Santa María La Blanca (Toledo)

Santa María la blanco started life as ns city’s main synagogue before being rotate into uno church. Photograph: Alamy cuota Photo
Santa María la blanco started life as los city’s key synagogue prior to being turn into a church. Photograph: Alamy inventario Photo
Spain’s Catholic church owns papa noel María la Blanca, currently a ancha museum, but shows small interest in giving it back


Among the fans, parasols and knick-knacks in ns gift shop that the santa María la blanca museum room bottles of kosher wine and tiles painted with menorahs y magens David.

Estás mirando: Santa maría la blanca (toledo)

They space testament to ns fact that, in spite of its surname – no to point out its incarnations as a church, a barracks y a warehouse – the museo began the life in the 12th century as Toledo’s main synagogue.

Today, the mudéjar masterpiece is among city’s most generalizado tourist attractions, a building who walls and pillars reflect ns interplay of three different cultures: Christian, Jewish and Islamic.

Visitors armed with selfie sticks y headsets mill between its white horseshoe arches, peering abajo at the tiled floor or up at the cherubs y christograms the sit alongside the geometric patterns.

Although papá noel María la blanco has no been ns synagogue due to the fact that it was seized y turned into uno church at los beginning of ns 15th century, part feel the time has actually come for it to be reverted to ns Jewish community.

Isaac Querub, the president that Spain’s federation of Jewish Communities, is calling on los archbishop of Toledo come demonstrate ns church’s commitment to interfaith relations through the symbolic gesture that handing espalda the building.

More than 5 centuries delaware Ferdinand y Isabella bespeak Spain’s Jews to convert or leave the country – and cuarenta y dos years after Pope polo VI repudiated antisemitism y called for “mutual understanding and respect” in between Roman Catholics and Jews – Querub claims the Spanish church is lagging behind culture when it pertains to atoning for ns mistakes of ns past.


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Tile showing ns magen David at papá noel María gift shop. Photograph: Alamy inventario Photo“The winds of Rome have blown really weakly in Spain,” the said. “The gestures of john XXIII, paul VI, hombre Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope francis seem come be reaching Spain an extremely late – or not at all.”

He spicy to the Spanish government’s current decision to introduce a law providing citizenship to ns descendants that Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492, arguing that Spain had taken “giant steps” towards dealing with the sins the its past.

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But the said: “Why won’t los Catholic church in Spain do the same? as soon as someone sincerely recognises that they’ve do an error y tries to settle an injustice, castle become un better person. It’s the same thing: Spain is ns better place y its society has do progress. Alguna political party opposed the law. Frankly, it to be just very positive. Ns same thing needs to take place with los church: there demands to it is in Judeo-Christian dialogue.”

It’s not around starting a war … we want to deepen ns Judeo-Christian dialogueIsaac QuerubQuerub claims he composed to the archbishop of Toledo, Braulio rodríguez Plaza, last year to request un meeting on los issue however is quiet awaiting an answer.

And los archdiocese of Toledo shows few signs the contemplating any regresar of los building. In a three-page statement, it said ns church’s ownership of los now-deconsecrated structure was “perfectly clear” and that los government had restored papá noel María la blanca to los care of the archdiocese with a localidades parish in 1929.

It stated that ns archbishop had met Querub double – many recently in November final year – adding: “They agreed to accomplish again delaware Christmas, however neither grandfather Querub no one anyone acting on his behalf has asked in writing for an main meeting, i beg your pardon is why the archbishop has been can not to respond come his request.”

The statement also pointed fuera that the proceeds from the museo went on los upkeep the other structures in los archdiocese y that ns archbishop had actually spent virtually €800,000 (£685,000) on conserving ns building due to the fact that 2013.

It concluded with uno reminder that ns nearby Sinagoga de Tránsito belonged to ns government, quite then ns church.

The archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal charlie Osoro Sierra, newly struck ns more conciliatory note y emphasised ns need for dialogue. “Gestures that bring us together y help united state all space good,” that told el País. “Of course me gustaría think lock good. Santa María la blanca needs come be un meeting place.”

However, ns spokesman for los archdiocese of la villa de madrid told ns Guardian that ns cardinal had actually been talk in normal terms y had not offered an opinion top top whether the building must be handed back.


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Visitors check out horseshoe arches and wall carvings at santa María la Blanca. Photograph: Alamy cuota PhotoSpain’s Jewish populace numbers fewer 보다 100,000, many of who live in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga. There was, Querub said, alguna Jewish community in Toledo today however that was not ns point; the federation was no looking to reclaim santa María la blanca as uno place of worship but to usar it as museo that ultimately acknowledges the roots y uses its original name.

“It’s not around starting a war … we desire to deepen ns Judeo-Christian dialogue,” the said. “We want to see action y better education: we desire to see the Catholic church’s to teach centres doing much more to define what taken place 2,000 años ago and teaching people about los Jewish people and the link in between them and the soil of Israel.”

Querub spicy to los centuries that blood libel, propaganda y the antisemitic slurs that proceed to exist in ns Spanish language.

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“People quiet use ns word judiada y in León castle talk about ‘killing some Jews’ once they mean ‘having un few drinks’.”

He believes the regresar of papá noel María la blanco would be ns landmark event that would demonstrate ns church’s commitment to illustration a line under los past.

“But we’re not the ones who need to be telling los Catholic church what it demands to do, exactly how it requirements to carry out it or once it needs to perform it. We’d as with this symbolic gesture.”