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Church of Santas Justa y Rufina (MALUENDA)

Versión en español

The church of Santas Justa and Rufina of Maluenda is situated on a high point in the southern part of the municipality, at an altitude between that of the parish church of Santa María and San Miguel. It is located at the foot of the castle which at the top of the hills, dominates the town.

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The first thing that merits attention is its avocation, since the Santas are patrons of ceramists and it doesn’t appear that Maluenda had a particular devotion to this craft, although there were workshops in the vicinity. Originally, the church was dedicated to the Savior. The dedication was changed to the Sevillian Santas Justa and Rufina on November 1, 1595 when, under the Bishop don Pedro Cerbuna they also became patrons of the locality.

As was habitual after the Christian conquest, the principal mosque of the town was rededicated to the Virgin Mary, the present-day parish church, and if there was a second one it would be dedicated to the Savior, it is possible that Santas Justa and Rufina was also originally a mosque reconverted into a church. It had a freestanding tower that was destroyed in the 18th century, that I shall discuss more extensively on the next page.

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The Mudéjar church is a mortared construction of plaster and brick that is visible only in the framed openings of the gable, the running upper gallery and the tower imposts.

Gonzalo Borrás established the decade of the 1350’s for the beginning of construction if the church, which was completed in 1413, the date on an inscription in the southern chapel below the choir. Over the years, the church has been reformed various times, the most important beginning in 1999 when the building was closed, until 2011 when it was reopened. Presently, its interior is dedicated to an interpretation center of Gothic painting in the region of Calatayud under the title of “Domingo Ram,” in honor of the author of the retablo mayor, who also resided in Maluenda during the 15th century.


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