Iglesia de San José is a notable and historic Roman Catholic church located in Medellín, which is worth seeing. This Baroque-style Catholic church has many pieces of notable religious artwork.
In addition, several other notable churches are located in El Centro and are within walking distance of Iglesia de San José including, Catedral Basílica Metropolitana, Iglesia de La Candelaria and Iglesia San Antonio.
Note that there are two other historic churches with the same name in the Medellín area – Iglesia de San José. One is located next to Parque Poblado in El Poblado and the other is located in Envigado. The San José church this article covers is located in El Centro in Medellín.
The main alter in Igelesia de San José
History of Iglesia de San José
In the past, near where Iglesia de San José is located today, there was a church dedicated to San Lorenzo, which opened in 1720. This San Lorenzo chapel became rundown and in 1847 the bishop of Antioquia at the time, Juan de la Cruz Gómez Plata, ordered the church demolished along with another chapel nearby, which was named San Francisco.
In addition, the bishop ordered a new church to be built in honor of San José, which was to be entrusted to the Jesuits. Construction started after the demolition of the other two churches was completed. And the plans were to use the alters, furniture and religious artwork from the demolished churches in the new church.
However, on May 18, 1850, General José Hilario López expelled all Jesuits from Colombia. As a result, only the walls and ceiling of the new church were completed by the Jesuits. Additional work on the church was accomplished after the Jesuits left with work overseen by a board of construction and the pastors of Iglesia de La Candelaria.
The first mass in the new church was held in the church on July 15, 1872 according to a plaque in the church. But this was before the church was completed. In 1884, the first Jesuits returned to Medellín from Ecuador. Finally, the work on the church was completed in 1892. And in 1902, Jesuit architect Felix Pereira reconstructed the façade of the church.
Inside Iglesia de San José
Inside the church you will find a beautiful interior that is white with brown and gold trim. And it has wooden pews.
There are many pieces of religious artwork to be found throughout this church including some notable pieces. In addition, the church also has some stained-glass windows higher up in the church.
Like many other churches in the city, Iglesia de San José has confessionals on both the right and left sides.
In addition, the church has an organ located on the second floor.
Inside this church you will also find the painting called the baptism of Christ by Francisco Antonio Cano. Also, Cano created the gilded altarpiece in the church named Baptism of Jesus.
Cano is the Colombian artist who painted Horizons, which can be found in Museo de Antioquia, which depicts the early colonization of Antioquia. Horizons (Horizontes) is considered Cano’s masterpiece.
How to Get to Iglesia de San José
Iglesia de San José is conveniently located right next to 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.
The church is also located about six blocks from either the Parque Barrío or San Antonio metro stations on Line A of the Medellín metro.
In addition, many taxi or Uber drivers in Medellín will know where Iglesia de San José is located. If not, just tell the driver “Iglesia de San José en El Centro – Avenida Oriental con Ayacucho.”
Location of Iglesia de San José
Address: Carrera 46 # 49-90, El Centro, Medellín
Phone: +57 4 251 8838
Hours: The doors to this church have been open during the day each time I have walked past, even when there is no mass. However, we recommend calling before going to make sure it is open.
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:
- Catedral Basílica Metropolitana – the main church of the Archdiocese of Medellín and the largest church in the city.
- Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario – a church located in Bello that is arguably the most beautiful church in the Medellín metro area.
- Iglesia de La Candelaria – the oldest church in Medellín.
- 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.
- Iglesia Jesús Nazareno – another of the most beautiful churches in Medellín.
- Iglesia de Santa Gertrudis – a beautiful church in Envigado located next to Parque Envigado.
- Iglesia de Santa Ana – a very popular church in Sabaneta located next to Parque Sabaneta.
- Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro – a beautiful Gothic-style church in Medellín.
- Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús – a beautiful neo-Gothic-style church located in Barrio Triste in Medellín.
- Iglesia del Señor de las Misericordias – a beautiful neo-Gothic-style church located in the Manrique neighborhood of Medellín.
- Iglesia San José – a beautiful Romanesque-style church located next to Parque Poblado in El Poblado.
- 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.
- Iglesia de San Ignacio – a beautiful church in El Centro with a Baroque-style exterior and colonial interior.
- Iglesia de Nuestra Señora – a beautiful Roman-style church located next to Parque Belén in Medellín.
- Nuestra Señora Chiquinquirá – a beautiful church in La Estrella with a Neo-Gothic-style.
- Iglesia el Calvario – a beautiful Romanesque-style church in the Aranjuez comuna in Medellín.
- Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Sufragio – a beautiful neo-Romanesque-style church in the Boston barrio in Medellín.
- 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.
- 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 Bottom Line: Iglesia de San José
Iglesia de San José in El Centro 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 next to the San José metro station on the T-A tram line.
You could potentially stop to see this church 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 have been 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.