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church of san gregorio atlapulco
Photo: MaximeBvn on Wikimedia Commons

The Church of San Gregorio Magno is a colonial-era church in San Gregorio Atlapulco. One of the most fascinating of Xochimilco’s original settlements, the church is particularly of interest for the long struggle of the local Xochimilca people against the Spanish colonizers.

As early as 1525, the Franciscans had built a hut of branches here to serve as an open-air chapel. But it took them nearly 30 years to subdue local people into an organized congregation. The traditional founding of the town thus dates to 1555. Four years later, construction began on a temple dedicated to Pope Gregory.

  • The March 12 Catholic Feast of Saint Gregory coincides with the older celebrations of Chicomecóatl, a Mexica goddess of fertility and farm goods. Aspects of the feast day commemorations today still reflect this coincidence.

By the 17th century, the congregation included some 400 people. By 1690, the church had a main altar, six side altars, and a chapel dedicated to the Holy Sepulcher. The bell tower, destroyed in the 2017 earthquake, dates from the 18th century, as do the dome and the eight-sided drum.

The atrial wall, which still sets off the atrium as the center of town, dates from the 19th century. There’s also an octagonal baptismal font from the 17th century. Most of the church treasury was stolen during the Mexican Revolution Nevertheless, the collection the parish maintains within the church remains of interest to visitors.

The Church of San Gregorio Magno is roughly a three-minute walk from the town market. Along the way, visitors pass the densest parts of the central town, the narrow streets lined with smaller vendors and eateries.

The parish church of San Gregorio Atlapulco, in Xochimilco...

How to get here
  • Av. México 1, San Gregorio Atlapulco, Xochimilco, 16600 CDMX

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