History of San Juan of the Hospital

The historical site of San Juan del Hospital houses inside the oldest church in Valencia after the Reconquista. The hospital complex -work Factory XIII century (1238)- Hospital was erected by desire of Jaime I in the city of Valencia, reconquered by él mismo. The king wanted to commend the religious-military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, later Order of Malta, in gratitude for services rendered in the reconquest.

Sets hospital scarce in Europe, They are generally located in urban areas buildable years, sometimes centuries. So that its original layout and medieval appearance has been transformed and masked, if not destroyed. But it has not happened in this hospital complex by several factors:

Nave central S. John H. stocking

  • Its situation inside the block between the streets of Trinquete de Caballeros, Miracle, Saint Kitts and Sea, They have preserved up to a certain point- its primitive constructions and buildings and courtyards attached to the church.
  • The concern of the Order of Malta for the preservation of the complex, despite its state of disrepair, which resulted in the declaration of the monument as “Historical and artistic” in 1943.
  • The -from desvelo 1967- of the Prelature of Opus Dei for the recovery of the church first, and the entire premises in successive years, to perform an authoritative restore as possible with the history and aesthetics of the order sanjuanista. This has allowed its revaluation, as well as the overview and background investigation of the entire complex, which will result in a recovery consistent with the history and culture better and more complete disclosure.
  • The release of overlapping structures worthless, They are hiding architectural and archaeological remains, falsifying spatial vision and the style of the set “Gothic conquest”.

Here you can find the latest VIDEO about San Juan de el Hospital.



The 13th century was the time of transition between Romanesque and Gothic, between the Islamic and the Christian in Valencia. The Temple of San Juan preserves traces and reminiscences of those transformations. We can see the Romanesque style in its side doors, formed by a semicircular arch and tympanum with bounded by smooth voussoirs. The original coat of arms of the order of St. John of Jerusalem stood in the alfiz, with plain wooden cross, that allowed the researchers to fecharan the construction of this temple. They are typical of the Romanesque, Likewise, the sturdy buttresses which fastened the walls and to absorb the burden of the vault, the few bays and openings in walls, limited to narrow arrow slits, and the low height of the ship.

Arab influences

It has marked Arab influences on the rectangular, uninave, own Mudéjar, with aligned and solidly falcado brick plementeria, as it was the custom of the Almohad and Mozarabic workforce, It used to cover the presbytery and the hatched first roof. They include the high marble columns of the main arch with ringed fuste and caliphal capital of the 10th century.

P1000121Incipient Gothic

Gothic enlargement took place before 1316. The incipient Gothic shows us: in the pointed barrel vault, with sections delimited by transverse arches, supported on Corbels; low ogival arches of the three side chapels on the South side and the north side first; in the torn and alabastrinos windows of the apse. The oculus overlaid Romanesque doors is very important by their geometric perfection. It is a symbolic representation of the eight-pointed cross (the Beatitudes), granted to the order of St. John of Jerusalem by Pope Alejandro IV in 1261.

Cistercian Gothic

We could specify the style of the Church in gotico-cisterciense, typical of the asceticism of the order in its beginnings. Features include the absence of superfluous ornamentation; the capitals of the columns – smooth inverted pyramid trunks; the trim rings and high arches support brackets. The hospitalario-funeraria chapel was built at the cemetery area, element of the medieval hospital architecture. The more refined Cistercian style, probably it is the first manifestation of the Gothic art in Valencia. It is popularly known as the chapel of the Rey Don Jaime because in it he heard mass the Conqueror King.

The Gothic in all its splendor found in the two side chapels of the presbytery and the of the narthex of the Church. South of the presbytery, or primitive Chapel of Santa Barbara, the coat of arms of the Hohenstaufen family has a window of great beauty and in the key: Black Eagle on golden background. It is here where they rested the remains of the Empress of Nicaea, Doña Constanza Hohenstaufen in 1307. He wanted to be buried in the Church of San Juan de el Hospital, in a chapel built in honor of Santa Barbara, who had great devotion.

The chapel on the north side joins the presbytery by a high three-lobed Arch of great beauty. At the top of the west wall is the access to the hidden camera.

The narthex of the Church, present Chapel of the Virgin of the students (antique primitive hospital Atrium), is composed of three cord fabric, linked to the general body of the Church by an ogee Arch of interesting polychrome capitals and recycled elements.


Santa BarbaraIt was in the 17TH century, when it covered the stone ashlars and the nakedness of the cloths of the vault with stucco and deployments of arches, lunettes and a profusion of reliefs, Sgraffito and polychrome. Cornices and moldings were broken and the walls built to fasten the fascia of the false vault and pilasters. Coating which has remained until the restoration of 1967. I remember at that time, the Real de Santa Bárbara is preserved, currently dedicated to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, inaugurated in 1686, work of the architect Juan B. Perez Castiel. Is located such a chapel to the South of the temple, separated by an old iron gate. Here were transferred the remains of the Empress of Nicaea, Doña Constanza Hohenstaufen by Royal order of Charles II.

In the 19th century, when by Royal Decree, they disappeared the military orders of Spain, the temple suffered various destinations, invasions, decline and abandonment, to pass to the Archbishopric. In 1905 Parish that was moved to the newly built San Juan Bautista and San Vicente Ferrer Church. Looted and burnt down in 1936, the State of the building was such that came to think of down. The academic Elías Tormo, along with other illustrious Valencia prevented him with their protests and arguments, getting that in 1943 It was declared a national cultural monument. But oblivion followed this achievement and for a few decades was used for profane public events, and even film. Commissioned by the Diocese of Valencia to Opus Dei in 1967, restored the cult with the consequent architectonic restoration. Over the years he has worked intensively, and not without difficulties, to return its primitive aspect to the set of San Juan of the Hospital.

A living reality of faith

San Juan de el Hospital 2In parallel to the work of recovery, the pastoral dynamism of the Church, in the spirit of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, It has given rise to initiatives related to the divine worship, catechesis, solidarity and artistic and cultural. For the most part, These initiatives are linked to the ancient and traditional guilds of the Church of San Juan de el Hospital, Today recovered and revitalized. The whole foundation of San Juan of the Hospital, that it has the support of many Valencians, It deals with funding to make possible all these initiatives and make Assembly and the Church of San Juan not only a landmark but also a living reality of faith, beauty and Christian Solidarity.

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