Reputedly this was Barcelona’s first church, built in the 4th century over the Roman amphitheatre, and legend has it that Catalonia’s totem black Virgin was kept here before she was relocated to Montserrat for safety from the Moors.
Founded or refounded by Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, in 801, it is the last church in Spain to preserve the ancient privilege of Testimentos Sacramentales (Sacramental Wills) bestowed by Louis himself. This gives any citizen of Barcelona the right to make a will, orally, without a notary or writing on paper, before the altar of Sant Feliú.
The present church dates from the 14th century, but its austere façade (made more austere by a rusting metal door) was added in 1883. Inside, there’s a fine 16th-century retable by the Portuguese painter Pere Nunyes in the Capella Sant Feliú, lovely 14th-century stained glass and Visigothic capitals, pressed into service as fonts.
Images by Enric, Pere López, SS Just i Pastor