Iztacalco’s Chapel of the Assumption (Capilla de la Asunción) is so close to the San Matias Monastery one wonders how much more these people could have possibly built. In the very heart of the Barrio la Asunción, the chapel has been renovated multiple times but still retains some 17th century characteristics. The present building is from the 19th century with serious modifications made in the 20th.
Well loved for it’s remarkable interior, it’s dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption, and thus celebrated on August 15 of each year. Perhaps surprisingly, the Assumption of Mary has only been official Roman Catholic dogma since 1950 when when Pope Pius XII thus defined it, ex-cathedra. The earliest known relating of the tale is called the Liber Requiei Mariae, that is the “Book of Mary’s Repose.” This survives only in an Ethiopic translation and was probably written down in the 4th century, based on some earlier documents.
A remarkable sculpture depicts the Virgin from just behind the altar. But the Chapel of the Assumption is also well-visited for the numerous paintings gilded moldings and remarkably vaulted ceilings. In particular, the eight-sided windows permit a seemingly enchanted light within, during daylight hours.
Visits are usually made in combination with other points in the Barrio la Asunción, among them, the San Matias monastery and church, the Iztacalco Market, the 19th century portales building, on the other side of the Plaza Miguel Hidalgo. The very old Chapel of Santa Cruz is also just a few blocks to the south.