The Jesuits came to Utrera and founded a convent with a school. The Rodrigo Caro School stands now on that site. All that remains is this church, known as St Francis the New, the sacristy and the meeting room.
In 1767, following the expulsion of the Jesuits ordered by King Carlos III, the building was abandoned for 30 years. The Franciscans in Utrera obtained the permission to move to this building from their old convent in ruins on the outskirts of the town. The interior of the church is a blend of elements characteristic of both religious orders.
The main portal stands at the west end of the temple, in what was Compañía Street, now Clemente de la Cuadra. The church is clearly Baroque, with King Carlos IV’s royal coat-of-arms emblazoned on the façade. The Crown inherited all Jesuit properties after they were expelled from Spain. The side entrance, on the Altozano, is unadorned. It was opened when the Franciscans moved to the church. The temple has two naves, a Tabernacle chapel and a main chapel. The former is currently closed for worship.
The altarpiece in the main chapel reflects baroque theatricality. It was designed as a curtain fastened to a royal crown held by several cherubs. The small chapel over the altar holds the image of Our Lady of Sorrows, one of the main devotions in Utrera. This theatrical effect is enhanced by the dome with the Apotheosis of the Society of Jesus, a mid-18th century work attributed to Juan Espinal from Seville, commissioned by the Jesuits. Today, the St Francis the New Church is the seat of the Confraternity of the True Cross and Holy Burial.
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