In the center of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic district), the heart of Barcelona, is the city’s Gothic cathedral, known as La Seu. The first stone of the current church was laid in the 13th century, but it would last until the early 20th century before the cathedral was fully completed.
The church was named after Barcelona’s patron saint Eulalia; its official name – Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia – is Catalan for Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. The commonly used name La Seu refers to the status of the church as the seat of the diocese.
The word Cathedral is a synonym of See. Cathedral derives from the word cathedra (seat) and is, in effect, the residence of the dioceses’ Bishop. The place from which he teaches and explains Christian doctrine to the faithful.
Construction of the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona commenced on 1 May 1298, on the site of a Romanesque temple. The work was carried out in three stages over 150 years. As is true for many religious buildings, construction had to move at a slow pace. The main façade was raised at the end of the 19th century, while the 90-meter high cimborio went up in 1913. In 1969 the blackened domes were cleaned, the altar adapted, illumination installed and the archives were renovated. These actions were carried out following the guidelines established in Vatican Council II. The façade and cimborio were restored between 2004 and May of 2012; that work has not yet been completed and includes restoration of the rooftops and the bell tower.
This beautiful Cathedral receives three million visitors each year. The magnificence of its Gothic art, the splendid Gothic and Baroque altarpieces, its marvelous choir, the baptistery and the sepulcher of Saint Eulalia are evident to all observers.
Naturally, our See, located in Barcelona’s Gothic neighborhood, offers all the fundamental religious services. There are daily Masses, well-attended confessions, baptisms of children and adults. We also provide shelter and vigil services, aimed at maintaining order and attending to those people who require special attention. Of particular interest is the conventual Mass held every Sunday, with the intervention of the famous Francesc Valls chamber choir.
The See of Barcelona is both beautiful and well-cared for. The Canons – the priests responsible for its upkeep – ensure that worship services are appropriately maintained and that faithful and visitors alike feel at home. Indeed, the Cathedral is the house of Our Lord and also that of all human beings.