancient Roman city, and remains of Roman ruins are to be found, but it does not seem to be the Pintia which Antoninus says was 106 miles from Astorga. Probably it was founded by the Moors and given the name of Ulid or Walid. The first mention of it is found in the "Cronica de Cardeña" as one of the towns which Sancho II offered to his sister Doña Urraca in exchange for Zamora, the seigniory of which had been conferred upon her by her father. The real founder of Valladolid was the Castilian Count Ansúrez to whom Alfonso VI ceded it in 1074. He built the churches of Santa María la Antigua and Santa María la Mayor, founded the parish of San Nicolas, but he seems to have found already existing the churches of San Julián and San Pelayo. He built he great bridge over the Pisuerga and two hospitals near his own palace. On 21 May, 1095, the Church of Santa María la Mayor was dedicated by D. Bernado, Archbishop of Toledo, assisted by the Archbishops of Palencia, and many other bishops and noted personages. Ansurez and his wife Eylo conferred vast territories upon the abbot and chapter of the collegiate church, for purposes of colonization. This grant consisted of the monasteries of San Julian and San Pelayo, lands in Tierra de Campos, and a great stretch of land between the branches of the River Esgueva.

The first abbots of Valladolid in the twelfth century were Saltus or Agaldus; Hervaeus; Pedro; Martín; Juan; Miguel; and Domingo; in the thirteenth, Juan Domínguez, counsellor of St. Ferdinand; D. Felipe, son of St. Ferdinand; D. Sancho de Aragon, son of Jaime I; D. Martín Alonso, illegitimate son of Alfonso the Wise; and Gómez García of Toledo; in the fourteenth, Juan Fernández de Limia, later Archbishop of Santiago; and Fernando Alvarez de Albornoz, cousin of the celebrated cardinal; in the fifteenth, Diego Gómez de Fuensalida; Cardinal Pedro de Fonseca; the famous Alfonso de Madrigal, called "el Tostado", Cardinal Fr. Juan de Torquemada; Cardinal D. Pedro de Mendoza; and in the sixteenth century, D. Fernando Enríquez, son of the admiral, D. Alfonso Enriquez Villarroel; and D. Alfonso de Mendoza. In 1124, with the assistance of the Cardinal legate Adeodatus, a council of all the prelates of the kingdom was held at Valladolid, and in 1137 another, presided over by Cardinal Guido. On 1 July, 1217, St. Ferdinand III was proclaimed king in this city, on the abdication of his mother Doña Berenguela.

In 1238 another council was held, over which the legate Bishop of Sabina presided. In order to terminate the disputes with Palencia, Philip II, who was born at Valladolid, wished to have it constituted a diocese, and Clement VIII erected it on 25 Sept., 1595, and the king conferred on it a city charter. The first bishop was D. Bartolomé de la Plaza, 1597, and among his successors D. Martin Delgado Cenarro (1743-53) deserves mention. By the Concordat of 1851 the elevation of Valladolid to the rank of a metropolitan was stipulated, and Pius IX at the request of Isabella II issued the Decree for its erection on 4 July, 1857. The first archbishop was D. Luis de Lastra y Cuesta, and his successors were Cardinal Juan Ignacio Moreno, Cardinal Benito Sanz y Fores, and the prelate who has just been raised to the cardinalitial dignity, D. José Cos y Macho. Many noted events have taken place at Valladolid: the marriage of Alfonso X and Dona Violante de Aragon and that of Alfonso XI to Dona Constanza; Columbus died there; and D. Alvaro de Luna was decapitated. The first auto da fe of the Spanish Inquisition was carried out at Valladolid, and the Cortes met there many times. The city owes much to the famous Dona María de Molina, wife of Sancho the Brave, regent during the minorities of Ferdinand IV and Alfonso Xi. The latter conferred many distinctions upon Valladolid and gave it its university. The Court resided several times at Valladolid, the last time from 1601 to 1606 by wish of Philip III, who was much attached to the city.


Santa María la Antigua was the parish church of the counts of Valladolid and was in existence as early as 1088. Behind the modern cathedral are the remains of the ancient cathedral of Santa María la Mayor, not as founded by the Conde Ansúrez, but as restored a century and a half later. Bishop Lucas of Tuy says that the Abbot Juan, chancellor of St. Ferdinand, later Bishop of Osma, rebuilt and redecorated it, transferring the chapter meanwhile to Santa María la Antigua (1226). Its architecture is of the Transition period. Antolínez de Burgos, who lived in the sixteenth century, describes with enthusiasm its magnificent cloister. When the diocese was erected, Philip II engaged Juan de Herrera, the famous architect of the Escorial, to make the plans of the new cathedral. Herrera began the construction, but was obliged to go back to the Escorial, and was succeeded by D. Alberto da Churriguera, from whom the Spanish style of architecture Churrigueresco (Baroque) takes its name. Notwithstanding this, the influence of Herrera can be traced in the exterior. The principal façade has four Doric half columns, which support the entablature of the first story; between each column rises a magnificent arch overhanging a rectangular door over which is placed the figure of the Assumption, the titular of the cathedral. In the inter- columnar spaces are statutes of Sts. Peter and Paul, and a door at each side. Two towers were to have finished the principal façade; of these one was never built beyond the firs story, and the other which was finished collapsed in 1841. The interior is imposing; along the top is an open gallery finished with a balustrade. The tabernacle built by Juan de Arfe (1590) and the choir stalls, which were brought from the Dominican church, are two of the precious possessions of this cathedral.

The Dominican Convent of San Pablo, founded in 1276 by Doña Violante, wife of Alfonso X, the Wise, deserves special mention. Juan II lived there, and was temporarily buried there until his remains could be transferred to the Cartuja de Miraflores. It is a Gothic building, the most notable feature of which is the façade of its church, built at the expense of Cardinal Juan de Torquemada and Fr. Alonso de Burgos, Bishop of Palencia. Beside it is the Dominican College of San Gregorio, founded in 1488 by Fr. Alonso de Burgos, confessor of Isabella the Catholic. The famous Luis de Granada studied there. Its façade is the best of its kind on account of its original designs. Its cloister, with a double gallery, is also notable. The ancient College of Santa Cruz, founded by Cardinal Mendoza, a building in the plateresque style, has been converted into a museum, and contains many beautiful samples of religious sculptures. The ancient palacio real serves as a court building. This has a beautiful façade, with a tower at each side, and finished with a colonnade of alternating arches having square openings. The episcopal palace is a handsome building, and the conciliar seminary, founded by D. Bartolomé de la Plaza in 1597 and rebuilt in 1847 by D. José Antonio Ribadeneyra, was made a pontifical university by Leo XIII in 1897.

Valladolid has secondary and normal schools, archaeological and art museums, and a library of 30,000 volumes. The Spanish cavalry school is situated here also. Among the charitable establishments may be mentioned the Hospital de la Resurrección; the military hospital, formerly a convent of the Carmelites; the hospital de Esgueva; the Casa de Misericordia, occupying the ancient palace of the counts of Benavente; the asylums for mendicants.


QUADRADO, Espana, sus monumentos y artes, Valladolid (Barcelona, 1885); DE LA FUENTE, Historia de las universidades de Espana, I (Madrid, 1884); IDEM, Hist. eccl. de España (2nd ed., Madrid, 1881); GEBHARDT, Historia general de Espana (Barcelona).

About this page

APA citation. Amadó, R.R. (1912). Archdiocese of Valladolid. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Amadó, Ramón Ruiz. "Archdiocese of Valladolid." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael T. Barrett. Dedicated to the Catholics of the Diocese of Valladolid.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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