Iglesia de San Ignacio is a notable and historic Roman Catholic church located in Medellín, which is worth seeing if you like old churches. Furthermore, this Catholic church has many pieces of religious artwork.

Iglesia de San Ignacio is an interesting church as the exterior is Baroque-style and the interior is colonial-style. The church is located in La Candelaria (El Centro) and could be seen will visiting other tourist sites in El Centro like Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia.

History of Iglesia de San Ignacio

In the late 1700’s the Fanciscans in Medellín wanted to have a local religious school. This was due to the only way for their children to study religion was to send them off to Bogotá or Popayán.

The city attorney at the time with support from Bogotá officials and the bishop in Popayán convinced King Carlos IV of the need, who authorized construction of the School of Franciscan (origin of the University of Antioquia) and the Church of San Francisco.

The church is part of the original group of buildings that was started construction by the Franciscans in 1793 according to a plaque outside the church.  The original plans for the church were drawn up by Fray Luis Gutiérrez. And the church was completed in 1809.

In 1812, the Franciscan community left Medellín and did not manage to occupy the buildings, with possession passing to the local government.

Since that time and during civil wars in Colombia, the church was occupied by the military and was even converted into a military barracks with kitchens and bedrooms for troops.

However, on May 9, 1885, Marceliano Vélez, the head of the State of Antioquia at the time, returned the church to the diocese in the city. Finally, on July 29, 1886, the church was inaugurated as Iglesia de San Ignacio.

The church was later renovated by the architects Agustin Goovaert and Felix Mejia. The exterior of the church has Spanish Baroque characteristics. And the interior of the church is a colonial design.

The main nave inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

The main nave inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

Inside Iglesia de San Ignacio

Inside the church you will find a beautiful interior that is white with burgundy and gold trim. And the church has wooden pews.

One of many paintings in the church

One of many paintings in the church

Another painting in the church

Another painting in the church

Religious artwork in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Religious artwork in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Additional artwork in the church

Additional artwork in the church

There are many pieces of religious artwork to be found throughout this church.

Confessionals in the church

Confessionals in the church

Like many other churches in the city, Iglesia de San Ignacio has confessionals on both the right and left sides.

Organ in Iglesia de San Ignacio

Organ in Iglesia de San Ignacio

In addition, the church has an organ located on the second floor.

Tram at San José station next to Igelesia de San José

Tram at San José station next to Igelesia de San José

How to Get to Iglesia de San Ignacio

Iglesia de San Ignacio is conveniently located only two blocks from the San José metro station on the Ayacucho tram line – line T-A of the Medellín metro system. This tram line opened in late 2015 and runs east from the San Antonio metro station. And the San José station is the first station from the San Antonio station.

We previously looked at Iglesia de San José, which located is right next to the San José metro station. So, you could easily see both churches as Iglesia de San Ignacio is only two blocks from Iglesia de San José.  Also only about five blocks away is Iglesia San Antonio and Plaza San Antonio. So, three notable and historic churches in El Centro could easily be seen together.

San Ignacio Plaza

San Ignacio Plaza

Iglesia de San Ignacio is located at San Ignacio Plaza, which is a relatively small plaza. Left of the church you will see a Universidad de Antioquia building.

Universidad de Antioquia building

Universidad de Antioquia building

Furthermore, Iglesia de San Ignacio is also located about 7-8 blocks from either the Parque Barrío or San Antonio metro stations on Line A of the Medellín metro.

In addition, most taxi or Uber drivers in Medellín will know where the nearby Iglesia de San José is located. If not, just tell the driver “Iglesia de San José en El Centro – Avenida Oriental con Ayacucho.” And Iglesia de San Ignacio is located only two blocks away.

Location of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Address: Carrera 44 # 48-18, El Centro, Medellín

Phone: +57 4 239 5396

Email: sanignacio@arqmedellin.co

Hours: Monday to Friday the church has mass scheduled at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 am as well as 6:30 pm. Saturday at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 am and noon as well as 6:30 pm.  Sunday 7:30, 9:00, 10:00 11:30 am and 6:30 and 8:00 pm. So, in the early afternoon on all days, the church doors are normally closed.

The Beautiful Churches in Medellín

In the metropolitan Medellín area, there are over 300 Roman Catholic churches. Most notably, a complete list of churches for the Archdiocese of Medellín can be found here.

We have looked at 19 other beautiful churches in the Medellín metro area in a series on this website:

  1. Catedral Basílica Metropolitana – the main church of the Archdiocese of Medellín and the largest church in the city.
  2. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario – a church located in Bello that is arguably the most beautiful church in the Medellín metro area.
  3. Iglesia de La Candelaria – the oldest church in Medellín.
  4. Iglesia San Antonio and Plaza San Antonio – the church with the largest dome in Medellín located next to Plaza San Antonio with four Fernando Botero sculptures.
  5. Iglesia Jesús Nazareno – another of the most beautiful churches in Medellín.
  6. Iglesia de Santa Gertrudis – a beautiful church in Envigado located next to Parque Envigado.
  7. Iglesia de Santa Ana – a very popular church in Sabaneta located next to Parque Sabaneta.
  8. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro – a beautiful Gothic-style church in Medellín.
  9. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús – a beautiful neo-Gothic-style church located in Barrio Triste in Medellín.
  10. Iglesia de San José – a beautiful Boroque-style church located in El Centro, Medellín.
  11. Iglesia del Señor de las Misericordias – a beautiful neo-Gothic-style church located in the Manrique neighborhood of Medellín.
  12. Iglesia San José – a beautiful Romanesque-style church located next to Parque Poblado in El Poblado.
  13. Iglesia de la Veracruz – a beautiful colonial church with a history that goes back to 1682, which makes it one of the oldest churches in Medellín.
  14. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora – a beautiful Roman-style church located next to Parque Belén in Medellín.
  15. Nuestra Señora Chiquinquirá – a beautiful church in La Estrella with a Neo-Gothic-style.
  16. Iglesia el Calvario – a beautiful Romanesque-style church in the Aranjuez comuna in Medellín.
  17. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Sufragio – a beautiful neo-Romanesque-style church in the Boston barrio in Medellín.
  18. Iglesia de San Benito – a beautiful neo-Romanesque-style church with a history that traces back to 1678, which make it one of the oldest churches in Medellín.
  19. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores – a beautiful Neo-Byzantine-style church in the La América comuna in Medellín.

We also have looked at Las Lajas Sanctuary located in Ipiales, Colombia, which is considered the most beautiful church in Colombia. It’s also considered by many to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world.

The façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

The façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Zoom in at the top center of the façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

Zoom in at the top center of the façade of Iglesia de San Ignacio

The Bottom Line: Iglesia de San Ignacio

Iglesia de San Ignacio is found in only one of the 10 English language Colombia travel guidebooks that I have. But it’s worth stopping to see this historic church. And it’s easy to get to since the church located only two blocks from the San José metro station on the T-A tram line.

You could potentially stop to see this church as well as Iglesia de San José after taking the La Sierra Tour, which goes on the T-A tram line.

Seems like, in my experience, that most of the travel guidebooks in English about Colombia are missing many of the best places in the cities and pueblos in Colombia.

Consequently, we are covering the beautiful churches in the Medellín metro area in a series on this website. Most noteworthy, we are doing this since a majority of the beautiful and notable churches in the city are missing from the English travel guidebooks about Colombia.