"Basílica del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús"
The organ and church history
Mutin Cavaillé-Coll op 901, circa 1906
Inside this grandiose proportions church we can find one of the most sumptuos organs installed
in Buenos Aires during the nineteens. It has the particular characteristic of not being completed
in its original project. The third manual was never installed despite the console is prepaired to
received the necessary stops and mechanisms. Nowadays it is very difficult to define the real
reasons that lead the people who built the organ not to finish the originally projected
instrument. The "recit" manual and some of the pedal stops were never installed. We have no
documentation about this episode.
A lot of versions about the real story can be listened when
talking to people related to this church and this organ. Which is the true story? Some of them
talks about the sinking of the ship that transported the remaining pieces necessary to finish
the organ installation. Other stories tell us about an architect that "got mad of annoyance" when
he realized that the organ could hide the front rose window (very beautiful in fact) when
finished. As you can see in the organ pictures the organ case is divided in two. The northern one
(at your left) is the real case. The southern one is "false", no pipes inside it, just to keep
the architectural simetry.
This organ has been never modified since its construction. All of the original stops are still
sounding and keep the particular beauty that the constructor gave to them. It's one of the most
beautiful instruments of its gender that you can find in Buenos Aires.
The "Basílica del Sagrado Corazón" is placed in Velez Sarsfield avenue at
Iriarte street in Barracas, Buenos Aires city (Argentina). It was built between 1905 and 1908.
A rich family of Buenos Aires, the Pereyra Iraola ones, decided the construction of this church
originally designed as a private chapel. The fundamental stone was installed in 1905. The
engineer in charge was Rómulo Ayerza. Three years later, the 16 of August 1908, the beautiful
church was solemnly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the auxiliary bishop of Buenos
Aires, Gregorio Ignacio Romero. The ministers of the brotherhood "Sacerdotes del Sagrado
Corazón de Jesús de Betharram" (Bayoneses) were commended to direct the Church activities.
Pope Pio X, with a special document dated on November 22th 1908, added this Church to the
"Patriarcal Basílica of Saint Peter" in Rome.
Pope Pio XII declared it one of the first Minor Basílicas, on the 24th May 1939.
The church and the tower as it looks nowadays
Pictures taken in 1908
Here you can see the 30 metres arrow that crowned the tower which was destroyed by the wind
The church as it was in the 30´s.
Picture sent by Ezequiel Menendez.