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Work on the construction of the Ecumenical Temple of El Salvador began in 1969. Construction of the temple was completed in 1971. It was inaugurated for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on January 21, 1971. The inauguration was attended by Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, President of the Roman Secretariat for unification of Christians. Also present were Monseñor Infantes Florido, Bishop of the Diocese of Canarias, and Count Vega Grande, Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo, together with his sons. It was Count Vega Grande who was the engineer of the idea of ​​this building, like 99% of the projects in the area, and for the purpose of construction he dedicated the land under the temple to the diocese.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés (foto: FEDAC)

What is most remarkable on the outside, apart from the interesting architectural structure that is the work of the architect Manuel de la Peño, is the large metal facade, which also forms the gate to the temple. Its author is the Canary artist José Abad.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

There is much to be said and written about the Ecumenical Church of Saint El Salvador, regardless of belief or religion. It is clearly a legacy that belongs to everyone, for several reasons. Firstly, for the building itself, which is one of the most charismatic works of the great representative of Spanish modern architecture, Manuel de la Peña Suárez.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

Another reason is the fact that also led Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo, Count Vega Grande, to its construction for the Diocese of Canarias. Gradually increasing tourists, but especially residents working in the tourism sector, filled the church in San Fernando to such an extent that masses were basically already served in the square in front of the church. Since the Count himself saw the future of Maspalomas in a large tourist center with an international clientele of various faiths, the condition for handing over the building to the church was to preserve it as an ecumenical temple, in which masses will be served for all Christian churches.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

It was the condition given by the count to the temple that made the building full of symbolic elements, which are as neutral as possible, so that it does not identify with any particular religion. This created interesting works of art that are inconsistent at first glance but complement each other in an interesting way. The Iron Gate by José Abad, the stained glass by Juan Antonio Giraldo, the lava rock that forms the altar, the statue of Christ on the cross or the iron monolith in the atrium, which is supposed to represent the fortress and the depth of faith.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

Several works of art are located in the Catholic chapel in the side nave. It was built as a separate part of the temple, separated by a door. However, Masses are usually served in the main nave.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

In addition to its religious function, the temple is also a cultural center. It is a venue for organ concerts, concerts by various choirs, as well as lectures and presentations on the history and culture of Gran Canaria. It provides commendable religious, social and cultural work for tourists visiting Maspalomas. At the same time, it is a place where virtually all official European Christian churches live together in the harmony and tolerance that is so characteristic of Gran Canaria.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

And in the end I just have to add. This place, like anything in the south of Gran Canaria, can be thanked to the charismatic man who was able to materialize his idea, Count Vega Grande to Mr. Alejandro del Castillo y del Castillo and his sons. Even through the Templo ecuménico El Salvador, he was able to give Maspalomas what a good tourist center should have. International significance, tolerant environment, beautiful surroundings but also spiritual value.

Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés

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Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
Templo Ecuménico El Salvador, Playa del Inglés
 

Martin Smolen

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Life with the sun in the heart.

“We are incredibly proud to be Canaries,” Alfredo, the owner of a small restaurant in Playa del Inglés, once told me when I was visited Gran Canaria. “There are the most beautiful beaches with the most beautiful sand with the most incredible waves. On the shore are the most beautiful hotels, promenades and cafes. The island is home to the most hospitable people. Grow the tastiest tomatoes, the sweetest bananas, the most fragrant roses. We will make the best wines here and the cuisine is also the best.”

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