San Fernando Cathedral

San Antonio, Texas


Front View, Main Plaza

San Fernando Cathedral is and has always been the center of San Antonio. The church was founded on March 9, 1731, by 15 families from the Canary Islands. They were sent by invitation of King Phillip V of Spain to provide Spanich citizens to settle Texas and keep it from becoming French.

The Battle of the Alamo in 1836 began after Mexican General Santa Ana raised the flag of "no quarter" from the tower of the church.

In the back of the cathedral there is a marble coffin holding what many believe to be the remains of the defenders of the Alamo.

The Main Plaza in front of the Cathedral is a pedestrian mall with fountains, seating, and from which you can access the Riverwalk.

The Retalbo of the Main Altar

The church was completed in 1749 and the original walls still stand today forming what is now the sanctuary (the area around and behind the altar). These walls are the oldest still standing original structure in the State of Texas.

The Retalbo on the altar is pictured to the right. It is centered by Christ on the cross surrounded by figures of the Prophets Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The golden art piece was created by a group of 10 artists in Mexico.

San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest active cathedral in the United States and has already celebrated 275 years of service.

The dome of the original church was the geographic center of the city. An inlaid plus in front of the altar marks the starting point for measuring all surveying in San Antonio.

Today the Cathedral remains a center of life for the Catholic population of San Antonio.

San Fernando
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