Who Is Buried In Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia – Who is buried in the Central Crypt?


The Sagrada Familia is an iconic Catholic church located in Barcelona that has become an instantly recognizable landmark of the city. Designed by Antoni Gaudí and still unfinished after more than 130 years, the temple stands out for its extravagant neo-gothic and modernist style. Behind its majestic façade, several crypts are hidden, with the central crypt being the resting home of Antoni Gaudí himself, who started working on the temple shortly before his death in 1926.

The building of the church began in 1882, and it has been under construction ever since, with renovation, improvements and external changes constantly taking place. In 1933 the first interments were made, but for the most part, people were buried in other cemeteries. In more recent years, secrecy has surrounded the contents of the central crypt and who is buried there. This article will explore the historical context, who is buried in the crypt and the significance of these interments.

Gaudi’s Will and Burial

In previous decades Gaudi had discussed with the Construction Board his eventual burial in Sagrada Familia, where he wanted to be buried. During his lifetime, the central crypt wasn’t developed, but it was made in accordance with his will. His will stated his wish to be buried “in the shrine of my masterpiece, a shrine built for the Glory of God and for the joy of my beloved country”. Gaudi’s wish was respected and on June 5th, 1926 his funeral was held in this church.

His body was placed in a crypt and buried in a zinc-lined casket filled with sacks of quicklime. However, soon after it was realized that the crypt was situated close to the foundation of the main bell tower, and was in danger of being destroyed due to the building works and the unsuitable underground construction. As a result, as a guarantee to Gaudi’s remains, in August 1936 the casket was moved to a sanctuary underneath the main chapel.

Other Interments

Apart from Gaudi, there have been other interments in the central crypt since 1933. Initially five crypts served as the burial chambers for five Templers of the Divine Saviour. These five were from the Ramon Llull Commission and had worked diligently for the construction and commissioning of the Sagrada Familia. People from the society of Jesus were also interred in two other crypts nearby.

In 1984, the layout of cemeteries was changed and plans were made to inter people from the sagrada familia foundation and the Archbishop of Barcelona at that time, Josep M. Quadra-Salcedo, who visited the site a few years before his death. In 2009, another family honored Gaudi’s wishes and buried their deceased close to the main chapel. It also became known that foreign heads of important churches had been buried there.

The Significance of Sagrada Familia’s Central Crypt

The crypts in the Sagrada Familia have been the resting place of important religious figures since its creation. However, the significance behind Gaudi’s body can be found in his will, in which he expressed his wish to have right his works to be continued. This implies that Gaudi’s remains serve as a constant reminder of the devotedness, piety and pure spirit of the man who created this architectural wonder.

Additionally, the other interments in the central crypt are also significant, as it serves as a place of remembrance for the many people who dedicated their lives to the project. People from all around the world can visit the Sagrada Familia to witness a symbol of collaboration and perseverance and appreciate the beauty of the catalan modernist style.

The Fateful 1996 Fire

In 1996, a fire broke out in the central crypt, obliterating some of the interments. Despite the huge destruction, no remains were missing and it was assumed that the smoke damage was confined to the crypt’s structure. After the fire, a metal hatch was installed to cover the crypt, with a message dedicated to Gaudi engraved on the metal.

The repair of the crypt took years and was finished only in 2002. It succumbed to a re-design and new chapel walls, with all of the old interments restored to their graves, and acquiring the same ornamental decorations they had before.

The Crypt’s Future and Development

The crypt is situated in the same area from where the Church museum will be developed. This museum will feature Gaudi’s work as an architect and interior designer, as well as display detailed information about the Sagrada Familia. The museum is part of the Vision Project, a plan to be completed by 2026 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Gaudi. Visitors will be able to visit the crypt and explore the many historical facts behind each interment.

Aside from the museum, foundations and diocese funds are working towards the development of several projects meant to safeguard and continue Gaudi’s mission. These projects seek to create a new “Green Heart” in front of the Sagrada Familia, reminiscent of its past gardens, with many vegetation varieties and a sculpture of Gaudi.

Burials in Other Crypts

Apart from the central crypt, there are other crypts buried in the Sagrada Familia, containing important religious figures, an architect and diocese personalities. The St. Joseph and St. Michael crypts are located close to the entrance of Sagrada Familia and both house a number of dignitaries. The St. Josep crypt was initially used for members of the diocese, but now several other religious figures rest there.

The St. Michael crypt contains the mortal remains of Father Dionisio of Barcelona, Madrid’s Archbishop Sebastián Santamaria, Vicar general José Jacobo and also the crypts of ordinary people close to the church. Within the Crypt of St. Sixtus, visitors can find the grave of architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, the first supervisor of the project at the beginning of the 20th century.

Secrecy Behind the Crypt

The secrecy behind who is buried in the central crypt has been the topic of many discussions and speculations, but the truth is slowly being revealed. Apart from Gaudi, the crypt contains the remains of several religious figures that had their involvement in the construction and improvement of the temple.

The crypt has seen many historical events and even a fire that obliterated some sections. It has also faced various architectural developments, such as its museum and exhibition areas, ensuring that Gaudi’s remains always remain protected, but still open to the public, so admirers can be a witness of what stands at the very center of this architectural masterpiece – a symbol of devotion and a monument to a man with a mission.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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