There is no lack of churches in Málaga. Anyone who has been all around the city can vouch for that, and also anyone who has tried to recite in one go the following list:
Episcopal Palace, San Agustin´s Monastery, Church of El Sagrario, of Saint James, of the Water, of Holy Christ, of the Sainted Martyrs, of Saint Julian, of Saint Felipe Neri, of the Sacred Heart, of Saint John, of Saint Paul, of Saint Peter, of the Trinity, of our Lady of El Carmen, the Zamarrilla Chapel, Saint Lázaro Chapel and the Santa Ana Abbey.
All this, without taking into account the Cathedral, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Victory and a few others further away from the city centre. So, right now, you are probably wondering where to start…
We recommend you cross the River Guadalmedina to its right bank. In the neighbourhood of Perchel, you will find the Church of Santo Domingo, built as soon as the Catholic Monarchs set foot in the city, at the end of the fifteenth century, and which has survived floods, looting and fires. The fact is that what you can see here today, is the result of several reconstructions, but that is not the interesting thing.
The interesting thing is that it has its origin in the Order of the Dominicans, of which its inflexible monks supported the Inquisition for centuries and earned the nickname Domini Canines or Dogs of God. In case the pun is not chilling enough, the founder of the Order, to whom the temple is dedicated to, is usually represented accompanied by a dog holding a torch between its teeth.
And there is more. In this church, there was a carving of the crucified Christ that Pedro de Mena made around the year 1660. It was the so-called Christ of the Good Death, and this may sound familiar to you because is what the legionnaires carry in the processions of the Holy Week. But of course, that is not the original one. Mena’s one was charred in 1931 after the church was burned down by a group of hooligans who had not taken well the proclamation of the Republic.
After the fire, there were rumours that the carving had been saved. And it would not have been strange, because there were gangs of Civic Guards trying to explain to the brainless that the Republic did not consist in setting fire to the temples. The fact is that the rumours continued, and were fed by a novel called Las vestiduras recamadas (The embroidered garments), that insisted that the image was rescued from the flames.
So, the lie grew and they started to add details to the mystery, as it always happens: things like some American millionaires were after the piece since the nineteenth century, the carving had been hidden waiting for the best time to sell it, that it was in a cave nearby, or even that it was kept by Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee on their secret island.
What do you think about that?