'This is a journey through time and geography. In time, towards the past, towards the time in which those wonderful buildings were built that have survived time as representations of the city of God on earth and that we know as cathedrals, and, in geography, through a country that is a mosaic of regions as different as its landscapes ... '(1).
It is evident that in Rejas de San Esteban there is no cathedral, although there are two exceptional buildings that, in all fairness, could well be defined as authentic Romanesque roses: the church of San Ginés and the church of San Martín.
Both churches, like their homonyms of San Esteban de Gormaz, can be classified, in my opinion, within the oldest Romanesque in the province; that is, the one that arose in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and which is characterized as a period in which the dream of the Reconquest began to have signs of reality.
Curiously - and this detail, it does not cease to have its malicious and disconcerting side - next to a sign that indicates the distance to the town -3 kilometers- there is another, with its bright pink color indicative of Historic Artistic Monument, in which you can read , textually, the following: 'Romanesque church'.
This detail, which in principle may be unimportant, baffles the traveler who, once left behind the vineyards that escort him on both sides of the road on his way to the town, discovers - marveling and heartless at the same time - that in addition to the titular parish, the Romanesque church of San Ginés, there is another, located in the highest part of the town, which has elegant and proportionate lines, and that even today, after the centuries and the many historical avatars, conserves -no I will say that intact, but reasonably in good condition - much of its structure, or rather, of its original Romanesque charm; I mean, to the church of San Martín.
But let's go in parts. I said the wonder and heartlessness at the same time, referring to the church of San Ginés, because, still very modified its original structure, offers a message of interest in the theme of its canecillos, as well as in the capitals that decorate its gallery porticoed, although discouraging, and much, observe the progressive deterioration of these and the consequent threat posed by the arrival of a moment, perhaps not too far away, when they are definitely lost, passing their arcane message to be part of the dust of the roads .
It is with reference to the capitals, which attracts my attention, one in particular, that follows the same trace - or at least, very suspiciously similar - to those others that I had the opportunity to observe last August in some Romanesque churches of the Burgos Merindades (2).
It is a capital related to the Camino de Santiago, which is usually associated with the arrival of pilgrims in the port; in this specific case of the Merindades, it can make reference, due to its relative proximity, to the Cantabrian ports of Santoña and San Vicente de la Barquera, in which the pilgrims disembarked to Spain by sea.
Of course, it is not a capital that is frequently observed in the Romanesque Soriano; in fact, it is the first of its kind that I meet, if we except the extraordinary capital that is in Garray, inside the chapel of the Holy Martyrs - formerly, of San Miguel, and located a few meters from the Ruins of Numancia- which is one of the most beautiful and best worked in its genre that I know and that, counting the number of characters -doce- sailing in three small boats, I could well refer to the apostles, distributing around the world to preach the Gospel.
Of them, however, the character who sails alone in the central boat stands out - to which the stonecutter, for a good reason, I have no doubt, gives him some relevance over the rest - and who may represent the pillar of the church Catholic: San Pedro.
With respect to the rest of the capitals, and unlike in the church of San Martín, in addition to the vegetable references, in San Ginés a certain motivational variety is observed, which goes from the funeral allusions - note in the video the capital where the capital is detailed burial of which, at first sight you can identify with a musician or a minstrel, judging by the instrument that the officiant seems to be depositing next to the inert body- to the representation of birds - storks with interwoven necks, and beasts faced, motive This is repeated in other churches in the area, such as in the parish of Berzosa, as well as in the second church of Rejas de San Esteban: the church of San Martín.
Nor should we forget the figure of the centaur-sagittarius, which in the case of the church of San Ginés, is represented both in a capital of the gallery, and in one of the little canes that adorn the upper part of the access portico, and that could lead to some astronomical or astrological symbolism, typical of the time.
Notes, References and Bibliography:
(1) Julio Llamazares: 'Las Rosas de Piedra', Santillana Ediciones Generales, S.L., 2008.
(2) For example, San Pantaleón de Losa or the church of Nª Sª de la Asunción, in the Burgos town of La Cerca.
NOTICE: Originally published on my blog SORIA WAYS TO WALK. Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property. The original entry, where you can verify the authorship of juancar347, can be found at the following address: https://juancar347.blogspot.com/2010/01/rejas-de-san-esteban.html
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