Monastery of San Martiño Pinario

Facade of the monastery.
Main entrance to the church.

The monastery of San Martiño Pinario (San Martín Pinario in Castilian) is a Benedictine monastery in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is the second largest monastery in Spain after San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Little remains of the original medieval buildings, as the monastery has been largely rebuilt since the sixteenth century. The monastery was closed in the nineteenth century in the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The buildings currently house a seminary.

History

It originated in a chapel dedicated to Santa Maria called the Corticela which was demolished in the late ninth century, except the chapel, which today is part of the Cathedral of Santiago, when King Afonso III the Great and the bishop Sisnando began the new cathedral construction. Thus, around the year 899, this monastery was built where Benedictine monks moved from the old chapel. This monastery was later replaced by another monastery whose church was consecrated in 1102 by Bishop Diego Gelmírez, but not much remains of that era.

Throughout the Middle Ages the monastery grew so that by the end of the fifteenth century the monastery became the richest and most powerful of Galicia. This brought about the almost complete reconstruction starting in the sixteenth century. From that century it was the most powerful monastery in Galicia, administering control over most Galician monasteries.

The current church began to be erected soon after the appointment of Juan de Sanclemente Torquemada as Archbishop of Santiago in 1587. The project was commissioned to Mateo López, the most outstanding monastic architect of the city. After the death of López in 1606, Benito González de Araujo assumed the direction of the work.

The facade of the church, oriented to the west and open to the square of San Martín, presents a cover with structure of great altarpiece of stone divided in three bodies and three streets separated by fluted columns and is dedicated to the exaltation of the Virgin Mary and of The Benedictine order.

The fronton finish has a relief of Saint Martin on horseback distributing his coat with a poor, patron of the convent.

Its present aspect is due, in addition to the initial design of Mateo López, to subsequent interventions. Thus, in the 17th century Peña del Toro enlarged it adding two towers to the sides, which did not rise above the church by the opposition of the cathedral chapter, and opening two side windows, adorned with the first fruit strings of the Baroque Compostelan, antecedent of what would later be used profusely by Domingo de Andrade in the Clock Tower of the cathedral and in the Casa de la Parra of the plaza de la Quintana.

With the seizure in the year 1835 was devoted to various functions and since 1868 it became the seat of the seminar most of the Archdiocese of Santiago.

Today it continues as seminary Compostela and site of the Department of Theology and Social Work. Formerly a part of the building was used as a residence hall, but at the end of the academic year 2007-2008 was closed in order to carry out structural reforms, which topped and give way to reopen for the 2011-2012 academic year RUSMP.