|HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL OF SAN FERNANDO
The original church of San Fernando was built between 1738 and 1750. The walls of that church today form the sanctuary of the cathedral,
which gives rise to its claim as the oldest cathedral in the State of Texas. The church was named for Ferdinand III of Castile, who ruled in the
13th century. The baptismal font, believed to be a gift from Charles III, who became King of Spain from 1759, is the oldest piece of liturgical
furnishing in the cathedral. The cathedral was built by settlers from the Canary Islands, for this reason the interior is a picture of the Virgin of
Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary Islands.
In 1836, the cathedral, still a parish church, played a role in the Battle of the Alamo when Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna
hoisted a flag of "no quarter" from the church's tower, marking the beginning of the siege.
In 1831, Jim Bowie married Ursula de Veramendi in San Fernando.
In 1868, under the director of architect Francois P. Giraud, the cathedral was considerably enlarged in the Gothic style, the addition forming
the existing nave. The carved stone Stations of the Cross were added in 1874. The striking stained glass windows were added in 1920.
On September 13, 1987, Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral during the only papal visit to Texas. A marker commemorates the event.
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