The chapel of San Jerónimito Atlixco, or more often simply “San Jerónimito” dates from an unknown time. Today it’s mostly known for standing at the very south of the Camera de Diputados park in Venustiano Carranza, just east of the Merced Markets neighborhood. The Nahuatl name, Atlixco, means “on or over the water,” and refers to the area’s origins in the eastern marshlands and islands of Tenochtitlan. The street east of the chapel, Honorable Congreso de La Unión, represents the area of the main island’s eastern shore.
The chapel is noteworthy for being one of very few to have retained the inverted-arch adobe walls surrounding the atrium. It’s believed to have been built by the Franciscans in the 16th century. Despite a dedication to Francis of Assisi, the church took on the popular name of “San Jeronimito,” perhaps because of the nearby bridge of San Jerónimo. The building we see today was likely rebuilt in the 18th century. Scholar conclude this based on the Neo-Classical pediment on the façade. However, the bell tower is believed to be what remains of an older structure.
A 1737 matlazahuatl epidemic (likely typhus or plague) so devastated the City that the chapel atrium and surrounding properties were used as a giant cemetery. Thereafter, regular services were not offered here until residents insisted on them in October of 1861. Over the years, a number of lean-to buildings have been added. A shed was noted in 1933, a corral for animals in the atrium around the same time, and a 1966 taco stand. In the same year, a collapse of the adjacent houses damaged the roof. This collapsed entirely in 1976.
Historians have noted that a priest named Father Chinchachoma, Alejandro Garcia-Duran de Lara, was working with street children living inside the abandoned chapel in the late 1970s. By 1980, an extensive renovation was in order. This was carried out over the course of the following decade.
The chapel is of a single nave. Ceilings are beamed, although the footings of these beams are often admired. Altars are of a 19th-century Neo-Classical style widely used in the 19th century. The main altar is of quarried stone. Floors are of gray marble.
The Chapel of San Jeronimito Atlixco today offers but a lonely steeple often glimpsed from the passing Metro Line 4. It’s a poetic work nonetheless. Visitors often combine a walk here with one in the Camera de Diputados park. The Antigua Garita de San Lázaro, stands just at the north of the same park, and the Legislative Palace is just to the east.