The "Great Cross": a controversial
issue about Santa Maria del Mar
Margareth Thatcher, a special
guest in Santa María del Mar
Historical documents of Santa
Maria del Mar
Opening Party Proclamation - Festa
Major del Barri de la Ribera, 2008
Capilla del Santísimo
and the new business orientation
comments by Dr. Francisco Tort Mitjans in light of his forced
Francesc Tort comments a controversial
issue about Santa Maria del Mar:
At my initiative, with the support of outstanding
parishioners, it was arranged that Santa Maria del Mar kept
in a stained glass the perennial memory of the Olympic Games.
The design was offered to the outstanding artist Jose Fernandez
Castillo. The district and the Pastoral Council, with the
collaboration of Mr. Basagoda, decided that the chapel with
the new stained glass had to be related to the origins of
Santa Maria del Mar: Santa Eulalia ... Although the stained
glass is now one of the most photographed, when I ceased to
act as parish priest it was forgotten ... Since then, a business
oriented vision of the church began: a 80% reduction of worship,
the creation of the "Concerts a Barcelona"... They
even destroyed the Sacristy in benefit of the "services"
of the concert hall ... Now they are talking about placing
there the base of the projected elevator in order to facilitate
the visitors' climb to the rooftops of the Basilica. To this
end: Great waste of money to construct walkways illuminated
at night. They even replaced the perfect interior lighting
of the Basilica, now with thousands of lights, in order to
illuminate the "Great Cross" ... All the illumination
thanks to the generous donation of the "Endesa Foundation",
requested by a friend of the electricians ...
The Chapel of the Santísimo of 1842, which I completely
restored, now is almost without cult and it’s in danger
...... The circus and waste continues with the "Great
Cross Of Santa Maria del Mar "...: Reinforce the key
back where it hangs. Before the last sleight of hand session:
Several expensive tests were done with crosses of different
materials... Until the last, apparently of bronze, inaugurated,
on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017. A pamphlet published for this
purpose shows the will to trick with all this circus: In Santa
Maria del Mar THERE WAS NEVER SUCH A CROSS. The text adduced
on the Cross could be on any cross, even more for a cross
of the poor and the faithful and not so much for the aforementioned
Cross, built and located at great expense and deceit ... Dr.
Francesc Tort Mitjans.
Here you can see the aforementioned pamphlet about the "Great
During the Middle Ages, Santa Maria del Mar was built during
the fourteenth century, the importance of the crucifix in
Christian churches was seen in a large cross in the dome of
the absis. Towards this great cross all people were guided.
As witnesses to this we have the Milan Duomo and many Gothic
churches in Europe. The meaning of the Cross can be seen in
Let us contemplate the figure of the precious and vivifying
Council II of Nicea, year 787
The victorious Cross of Christ is in the center of the
Pope Leo III, year 816
Under the arch of the dome of the main chapel is placed
a cross of noble material.
Cardinal Carles Borromeo, Milan
May the Cross be of gold, silver, or golden bronze.
Ceremonial of the bishops in force from 1600 to 1983
In the Gospel the Cross of Christ shines gloriously.
This new great bronze cross presides over the Basilica of
Santa Maria del Mar and links with the beautiful Gothic Virgin
of the sixteenth century placed at the top of the prestige,
remembering that "When Christ died on the Cross gave
us Mary as a mother"
Thatcher, a special guest in Santa María del Mar
(click here to see the full information
A few days before Christmas, Scotland Yard asked us to
speak with the priest of Santa Maria del Mar about the attendance
of Mrs. Margareth Thatcher to the temple, 24th of December,
1994. We were told that the people who organized the visit
to Barcelona asked for the temple in which the Midnight
Mass was preetier and they were told that this one was Santa
Maria del Mar. Then they prepared the visit for Mrs. Thatcher,
her husband and their entourage. I was asked which site
would be assigned because they wanted to prepare their security.
They suggested that the best place would be the presbytery
and the proposal was acceded. Then the presbytery was the
place where the Chapel of Music, the Escolania and the Escola
Cantorum acted, and so it was not difficult to accede to
the proposal. The priest informed Scotland Yard that he
would appoint a lady who could inform and translate the
celebration to Mrs. Thatcher, and this lady was Ms. Urchi
Ms. Thatcher enjoyed the translation at the time of the
homily and the whole mass. After the picture in which the
rector of Santa Maria del Mar, Francesc Tort Mitjans, preaches
the homily we translate it.
The number of people attending Mass, as it has been since
1986, was arround two thousand.
The news of Mrs. Thatcher's planned visit was not known
in advance either at the city level or at the parish level,
as it was agreed with the police. It must be said that,
as seen in the last picture with Jesus Child, many glances,
especially at the end of the Mass, were addressed to the
former Prime Minister of England, who was at especially
attentive and affectionate and spoke kind words to all the
people who went to greet her.
Mrs. Thatcher finally signed with her husband in the book
of illustrious visitors.
Other historical documents
of Santa Maria del Mar
A great fire burnt Santa Maria del Mar back in 1936. At
the same time, a bonfire was done in order to destroy the
books of the temple: the books of baptisms, marriages, deaths,
different files from the church... The huge amount of books
that were thrown to the fire was the reason why some of
them were not totally burnt. Some of them remained with
a few marks and the people could save them. Time passed
by and those saved books ended up in antiquarian and book
shops. I discovered them in those places and bought those
post on the blog shows some of them.
Opening Party Proclamation
- Festa Major del Barri de la Ribera, 2008
What a joy I found among those who live here since I was
appointed rector of Santa María del Mar! Among you,
I have spent the best moments of my life and also the saddest
ones, such as the death of my mother and my sister María
Antonia, who attended this dinner happily last year, 2007.
My stay with you wanted to be at the service of everyone,
and I enjoy when we meet often in the streets of our neighborhood.
Thank you also to the three thousand of you who signed up
asking me to continue as the rector of Santa María
del Mar. Thanks, especially today, to the people who organize
the Celebration of the neighborhood, that offered me to
take part in this 2008 and to pronounce the opening.
How good you live when you find that support! I have to
remember the good relationship maintained with the councilors
of Ciutat Vella: Mr. Cernuda, Dr. Clos, Dr. Casas, Mr. Duarte
Fusté, Ms. Cati Carreras, Mr. Carles Martí
and the current councilor, Mrs. Etziar Gonzalez. Also with
the mayor of Barcelona: Mr. Pascual Maragall, with Dr. Joan
Clos and the clairvoyant and dialogant Mr. Jordi Hereu,
who is represented by Mr. Carles Martí, the First
Lieutenant of the Mayor, whose depth of thought is valued.
We note the good tune and permanent collaboration with the
Platform of Entities of the Bank chaired by Mr. Emili Cota,
a man from the neighborhood who has won name and prestige
for his long history and dedication. I also remember the
constant good treatment with the members of the Party Commission,
which was presided by himself, is made up of such outstanding
names as Mr. Francesc Mingo.
The relationship with all these political and social characters
was not a simple protocol. Many of them were part of the
Patronage of Santa María del Mar that led to the
restoration of the temple, Dr. Clos, among others. Some
of them were also active members of the Pastoral Council
of Santa María del Mar, such as Mr. Cota and the
president of the Association of Neighbors...
In this context all things were done both religiously and
socially. For example, the games room for young people,
boys and girls, with billiards, table football, table tennis,
library, television ... The School of Music and Escolanía
de Santa María del Mar formed by girls and boys of
the neighborhood with different teachers of piano, violin...
The director of the Bank still reminds me how many of the
savings books opened by the parish for schoolchildren still
remain. The same Mr. Cota along with Mr. Josep Caparros
presented to the Escolanía 10 violins.
The Escolania of Santa Maria del Mar was the joy of the
parish and the neighborhood. His level was so high that
they were even hired several times to sing at the Sant Jordi
Mass in the Generalitat, offering a well applauded concert.
They also performed many times at weddings. The Escolania
with its School of Music was a social work of first order
and a very valuable element for the parochial celebrations.
It was them, with the Music Chapel, the protagonists of
the songs. No one else could fit in the chancel.
In the musical side I can not forget the already mentioned
prestigious Chapel of Music of Santa Maria del Mar formed
and directed by Mr. Enric Gispert, Master of Chapel with
appointment of the same Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona
Dr. Narcís Jubany, who loved so much Santa Maria
del Mar, even when retired. All these facts show that religious
celebrations before the tourist boom had the temple full
of people. Not just Christmas, with the singing of the Sibyl.
Also on August 15, the patron saint of the Basilica, with
the Little Altarpiece. There was no obstacle in the carpet,
which was only put on weddings and was later removed. Santa
María del Mar is more welcoming when there are the
less obstacles to enjoy the clean stone, also with banks
reduced to the minimum necessary for ordinary celebrations.
We quoted before the Patronage. Thanks to its efforts with
Banco Hispano America and the Generalitat, a comprehensive
agreement for the complete restoration of the whole temple,
the five planks, facades and stained glass windows is signed.
In this field, we can not fail to remember the stained glass
window of the Barcelona 92 Olympic Games, the work of the
renowned artist Mr. Josep Fernández Castrillo, made
by the Foundation Center of the Glass of Barcelona, directed
by Ms. Pilar Muñoz. A fact of this size and cost
needed more than the simple idea. Thanks to Mr. Emili Cota,
the City Council and others it could be carried out. Said
stained glass is the most photographed and admired by the
tourists who visit the temple.
The final plan conceived for the Barrio was that the chapel
where the stained glass was placed should be dedicated to
Barcelona. It was planned to place in it a replica of the
tomb of Santa Eulalia, whose original one is in the Archaeological
Museum of Monjuic. The image of Santa Eulalia, work of the
sculptor Mares, and an explanatory panel of the stained
glass with the name of the author, the explanations of his
own work, the names it contains...
This were planned to unite the neighborhood and parish,
both the promoters of this important event, as well as all
the religious and civil entities of the District and the
City. This was not a bold idea, I promoted it myself and
formed the brotherhoods of Bacalao, and of the Virgin of
Without communion with neighbors, a parish is not viable
as a religious or social center. Every rector arrives at
a place that existed before him and will continue after
him. It has to be put at the service of both past history
and present reality, shunning personal protagonism. A single
stone does not make Santa Maria del Mar but the sum of thousands
The history of Santa Maria del Mar, written by me and funded
by the Uriach Foundation reminds it to us.
Many people from the neighborhood wanted to be in the various
activities of the parish, informing and collaborating. It
is thanks to this implication that we learned from the will
of Sta. Rosita Nonell, who left her flat of 200 square meters,
plus the lows of 200 square meters, located in Canvis Nous
street 1, making corner with the Santa Maria square, for
the Residence of the Elderly in the Neighborhood. When he
died we were not told of this, until several ladies came
to me, including Mrs. Maria Victoria Franco, informing me.
I asked them to put this in writing. The letters were presented
to the heirs, finally the public deed of donation of the
floor and a warehouse of Canvis Vells street.
There are many other important facts in the same context.
The magnificent organ, coming from Vic, which in agreement
signed by me and Mr. Enric Gispert, is a magnificent reality.
If you read the text of the agreement you will see how this
organ is used for both the church and the neighborhood.
The old mechanical clock did not cease to break down, and
when Mrs. Maria Güell died, Mr. Emili Cota and Josep
Caparros, in memory of her, financed the electronic clock,
adapting the transmissions to the bells. The mayor himself,
Mr. Pascual Maragall, presided over the blessing of the
new clock with company of many parishioners.
The five bells with new engines had already been restored
and electrified. The bells help the joy of all. The touches
and sounds of the bell towers must be agreed, it is necessary
that they help the coexistence.
This celebration of the district also maintains a strong
relationship with Santa María del Mar. On Sunday,
members of the Party Board, in full, presided over the mass
of 1pm, from the top of the presbytery. They had prepared
the list of all the inhabitants of the district who had
died during the year, and one by one were named, many of
their relatives were present. The Escolania and the Chapel
of Music acted. At the end of the ceremony the members of
the Board entered the sacristy, then always open to all,
and we had the pleasure of speaking with great familiarity.
Some pictures of the act, made by Paco Muñoz, can
be seen on my website: santamariadelmartort.es.
Finally, I have to say that I will have everyone in my heart,
also Santa Maria del Mar.
Mn. Francesc Tort Mitjans
Capilla del Santísimo
- click here for more
information 1, 2
(full post on the blog)
Chapel of the "Santísimo". Built up in
1843. Restored in 1987. During the Francesc Tort years at
the church there was a daily mass there at 9:30am and another
one at 7:30pm, with arround 100 persons attending. Now is
being destroyed without telling anyone.
In order to adapt the National Palace of Montjuic to the
Olympic Games I was invited to the Palace and they told
me that I, as the Priest of Santa Maria del Mar, had to
decide what to do with the things that Santa Maria del Mar
delivered to the Palace.
The basement of the Palace, in order to secure the structure,
had to be cleaned up. There were a lot of thing from Santa
Maria del Mar. They were saved there when we did the reforms
of the altar...
Among the arquitectural pieces from Santa Maria del Mar
that were saved there, there were two thrones. I reformed
a warehouse located in Montcada square and the those thrones
and the rest of the pieces were saved there.
And they all were still saved there when I left Santa Maria
del Mar in 1998.
Later, I was told that the next priest, Mr. Taulé,
secretly took the thrones. They disappeared and nobody was
informed. When I visited the Palace they offered me some
other valuous pieces.
Some of them were relocated inside the Capilla del Santísimo
and there were still there until 2017. Now the Capilla del
Santísimo is closed, and the pieces are gone.
The Sacristy and the Chapel of the "Santísimo",
two of the most important treasures of Santa Maria del Mar,
have been destroyed in order to restore an old window. In
the same process, they are going to fit a new lift for the
The new bussiness orientation of the church has condemned
parts of the Chapel.
The Chapel, years ago.
The Chapel, nowadays
More pictures and information on
And more about the new business orientation. Without mass,
tourist visits without taxes, "donating" 8 euros.
Personal comments by Dr. Francisco Tort Mitjans
in light of his forced retirement. Click
here to read