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The Church

The parish is a meeting point for people from various backgrounds.

A Catholic temple of Baroque style located at the intersection of La Rambla and Carrer del Carme. It is one of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, in the Archpriesthood of La Rambla-Poble Sec, belonging to Pastoral Zone 1.

Due to its privileged location on La Rambla in Barcelona, the parish of Betlem is a meeting point for people from various backgrounds. It gathers the mother community, composed of people from the Catalan and Spanish-speaking regions, along with others from different parts of the city and many tourists who visit. Converging at the parish, with the mother community, are people from the Filipino community, the Latin American community, and the Portuguese-speaking community. All of them participate in the International Mass held every last Sunday of the month at 12 PM. The International Mass emerged from the need for all communities to come together around the table of the Eucharist.


Since 1898, the poet Jacint Verdaguer was a beneficiary of Betlem until his death in Vallvidrera in 1902. When he lived at Palau Moja, right across from the church, he had a view of the image of the Child Jesus crowning one of the side doors of the church. This vision served as inspiration for his article "El Nen de la Rambla" (The Child of La Rambla). He also dedicated a "Hymn to the Holy Christ of Betlem," which can be read in the corresponding chapel



Currently, it preserves the Baroque facade as a living testimony of its past.

Of the previous constructions, only the sides and the Baroque façade are preserved. The main entrance is on Carrer del Carme, featuring a undulating crown, and the door is framed by Solomonic columns with sculptures of Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Borgia, works by Andreu Sala. Above the door, there is a bas-relief of the Nativity, a work by Francesc Santacruz. At the left end of the facade, at the corner of Carrer Xuclà, there is a niche with the image of Saint Francis Xavier, also a Jesuit, and a work by Francesc Santacruz. Tradition holds that this Nativity scene is the first known nativity scene. In fact, the parish hosts the traditional Nativity scene exhibition every year, organized by the Barcelona Nativity Scene Association.

The church has a single nave, basilica type, with a semicircular apse, lateral chapels, and orientation parallel to La Rambla. The nave is divided into six sections, with a narthex under the choir and covered by a cylindrical vault. The lateral chapels are interconnected and feature elliptical domes with lanterns.



In the year 1460, the construction of a chapel under the dedication of Santa Maria de Betlem began.

According to the Diary of the Government of Catalonia dated October 26, 1460, 'construction began on La Rambla in Barcelona, between the gates of the medieval walls of Sant Sever and Santa Anna, for a chapel under the invocation of Santa Maria de Betlem.' In 1522, Saint Ignatius of Loyola visited Barcelona and returned several times. During his visits, he always stayed near the Betlem chapel. In 1539, he established the Society of Jesus in this city. In 1553, the Jesuits obtained permission to build a church in the same location as the chapel.


The new church was built as part of the college of Our Lady of Betlem, a higher education institution run by the Jesuits. A major fire destroyed the building in 1671.

A new construction was necessary, designed by Josep Juli and directed by the Jesuit fathers Francesc Tort (architect) and Pau Diego de Lacarre (sculptor). The work took place between 1680 and 1729 on the same site and in the Baroque style. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain in 1767, the church remained closed until, ten years later, the Diocese of Barcelona reopened and assumed control of the temple. In 1835, the parish of Our Lady of Betlem was created.


In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the church was set on fire, losing the roof and the central nave with all its sumptuous Baroque decoration inside. Currently, the Baroque façade and the sides are preserved as living witnesses of the past. The last restoration was carried out between 1992-1993 under the supervision of architect Rafael Vila and jointly with the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, sponsored by 'Seguros Estrella S.A.'


The Parish of Our Lady of Betlem is classified as a monument declared in the register of Cultural Assets of National Interest in the Catalan heritage and in the register of Assets of Cultural Interest in the Spanish heritage with code RI-51-0009736.


Belén is a meeting place.

Betlem is a work of God, a place of welcome, conversion, and reconciliation; of mercy and holiness, a meeting place for men and women, peoples, cultures, and nationalities. It is the church of the city and the world where all can encounter God, and it is the house of Mary that teaches us to keep these memories in our hearts and meditate on them.

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