Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
Overview
 
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City is the largest and oldest cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico is a metropolitan diocese, responsible for the suffragan Dioceses of Atlacomulco, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Tenancingo. It was elevated on February 12, 1546....

. It is situated atop the former Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán, eventually replacing it entirely.
Encyclopedia
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City is the largest and oldest cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico is a metropolitan diocese, responsible for the suffragan Dioceses of Atlacomulco, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Tenancingo. It was elevated on February 12, 1546....

. It is situated atop the former Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán, eventually replacing it entirely. Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega was a Spanish architect and sculptor. He designed the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral and possibly the Puebla Cathedral....

 planned the construction, drawing inspiration from Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 cathedrals in Spain.

The cathedral has four facade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

s which contain portal
Portal (architecture)
Portal is a general term describing an opening in the walls of a building, gate or fortification, and especially a grand entrance to an important structure. Doors, metal gates or portcullis in the opening can be used to control entry or exit. The surface surrounding the opening may be made of...

s flanked with columns and statues. The two bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

s contain a total of 25 bells. The tabernacle, adjacent to the cathedral, contains the baptistery
Baptistery
In Christian architecture the baptistry or baptistery is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font. The baptistry may be incorporated within the body of a church or cathedral and be provided with an altar as a chapel...

 and serves to register the parishioners. There are two large, ornate altars, a sacristy
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

, and a choir in the cathedral. Fourteen of the cathedral's sixteen chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s are open to the public. Each chapel is dedicated to a different saint or saints, and each was sponsored by a religious guild
Confraternity
A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic or Orthodox organization of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy...

. The chapels contain ornate altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s, altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

s, retablo
Retablo
A Retablo or lamina is a Latin American devotional painting, especially a small popular or folk art one using iconography derived from traditional Catholic church art....

s, paintings, furniture and sculptures. The cathedral is home to two of the largest 18th century organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

s in the Americas. There is a crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

 underneath the cathedral that holds the remains of many former archbishops.

Over the centuries, the cathedral has suffered damage. A fire in 1962 destroyed a significant part of the cathedral's interior. The restoration work that followed uncovered a number of important documents and artwork that had previously been hidden. Although a solid foundation was built for the cathedral, the soft clay soil it is built on has been a threat to its structural integrity. Dropping water table
Water table
The water table is the level at which the submarine pressure is far from atmospheric pressure. It may be conveniently visualized as the 'surface' of the subsurface materials that are saturated with groundwater in a given vicinity. However, saturated conditions may extend above the water table as...

s and accelerated sinking caused the structure to be added to the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

 list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. Reconstruction work beginning in the 1990s stabilized the cathedral and it was removed from the endangered list in 2000.

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the conquistadors decided to build their church on the site of the Templo Mayor of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan to consolidate Spanish power over the newly-conquered domain. Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 and the other conquistadors used the stones from the destroyed temple of the Aztec god of war Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli , was a god of war, a sun god, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national god of the Mexicas of Tenochtitlan.- Genealogy :...

, principal deity of the Aztecs, to build the church. Cortés ordered the original church's construction after he returned from exploring what is now Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

. Architect Martín de Sepúlveda was the first director of this project from 1524 to 1532. Juan de Zumárraga
Juan de Zumárraga
Juan de Zumárraga was a Spanish Basque Franciscan prelate and first bishop of Mexico.-Origins and arrival in New Spain:...

, the first Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of the first See
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, established in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, promoted this church's completion. Zumárraga's Cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 was located in the northeast portion of what is now the cathedral. It had three naves separated by three Tuscan columns. The central roof was ridged with intricate carvings done by Juan Salcedo Espinosa and gilded by Francisco de Zumaya and Andrés de la Concha
Andrés de la Concha
Andrés de la Concha was a Spanish painter who is considered one of the best painters of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. De la Concha was born in Seville and came to the New World in 1568...

. The main door was probably of Renaissance style
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

. The choir area had 48 seats made of ayacahuite wood crafted by Adrian Suster and Juan Montaño. However, this church was soon considered inadequate for the growing importance of the capital of New Spain.

In 1544, ecclesiastical authorities in Valladolid
Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

 ordered the creation of new and more sumptuous cathedral. In 1552, an agreement was reached whereby the cost of the new cathedral would be shared by the Spanish crown, encomenderos and the Indians under the direct authority of the archbishop of New Spain. The cathedral was begun by being built around the existing church in 1573. When enough of the cathedral was built to house basic functions, the original church was demolished to enable construction to continue.

Construction

The cathedral was constructed over a period of over two centuries, between 1573 and 1813. Its design is a mixture of three architectural styles that predominated during the colonial period, Renaissance
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

, Baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 and Neo-classic
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

.

Initial plans for the new cathedral were drawn up and work on the foundation began in 1562. The decision to have the cathedral face south instead of east was made in 1570. In the same year, construction commenced, working from the Gothic designs and models created by Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega
Claudio de Arciniega was a Spanish architect and sculptor. He designed the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral and possibly the Puebla Cathedral....

 and Juan Miguel de Agüero
Juan Miguel de Agüero
Juan Miguel de Agüero was an architect who participated in the design and construction of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the Mérida Cathedral, and the fortifications of Havana, Cuba.-References:...

, inspired by cathedrals found in Spanish cities such as Valladolid
Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

 and Málaga
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

.

Because of the muddy subsoil of the site, work on the foundation continued past the work on the walls to 1581. In 1585, work on the first of the cathedral's chapels began and by 1615, the cathedral's walls reached to about half of their final height. Construction of the interior of the current cathedral began in 1623 and what is now the vestry was where Mass was conducted after the first church was finally torn down.

In 1629, work was interrupted by flooding, over two metres in depth. Parts of the city were damaged, especially around the main plaza or Zocalo
Zócalo
The Zócalo is the main plaza or square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City. The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución...

. Because of such damage, this site was almost abandoned and a new cathedral project was begun in the hills of the Tacubaya
Tacubaya
Tacubaya is a section of Mexico City located in the west in the Miguel Hidalgo borough. The area has been inhabited since before the Christian era, with its name coming from Nahuatl meaning “where water is gathered.” From the colonial period to the beginning of the 20th century, Tacubaya was...

 area to the west.

Despite these problems, the project continued in its current location, and under the direction of Luis Gómez de Transmonte, the interior was finished and consecrated in 1667. The cathedral still lacked bell towers, the complete front facade, and many of the other features it has now at the beginning of the 18th century.

In 1787, José Damian Ortiz de Castro
José Damián Ortiz de Castro
José Damián Ortiz de Castro was a Mexican architect who carried out many construction works in Mexico City and the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.-References:...

 was in charge of finishing work on the cathedral. He did most of the work on the bell towers, putting in most of the fretwork
Fretwork
Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design that is either carved in low relief on a solid background, or cut out with a fretsaw, coping saw, jigsaw or scroll saw. Most fretwork patterns are geometric in design. The materials most commonly used are wood and metal. Fretwork is used to adorn...

 and capping them with roofs in the shape of bells. With his death in 1793, he did not live to see the cathedral completed, and Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá was a prolific Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico.-Biography:...

 finished the cathedral by adding the cupola
Cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

, the central front facade, the balustrades, and the statues of Faith, Hope and Charity at the top of the front facade. Tolsa's work was the last major construction to the cathedral and the appearance it had when he finished is the basic look the cathedral has today.

The cathedral faces south and is approximately 54.5 metres (178.8 ft) wide and 110 metres (360.9 ft) long. It consists of two bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

s, a central dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

, three main portals
Portal (architecture)
Portal is a general term describing an opening in the walls of a building, gate or fortification, and especially a grand entrance to an important structure. Doors, metal gates or portcullis in the opening can be used to control entry or exit. The surface surrounding the opening may be made of...

, five nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

s, 51 vaults, 74 arches and 40 columns. Inside the cathedral are five large altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s, sixteen chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s, a choir area, a corridor, capitulary room, and sacristy. The cathedral has approximately 150 windows.

Facades and portals

The main facade of the cathedral faces south. The main portal
Portal (architecture)
Portal is a general term describing an opening in the walls of a building, gate or fortification, and especially a grand entrance to an important structure. Doors, metal gates or portcullis in the opening can be used to control entry or exit. The surface surrounding the opening may be made of...

 is centered in the main facade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 and is the highest of the cathedral's three portals. Statues of Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 and Paul the Apostle stand between the columns of the portal, while Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

 and James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 are depicted on the secondary doorway. In the center of this doorway is a high relief of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Many significant works of art depict the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. They include:* Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Botticini* Assumption of the Virgin by Titian* Assumption of the Virgin by Antonio da Correggio...

, to whom the cathedral is dedicated. This image is flanked by images of Saint Matthew and Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

. The coat of arms of Mexico
Coat of arms of Mexico
The current coat of arms of Mexico has been an important symbol of Mexican politics and culture for centuries. The coat of arms depicts a Mexican Golden Eagle perched upon a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. To the people of Tenochtitlan this would have strong religious connotations, but to...

 is above the doorway, with the eagle's wings outstretched. There is a clock tower at the very top of the portal with statues representing Faith, Hope and Charity, which was created by sculptor Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá was a prolific Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico.-Biography:...

.

The west facade was constructed in 1688 and rebuilt in 1804. It as a three-section portal with images of the Four Evangelists
Four Evangelists
In Christian tradition the Four Evangelists are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the authors attributed with the creation of the four Gospel accounts in the New Testament that bear the following titles:*Gospel according to Matthew*Gospel according to Mark...

. The west portal has high reliefs depicting Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 handing the Keys of Heaven
Keys of Heaven
In ecclesiastical heraldry, the Papal coat of arms contain the keys of the office of St. Peter. The Keys of Heaven were, according to Christian tradition, received by Saint Peter from Jesus, marking Peter's ability to take binding actions. Thus, the Keys are seen as a symbol of Papal authority...

 to Saint Peter.

The east facade is similar to the west facade. The reliefs on the east portal show a ship carrying the four apostles, with Saint Peter at the helm. The title of this relief is The ship of the Church sailing the seas of Eternity.

The northern facade, built during the 16th century in the Renaissance Herrera
Herrerian
The Herrerian was developed in Spain during the last third of the 16th century under the reign of Philip II , and continued in force in the 17th century, but transformed by the Baroque current of the time...

 style, is oldest part of the cathedral and was named after Juan de Herrera
Juan de Herrera
Juan de Herrera was a Spanish architect, mathematician and geometrician.One of the most outstanding Spanish architects in the 16th century, Herrera represents the peak of the Renaissance in Spain. His sober style was fully developed in buildings like the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial...

, architect of the El Escorial
El Escorial
The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and...

 monastery in Spain. While the eastern and western facades are older than most of the rest of the building, their third level has Solomonic column
Solomonic column
The Solomonic column, also called Barley-sugar column, is a helical column, characterized by a spiraling twisting shaft like a corkscrew...

s which are associated with the Baroque period.

All the high reliefs of the portals of the cathedral were inspired by the work of Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 painter Peter Paul Rubens.

Bell towers

The bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

s are the work of Xalapa
Xalapa
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...

n artist José Damián Ortiz de Castro. They are capped with bell-shaped roofs made of tezontle
Tezontle
Tezontle is a porous, extrusive, igneous, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color.-Uses:Tezontle can be mixed with concrete to form lightweight concrete blocks, or mixed with cement to create stucco finishes. Tezontle is often used as the top...

 covered in chiluca, a white stone. Ortiz de Castro was in charge of the cathedral's construction in the latter half of the 18th century until he died, unexpectedly. Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá
Manuel Tolsá was a prolific Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico.-Biography:...

 of Valencia
Valencian Community
The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

, who had built other notable buildings in Mexico City, was hired to finish the cathedral. At this point, the cathedral had already been 240 years in the making. He added the neo-Classic structure housing the clock, the statues of the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity), the high balustrade surrounding the building, and the dome that rises over the transept
Transept
For the periodical go to The Transept.A transept is a transverse section, of any building, which lies across the main body of the building. In Christian churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform building in Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architecture...

.

The cathedral has 25 bells
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

—eighteen hang in the east bell tower and seven in the west tower. The largest bell is named the Santa Maria de Guadalupe and weighs around 13000 kilograms (28,660.1 lb). Other major bells are named the Doña Maria, which weighs 6900 kilograms (15,211.9 lb), and La Ronca ("the hoarse one"), named so because of its harsh tone. Doña Maria and La Ronca were placed in 1653 while the largest bell was placed later in 1793.

The statues in the west tower are the work of José Zacarías Cora
José Zacarías Cora
José Zacarías Cora was a Mexican sculptor who contributed numerous sculputures to Mexican cathedrals, including the sculptures in the west bell tower of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. He was nephew and apprentice of sculptor José Antonio Villegas Cora.-References:...

 and represent Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII
Pope St. Gregory VII , born Hildebrand of Sovana , was Pope from April 22, 1073, until his death. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal...

, Saint Augustine, Leander of Seville
Leander of Seville
Saint Leander of Seville , brother of the encyclopedist St. Isidore of Seville, was the Catholic Bishop of Seville who was instrumental in effecting the conversion to Catholicism of the Visigothic kings Hermengild and Reccared of Hispania .-Family:Leander and Isidore and...

, St. Fulgentius of Écija, St.Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534...

, and Saint Barbara
Saint Barbara
Saint Barbara, , Feast Day December 4, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian saint and martyr....

. The statues in the east tower are by Santiago Cristóbal Sandoval
Santiago Cristóbal Sandoval
Santiago Cristóbal Sandoval was an indigenous Mexican sculptor who contributed works to several Mexican cathedrals, including the Puebla Cathedral and the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral....

 and depict Emilio, Rose of Lima
Rose of Lima
Rose of Lima, , the first Catholic saint of the Americas, was born in Lima, Peru.-Biography:Saint Rose of Lima was born in the city of that name, the daughter of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier from San German, Puerto Rico, and his wife, Maria de Oliva, who was a native of Lima. She was part of a...

, Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

, Ambrogio, Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

, Philip of Jesus
Philip of Jesus
Saint Philip of Jesus was a Mexican Catholic missionary who became one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan, the first Mexican saint and patron saint of Mexico City....

, Hippolytus of Rome, and Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, , was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras....

.

In 1947, a novice bell ringer died in an accident when he tried to move one of the bells while standing under it. The bell swung back and hit him in the head, killing him instantly. The bell was then "punished" by removing the clapper. In the following years, the bell was known as la castigada ("the punished one"), or la muda ("the mute one"). In 2000, the clapper was reinstalled in the bell.

In October 2007, a time capsule
Time capsule
A time capsule is an historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians...

 was found inside the stone ball base of a cross, in the southern bell tower of the cathedral. It was placed in 1742, supposedly to protect the building from harm. The lead box was filled with religious artifacts, coins and parchments and hidden in a hollow stone ball. The ball was marked with the date of 14 May 1791, when the building's topmost stone was laid. A new time capsule will be placed in the stone ball when it is closed again.

Tabernacle

Situated to the right of the main cathedral, the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built by Lorenzo Rodríguez during the height of the Baroque period between 1749 and 1760, to house the archives and vestments of the archbishop. It also functioned and continues to function as a place to receive Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 and register parishioners.

The first church built on the cathedral site also had a tabernacle, but its exact location is unknown. During the construction of the cathedral, the tabernacle was housed in what are now the Chapels of San Isidro and Our Lady of Agony of Granada. However, in the 18th century, it was decided to build a structure that was separate, but still connected, to the main cathedral. It is constructed of tezontle
Tezontle
Tezontle is a porous, extrusive, igneous, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color.-Uses:Tezontle can be mixed with concrete to form lightweight concrete blocks, or mixed with cement to create stucco finishes. Tezontle is often used as the top...

 (a porous volcanic rock) and white stone in the shape of a Greek cross with its southern facade faces the Zócalo. It links to the main cathedral through the Chapel of San Isidro.

The interiors of each wing have separate uses. In the west wing is the baptistry, in the north is the main altar, the main entrance and a notary area, separated by inside corner walls made of chiluca stone and tezontle. Chiluca, a white stone, covers the walls and floors and the tezontle, a reddish porous volcanic stone, frames the doors and windows. In the center of the cross is an octagonal dome framed by arches that form curved triangles where they meet at the top of the dome. The principal altar is in the ornate Churrigueresque style and crafted by indigenous artist Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque
Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque
Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque was an indigenous Mexican sculptor. He studied with Santiago Sandoval and Manuel Tolsá and worked with Tolsá to create the tabernacle for the Puebla Cathedral...

. It was inaugurated in 1829.

The exterior of the Baroque styled tabernacle is almost entirely adorned with decorations, such as curiously-shaped niche shelves, floating drapes and many cherubs
CHERUBS
CHERUBS is a Non-Profit Organization. It was founded in February, 1995 for families of children born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a severe and often lethal birth defect. It was founded and currently led by Dawn M...

. Carvings of fruits such as grapes and pomegranates have been created to in the shape of ritual offerings, symbolizing the blood of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 and the Church. Among the floral elements, Roses, Daisies, and various types of four-petaled flowers can be found, including the indigenous chalchihuite.

The tabernacle has two main outside entrances; one to the south, facing the Zocalo and the other facing east toward Seminario Street. The southern facade is more richly decorated than the east facade. It has a theme of glorifying the Eucharist with images of the Apostles, Church Fathers, saints who founded religious orders
Institute of Consecrated Life
Institutes of consecrated life are canonically erected institutes in the Roman Catholic Church whose members profess the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience by vows or other sacred bonds...

, martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s as well as scenes from the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. Zoomorphic reliefs can be found along with the anthropologic reliefs, including a rampaging lion, and the eagle from the coat of arms of Mexico
Coat of arms of Mexico
The current coat of arms of Mexico has been an important symbol of Mexican politics and culture for centuries. The coat of arms depicts a Mexican Golden Eagle perched upon a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. To the people of Tenochtitlan this would have strong religious connotations, but to...

. The east facade is less ambitious, but contains figures from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 as well as the images of John Nepomucene and Ignacio de Loyola. Construction dates for the phases of the tabernacle are also inscribed here.

Interior

Altar of Forgiveness

The Altar of Forgiveness is located at the front of the central nave. It is the first aspect of the interior that is seen upon entering the cathedral. It was the work of Spanish architect Jerónimo Balbás
Jerónimo Balbás
Jerónimo Balbás was a Spanish architect active during the 18th century. He created the altarpiece for the tabernacle of the Seville Cathedral, which was destroyed in 1824. He was also involved in working on parts of other Spanish cathedrals. In 1718 he moved to Mexico where he worked as an...

, and represents the first use of the estípite column (an inverted triangle-shaped pilaster
Pilaster
A pilaster is a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall. Most commonly flattened or rectangular in form, pilasters can also take a half-round form or the shape of any type of column, including tortile....

) in the Americas.

There are two stories about how the name of this altar came about. The first states that those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 were brought to the altar to ask for forgiveness in the next world before their execution. The second relates to painter Simon Pereyns
Simon Pereyns
Simon Pereyns was a Flemish painter. He moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1558 and later to Madrid, Spain. In 1566, he moved to Mexico where he gained fame as a painter of numerous works, most of which have not survived...

, who despite being the author of many of the works of the cathedral, was accused of blasphemy
Blasphemy
Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

. According to the story, while Pereyns was in jail, he painted such a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary that his crime was forgiven.

This altar was damaged by a fire in January 1967 but has been completely restored.

Altar of the Kings

The Altar of the Kings was also the work of Jerónimo Balbás, in Mexican Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 or Churrigueresque
Churrigueresque
Churrigueresque refers to a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate sculptural architectural ornament which emerged as a manner of stucco decoration in Spain in the late 17th century and was used up to about 1750, marked by extreme, expressive and florid decorative detailing, normally found above the...

 style. It was begun in 1718 by Balbás in cedar, and was gilded and finished by Francico Martínez, debuting in 1737. It is located at the back of the Cathedral, beyond the Altar of Forgiveness and the choir. This altar is 13.75 metres (45.1 ft) wide, 25 metres (82 ft) tall and 7.5 metres (24.6 ft) deep. Its size and depth gave rise to the nickname la cueva dorada ("the golden cave").

It takes its name from the statues of saintly royalty which form part of its decoration, and is the oldest work in churrigueresque style in Mexico, taking 19 years to complete. At the bottom, from left to right, are six female royal saints: Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland , also known as Margaret of Wessex and Queen Margaret of Scotland, was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Born in exile in Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England...

, Helena of Constantinople
Helena of Constantinople
Saint Helena also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine I...

, Elisabeth of Hungary
Elisabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F., was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Countess of Thuringia, Germany and a greatly-venerated Catholic saint. Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. She then became one of the first members of the newly-founded Third Order of St. Francis,...

, Isabel of Portugal, Empress Cunegunda
Cunigunde of Luxemburg
Saint Cunigunde of Luxembourg, O.S.B. , also called Cunegundes and Cunegonda, was the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Saint Henry II. She is the Patroness of Luxembourg; her feast day is 3 March....

 and Edith of Wilton
Edith of Wilton
Saint Edith of Wilton was an English nun, a daughter of the 10th century King Edgar of England, born at Kemsing, Kent, in 961...

. In the middle of the altar are six canonized kings, four of whom are: Hermenegild
Hermenegild
Saint Hermenegild or Ermengild , was the son of king Leovigild of Visigothic Spain. He fell out with his father in 579, then revolted the following year. During his rebellion, he converted from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism. Hermenegild was defeated in 584, and exiled...

 a Visigoth
Visigoth
The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, the Ostrogoths being the other. These tribes were among the Germans who spread through the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period...

 martyr, Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II , also referred to as Saint Henry, Obl.S.B., was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor of the Ottonian dynasty, from his coronation in Rome in 1014 until his death a decade later. He was crowned King of the Germans in 1002 and King of Italy in 1004...

, Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....

 and Casimir
Saint Casimir
Saint Casimir Jagiellon was a royal prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who became a patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young.-Biography:...

 of Poland. Above these four are Saints Louis of France
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

 and Ferdinand III of Castile
Ferdinand III of Castile
Saint Ferdinand III, T.O.S.F., was the King of Castile from 1217 and León from 1230. He was the son of Alfonso IX of León and Berenguela of Castile. Through his second marriage he was also Count of Aumale. He finished the work done by his maternal grandfather Alfonso VIII and consolidated the...

. In between these kings an oil painting of the Adoration of the Magi by Juan Rodriguez Juarez shows Jesus as the King of kings. The top portion features a painting of the Assumption of Mary as celestial queen flanked by oval bas reliefs, one of Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 carrying the infant Jesus and the other of Saint Teresa of Ávila
Teresa of Ávila
Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer...

 with a quill in her hand and the Holy Spirit above her, inspiring her to write. Above this are figures of Jesus and Mary among sculptures of angels crowned with an image of God, the Father.

This altar has been under restoration since 2003.

Sacristy

The Herrera door opens into the sacristy
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

, the oldest part of the cathedral. It is a mixture of Renaissance and Gothic styles.

The walls hold large canvases painted by Cristóbal de Villalpando
Cristóbal de Villalpando
Cristóbal de Villalpando was a Mexican painter. He painted prolifically and produced many Baroque works visible in several Mexican cathedrals, including the cathedrals in Querétaro and Mexico City.. He married María de Mendoza in 1669, and later had four children.-References:...

, such as The Apotheosis of Saint Michael, The Triumph of the Eucharist, The Church Militant and the Church Triumphant, and The Virgin of the Apocalypse. The Virgin of the Apocalypse depicts the vision of John of Patmos
John of Patmos
John of Patmos is the name given, in the Book of Revelation, as the author of the apocalyptic text that is traditionally cannonized in the New Testament...

. Two other canvases, Entering Jerusalem and The Assumption of the Virgin, painted by Juan Correa
Juan Correa
Juan Correa was a Mexican painter of mixed Moorish or African, Indian and Spanish heritage. His years of greatest activity were from 1671 to 1716. He painted many religious-themed, Baroque paintings for cathedrals in Mexico. Correa was José de Ibarra's teacher...

, are also here. An additional painting, attributed to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

, hangs in the Sacristy.

On the north wall, there is a niche that holds a statue of the crucifix with a Christ image sculpted in ivory. Behind this, is another mural that depicts the Juan Diego's of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Sacristy used to house Juan Diego's cloak, upon which the Virgin's image purportedly appears, but after massive flooding in 1629, it was removed from the Sacristy to better protect it.

A cabinet on the west wall of the Sacristy, under the Virgin of the Apocalypse painting, once held golden chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

s and cups trimmed with precious stones, as well as other utensils.

In 1957, The wooden floor and platform around the perimeter of the Sacristy were replaced with stone.

Chapels

The cathedral's sixteen chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s were each assigned to a religious guild
Confraternity
A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic or Orthodox organization of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy...

, and each is dedicated to a saint. Each of the two side naves contain seven chapels. The other two were created later on the eastern and western sides of the cathedral. These last two are not open to the public. The fourteen chapels in the east and west naves are listed below. The first seven are in the east nave, listed from north to south, and the last seven are in the west nave.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Agonies of Granada

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Agonies of Granada was built in the first half of the 17th century, and originally served as the sacristy. It is a medieval-style chapel with a ribbed vault
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 and two relatively simple altarpieces. The narrow altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 contains an oval painting of Saint Raphael, Archangel and the young Tobias, a 16th century painting attributed to Flemish painter Martin de Vos. At the top of this altarpiece is a painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

, and above this is a painting of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

. At the back of the chapel is a churrigueresque painting of Our Lady of the Agonies of Granada.

Chapel of Saint Isidore

The Chapel of Saint Isidore
Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, , was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras....

  was originally built as an annex between 1624 and 1627, and was once used as the baptistery
Baptistery
In Christian architecture the baptistry or baptistery is the separate centrally-planned structure surrounding the baptismal font. The baptistry may be incorporated within the body of a church or cathedral and be provided with an altar as a chapel...

. Its vault contains plaster casts representing Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice, considered to be basic values in the Catholic religion. After the Tabernacle was built, it was converted into a chapel and its door was reworked in a churrigueresque style.

Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception was built between 1642 and 1648. It has a churrigueresque altarpiece which, due to the lack of columns, most likely dates from the 18th century. The altar is framed with molding—instead of columns—and a painting of the Immaculate Conception presides over it. The altar is surrounded by paintings by José de Ibarra
José de Ibarra
José de Ibarra was a Mexican painter. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and died 21 Nov 1756 in Mexico City. He was a student of painter Juan Correa. Many of his pieces are preserved in Mexican museums and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. He was one of the most prolific painters of...

 relating to the Passion of Christ and various saints. The chapel also contains a canvas of Saint Christopher
Saint Christopher
.Saint Christopher is a saint venerated by Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, listed as a martyr killed in the reign of the 3rd century Roman Emperor Decius or alternatively under the Roman Emperor Maximinus II Dacian...

 painted by Simon Pereyns in 1588, and the Flagellation
Flagellation
Flagellation or flogging is the act of methodically beating or whipping the human body. Specialised implements for it include rods, switches, the cat o' nine tails and the sjambok...

by Baltasar de Echave Orio, painted in 1618. The altarpiece on the right side is also dedicated to the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 and was donated by the College of Saints Peter and Paul
Nacional Monte de Piedad
The Nacional Monte de Piedad is a not-for-profit- institution and pawnshop whose main office is located just off the Zócalo, or main plaza of Mexico City. It was established between 1774 and 1777 by Pedro Romero de Terreros as part of a movement to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to...

. This chapel holds the remains of Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 friar Antonio Margil de Jesús
Antonio Margil
Antonio Margil was a Spanish Franciscan missionary in North and Central America.-Life:He entered the Franciscan Order in his native city of Valencia, Spain on 22 April 1673. After his ordination to the priesthood he volunteered for the Native American missions, and arrived at Vera Cruz on 6 June...

 who was evangelized in what is now the north of Mexico.

Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe was built in 1660. It was the first baptistery of the cathedral and for a long time was the site for the Brotherhood of the Most Holy Sacrament, which had many powerful benefactors. It is decorated in a 19th century neo-classic style by the architect Antonio Gonzalez Vazquez, director of the Academy of San Carlos. The main altarpiece is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and the sides altars are dedicated to John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 and San Luis Gonzaga respectively.

Chapel of Our Lady of Antigua

The Chapel of Our Lady of Antigua was sponsored and built between 1653 and 1660 by a brotherhood of musicians and organists, which promoted devotion to this Virgin. Its altarpiece contains a painting of the Virgin, a copy of one found in the Cathedral of Seville
Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See , better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville . It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world....

. This copy was brought to New Spain by a merchant. Two other paintings show the birth of the Virgin and her presentation. Both were painted by Nicolás Rodriguez Juárez.
Chapel of Saint Peter

The Chapel of Saint Peter was built between 1615 and 1620, and contains three highly decorated Baroque altarpieces from the 17th century. The altar at the back is dedicated to Saint Peter, whose sculpture presides over the altar. It is surrounded by early 17th century paintings relating to his life, painted by Baltasar de Echave Orio. To the right is an altarpiece dedicated to the Holy Family
Holy Family
The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph.The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family...

, with two paintings by Juan de Aguilera of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 called The Holy Family in the workshop of Saint Joseph and Birth of the Savior. The altarpiece to the left of the main altarpiece is dedicated to Saint Theresa of Jesus whose image also appears in the chapel's window. It includes four paintings on sheets of metal that depict scenes from the birth of Jesus. Five oil paintings illustrate scenes from the life of Saint Theresa, and above this is a semi-circular painting of the coronation of Mary. All these works were created in the 17th century by Baltasar de Echave y Rioja.

This chapel is home to the Niño Cautivo (Captive Child) a Child Jesus
Niño Dios of Mexico
The Niño Dios of Mexico is a tradition of venerating the Child Jesus in Mexico which has taken root from the time it was introduced in the 16th century and then syncretized with pre-Hispanic elements to form some unique traditions...

 figure that was brought to Mexico from Spain. It was sculpted in the 16th century by Juan Martinez Montañez in Spain and purchased by the cathedral. However, on its way to Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

, pirates attacked the ship it was on and sacked it. To get the image back, a large ransom was paid. Today, the image is in the Chapel of San Pedro or De las Reliquias. Traditionally, the image has been petitioned by those seeking release from restrictions or traps, especially financial problems or drug addiction or alcoholism. The cult to the Niño Cautivo is considered to be "inactive" by INAH. However, this particular image has made a comeback since 2000 as one to petition when a family member is abducted and held for ransom.

Chapel of Christ and of the Reliquaries

The Chapel of Christ and of the Reliquaries was built in 1615 and designed with ultra-Baroque details which are often difficult to see in the poorly-lit interior. It was originally known as the Christ of the Conquistadors. That name came from an image of Christ that was supposedly donated to the cathedral by Emperor Charles V. Over time, so many reliquaries
Reliquary
A reliquary is a container for relics. These may be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures...

 were left on its main altar that its name was eventually changed. Of 17th century ornamentation, the main altarpiece alternates between carvings of rich foliage and small heads on its columns in the main portion and small sculptures of angels on its telamon
Telamon
In Greek mythology, Telamon , son of the king Aeacus, of Aegina, and Endeis and brother of Peleus, accompanied Jason as one of his Argonauts, and was present at the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In the Iliad he was the father of Greek heroes Ajax the Great and Teucer the Archer by different...

s in the secondary portion. Its niches hold sculptures of saints framing the main body. Its crucifix is from the 17th century. The predella
Predella
A predella is the platform or step on which an altar stands . In painting, the predella is the painting or sculpture along the frame at the bottom of an altarpiece...

 is finished with sculptures of angels, and also contains small 17th paintings of martyred saints by Juan de Herrera. Behind these paintings, hidden compartments contain some of the numerous reliquaries left here. Its main painting was done by Jose de Ibarra and dated 1737. Surrounding the altar is a series of paintings on canvas, depicting the Passion of Christ by Jose Villegas, painted in the 17th century. On the right-hand wall, an altar dedicated to the Virgin of the Confidence is decorated with numerous churrigueresque figurines tucked away in niches, columns and top pieces.

Chapel of the Holy Angels and Archangels

The Chapel of the Holy Angels and Archangels was finished in 1665 with Baroque altarpieces decorated with Solomonic column
Solomonic column
The Solomonic column, also called Barley-sugar column, is a helical column, characterized by a spiraling twisting shaft like a corkscrew...

s. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, who is depicted as a medieval knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

. It contains a large main altarpiece with two smaller altarpieces both decorated by Juan Correa. The main altarpiece is dedicated to the seven archangels, who are represented by sculptures, in niches surrounding images of Saint Joseph, Mary and Christ. Above this scene are the Holy Spirit and God the Father
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

. The left-hand altarpiece is of similar design and is dedicated to the Guardian Angel, whose sculpture is surrounded with pictures arranged to show the angelic hierarchy. To the left of this, a scene shows Saint Peter being released from prison, and to the right, Saul, later Saint Paul, being knocked from his horse, painted by Juan Correa in 1714. The right-hand altarpiece is dedicated to the Guardian Angel of Mexico.

Chapel of Saints Cosme and Damian

The Chapel of Saints Cosme and Damian was built because these two saints were commonly invoked during a time when New Spain suffered from the many diseases brought by the Conquistadors. The main altarpiece is Baroque, probably built in the 17th century. Oil paintings on wood contain scenes from physician saints, and are attributed to painter Sebastian Lopez Davalos, during the second half of the 17th century. The chapel contains one small altarpiece which came from the Franciscan church in Zinacantepec, to the west of Mexico City, and is dedicated to the birth of Jesus.

Chapel of Saint Joseph

The Chapel of Saint Joseph , built between 1653 and 1660, contains an image of Our Lord of Cacao, an image of Christ most likely from the 16th century. Its name was inspired from a time when many indigenous worshipers would give their alms
Alms
Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

 in the form of cocoa beans. Churrigueresque in style and containing an graffito statue of Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

, patron saint of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

, the main altarpiece is Baroque and is from the 18th century. This once belonged to the Church of Our Lady of Monserrat. This altar contains statues and cubicles containing busts of the Apostles, but contains no paintings.

Chapel of Our Lady of Solitude

The Chapel of Our Lady of Solitude was originally built in honor of the workers who built the cathedral. It contains three Baroque altarpieces. The main altarpiece is supported by caryatid
Caryatid
A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese...

s and small angels as telamon
Telamon
In Greek mythology, Telamon , son of the king Aeacus, of Aegina, and Endeis and brother of Peleus, accompanied Jason as one of his Argonauts, and was present at the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In the Iliad he was the father of Greek heroes Ajax the Great and Teucer the Archer by different...

s, to uphold the base of the main body. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Solitude of Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

, whose image appears in the center. The surrounding 16th century paintings are by Pedro Ramírez, and depict scenes from the life of Christ.

Chapel of Saint Eligius

The Chapel of Saint Eligius , also known as the Chapel of the Lord of Safe Expeditions , was built by the first silversmith
Silversmith
A silversmith is a craftsperson who makes objects from silver or gold. The terms 'silversmith' and 'goldsmith' are not synonyms as the techniques, training, history, and guilds are or were largely the same but the end product varies greatly as does the scale of objects created.Silversmithing is the...

 guild, who donated the images of the Conception and Saint Eligius
Saint Eligius
Saint Eligius is the patron saint of goldsmiths, other metalworkers, and coin collectors. He is also the patron saint of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers , a corps of the British Army, but he is best known for being the patron saint of horses and those who work with them...

 to whom the chapel was formerly dedicated. The chapel was redecorated in the 19th century, and the image of Our Lord of Good Sending was placed here, named thus, since many supplicants reported having their prayers answered quickly. The image is thought to be from the 16th century and sent as a gift from Charles V of Spain
Infante Carlos, Count of Molina
The Infante Carlos of Spain was the second surviving son of King Charles IV of Spain and of his wife, Maria Luisa of Parma. As Carlos V he was the first of the Carlist claimants to the throne of Spain...

.

Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows , formerly known as the Chapel of the Lord's Supper , was built in 1615. It was originally dedicated to the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 since a painting of this event was once kept here. It was later remodeled in a Neo-classical style, with three altarpieces added by Antonio Gonzalez Velazquez. The main altarpiece contains an image of the Virgin of Sorrows sculpted in wood and painted by Francisco Terrazas, at the request of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

. On the left-hand wall a ladder leads to a series of crypts which hold most of the remains of past archbishops of Mexico. The largest and grandest of these crypts contains the remains of Juan de Zumarraga, the first archbishop of Mexico.

Chapel of Saint Philip of Jesus

The Chapel of Saint Philip of Jesus was completed during one of the earliest stages of the construction of the cathedral. It is dedicated to Philip of Jesus
Philip of Jesus
Saint Philip of Jesus was a Mexican Catholic missionary who became one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan, the first Mexican saint and patron saint of Mexico City....

, a friar
Friar
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

 and the only martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 from New Spain, who was crucified in Japan. The chapel is topped with a Gothic-style dome and has a Baroque altarpiece from the 17th century. A statue of the saint is located in a large niche in the altarpiece. The altar to the left is dedicated to Saint Rose of Lima
Rose of Lima
Rose of Lima, , the first Catholic saint of the Americas, was born in Lima, Peru.-Biography:Saint Rose of Lima was born in the city of that name, the daughter of Gaspar Flores, a harquebusier from San German, Puerto Rico, and his wife, Maria de Oliva, who was a native of Lima. She was part of a...

, considered a protector of Mexico City. To the right is an urn which holds the remains of Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

, who briefly ruled Mexico in the 19th century. Next to this chapel is a baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

, in which it is believed Philip of Jesus was baptised.

Organs

The cathedral originally had one organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

, made in Spain by Jorge de Sesma and installed by Tiburcio Sans in 1693. It now has two, which were probably made in Mexico by José Nassarre of Spain, and completed by 1736, incorporating elements of the original 17th century organ. They are the largest 18th century organs in the Americas; they are situated above the walls of the choir, on the epistle side (east) and the gospel side (west). Both organs, damaged by fire in 1967, were restored in 1978. The gospel organ has been undergoing further renovation and is scheduled to play again in 2009.

Choir

The choir is where the priest and/or a choral group sings the psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

. It is located in the central nave between the main door and the high altar, and built in a semicircular fashion, much like Spanish cathedrals. It was built by Juan de Rojas between 1696 and 1697. Its sides contain 59 reliefs of various saints done in mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

, walnut
Walnut
Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

, cedar
Cedar wood
Cedar wood comes from several different trees that grow in different parts of the world, and may have different uses.* California incense-cedar, from Calocedrus decurrens, is the primary type of wood used for making pencils...

 and a native wood called tepehuaje. The railing that surrounds the choir was made in 1722 by Sangley Queaulo in Macao
Mação
Mação is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 400.0 km² and a total population of 7,763 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of eight parishes, and is located in the Santarém District....

, China and placed in the cathedral in 1730.

Crypt

The Crypt of the Archbishops is located underneath the floor of the cathedral beneath the Altar of the Kings. The entrance of the crypt from the cathedral is guarded by a large wooden door behind which descends a winding yellow staircase. Just past the inner entrance is a Mexica
Mexica
The Mexica were a pre-Columbian people of central Mexico.Mexica may also refer to:*Mexica , a board game designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling*Mexica , a 2005 novel by Norman Spinrad...

-style stone skull. It was incorporated as an offering into the base of a cenotaph
Cenotaph
A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάφιον = kenotaphion...

 to Juan de Zumárraga
Juan de Zumárraga
Juan de Zumárraga was a Spanish Basque Franciscan prelate and first bishop of Mexico.-Origins and arrival in New Spain:...

, the first archbishop of Mexico. Zumárraga was considered to be a benefactor of the Indians, protecting them against the abuses of their Spanish overlords. There is also a natural-sized sculpture of the archbishop atop the cenotaph.

On its walls are dozens of bronze plaques that indicate the locations of the remains of most of Mexico City's former archbishops, including Cardinal Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada. The floor is covered with small marble slabs covering niches containing the remains of other people..

There are other crypts and niches in the cathedral where other religious personages are buried, including in the chapels.

Restoration

The sinking ground and seismic activity of the area have had an effect on the cathedral's construction and current appearance. Forty-two years were required simply to lay its foundation when it was first built, because even then the Spaniards recognized the danger of constructing such a huge monument in soft soil. However, for political reasons, much, but not all, of the cathedral was built over the remains of pre-Hispanic structures, leading to uneven foundation from the beginning.

Fire of 1962

On 17 January 1962 at 9 pm, a fire caused by an electrical short circuit
Short circuit
A short circuit in an electrical circuit that allows a current to travel along an unintended path, often where essentially no electrical impedance is encountered....

 caused extensive damage to the cathedral. On the Altar of Forgiveness, much of the structure and decoration were damaged including the loss of three paintings; The Holy Face by Alonso López de Herrera, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Francisco de Zumaya and The Virgin of Forgiveness by Simon Pereyns
Simon Pereyns
Simon Pereyns was a Flemish painter. He moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1558 and later to Madrid, Spain. In 1566, he moved to Mexico where he gained fame as a painter of numerous works, most of which have not survived...

. The choir section lost 75 of its 99 seats as well a painting by Juan Correa along with many stored books. The two cathedral organs were severely damaged with the partial melting of their pipes. Paintings by Rafael Jimeno y Planas, Juan Correa and Juan Rodriguez Juarez were damaged in other parts of the cathedral. After the fire, authorities recorded the damage but did nothing to try to restore what was damaged. Heated discussions ensued among historians, architects and investigations centering on the moving of the Altar of Forgiveness, as well as eliminating the choir area and some of the railings. In 1972, ecclesiastical authorities initiated demolition of the choir area without authorization from the Federal government, but were stopped. The government inventoried what could be saved and named Jaime Ortiz Lajous as director of the project to restore the cathedral to its original condition. Restoration work focused not only on repairing the damage (using archived records and photographs), but also included work on a deteriorating foundation (due to uneven sinking into the ground) and problems with the towers.

The Altars of Forgiveness and of the Kings were subject to extensive cleaning and restorative work. To replace what was lost on the Altar of Forgiveness, several paintings were added; Escape from Egypt by Pereyns, The Divine Countenance and The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. The organs were disassembled with the pipes and inner workings sent to Holland for repair, and the casings were worked upon by Mexican craftsmen. They were reassembled in 1977. Reconstruction of the choir area began in 1979 using the same materials as existed before the fire. In addition, any statues in the towers that had received more than 50% damage from city pollution were taken out, with replicas created to replace them. Those with less damage were repaired.

Some interesting discoveries were made as restoration work occurred during the 1970s and early 1980s. 51 paintings were found and rescued from behind the Altar of Forgiveness, including works by Juan and Nicolas Rodriguez Juarez, Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera
José Miguel Cabrera Torres nicknamed "Miggy", is a Venezuelan professional baseball first baseman with the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. He bats and throws right-handed....

 and José de Ibarra
José de Ibarra
José de Ibarra was a Mexican painter. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and died 21 Nov 1756 in Mexico City. He was a student of painter Juan Correa. Many of his pieces are preserved in Mexican museums and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. He was one of the most prolific painters of...

. Inside one of the organs, a copy of the nomination of Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 as Governor General of New Spain (1529) was found. Lastly, in the wall of the central arch of the cathedral was found the burial place of Miguel Barrigan, the first governor of Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

.

Late 20th century work

The cathedral, along with the rest of the city, has been sinking into the lakebed from the day it was built. However, the fact that the city is a megalopolis
Megalopolis (city type)
A megalopolis is typically defined as a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas. The term was used by Oswald Spengler in his 1918 book, The Decline of the West, and Lewis Mumford in his 1938 book, The Culture of Cities, which described it as the first stage in urban overdevelopment and...

 with over 18 million people drawing water from underground sources has caused water tables to drop, and the sinking to accelerate during the latter half of the 20th century. Sections of the complex such as the cathedral and the tabernacle were still sinking at different rates, and the bell towers were tilting dangerously in spite of work done in the 1970s. For this reason the cathedral was included in the 1998 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

.

Major restoration and foundation work began in the 1990s to stabilize the building. Engineers excavated under the cathedral between 1993 and 1998. They dug shafts under the cathedral and placed shafts of concrete into the soft ground to give the edifice a more solid base to rest on. These efforts have not stopped the sinking of the complex, but they have corrected the tilting towers and ensured that the cathedral will sink uniformly.

Cultural importance

The cathedral has been a focus of Mexican cultural identity, and is a testament to its colonial history. Researcher Manuel Rivera Cambas reported that the cathedral was built on the site sacred precinct of the Aztecs and with the very stones of their temples so that the Spaniards could lay claim to the land and the people. Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 supposedly laid the first stone of the original church personally.

It once was an important religious center, exclusive for the prominent families of New Spain. In 1864, during the Second Mexican Empire
Second Mexican Empire
The Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under the regime established from 1864 to 1867. It was created by Napoleon III of France, who attempted to use the Mexican adventure to recapture some of the grandeur of earlier Napoleonic times...

, Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and Empress Charlotte of Belgium
Charlotte of Belgium
Charlotte of Belgium is remembered today as Carlota of Mexico as empress consort of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, ex-Archduke of Austria.-Princess of Belgium:The only daughter of Leopold I, King of the Belgians by his second wife,...

 (later known as Maximiliano and Carlota of Mexico) were crowned at the cathedral, at their magnificent arrival to the head city of their reign.

Located on the Zocalo it has, over time, been the focus of social and cultural activities, most of which have occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. The cathedral was closed for four years while President Plutarco Elias Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles was a Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the maximato...

 attempted to enforce Mexico's anti-religious laws. Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

 closed the church, ordering priests to cease their public religious duties in all Mexican churches. After the Mexican government and the papacy came to terms and major renovations were performed on the cathedral, it was reopened in 1930.

The cathedral has been the scene of several protests both from the church and to the church, including a protest by women over the Church's exhortation for women not to wear mini-skirts and other provocative clothing to avoid rape, and a candlelight vigil to protest against kidnappings in Mexico. The cathedral itself has been used to protest against social issues. Its bells were rung to express the archdiocese's
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico is a metropolitan diocese, responsible for the suffragan Dioceses of Atlacomulco, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Tenancingo. It was elevated on February 12, 1546....

 opposition to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation is the highest federal court in the United Mexican States. It consists of a President of the Supreme Court and ten Ministers who are confirmed by the Senate from a list proposed by the President of the Republic.Justices of the SCJN serve for fifteen...

 upholding of Mexico City's legalization of abortion
Abortion in Mexico
Abortion is a controversial issue in Mexico, where it is offered on request to any woman up to twelve weeks into a pregnancy in Mexico City, but forbidden in 18 out of 31 Mexican state constitutions...

.

Probably the most serious recent event occurred on 18 November 2007, when sympathizers of the Party of the Democratic Revolution
Party of the Democratic Revolution
The Party of the Democratic Revolution is a democratic socialist party in Mexico and one of 2 Mexican affiliates of the Socialist International...

 attacked the cathedral. About 150 protesters stormed into Sunday Mass chanting slogans and knocking over pew
Pew
A pew is a long bench seat or enclosed box used for seating members of a congregation or choir in a church, or sometimes in a courtroom.-Overview:Churches were not commonly furnished with permanent pews before the Protestant Reformation...

s. This caused church officials to close and lock the cathedral for a number of days. The cathedral was reopened with new security measures, such as bag searches, in place.

External links

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