Church of Santo Estevo

Church of Santo Estevo

Iglesia de Santo Estevo

It was built by the master mason of Portuguese origin Bartolomé de Nosendo, who would also develop other important works in the region: the Collegiate Church of Xunqueira de Ambía and the Monastery of Bon Xesús de Trandeiras. Its dating is documented as “before 1520”, and its style is late Gothic.

Externally, its main cover stands out, inspired by Portuguese art from the Manueline period (Portuguese variant of late Gothic, with Mudejar and Renaissance influences).

Space in which we can observe a decoration based on plant motifs with its maximum expression in the flowers that adorn the outer arch of the door. At the end, an image of Saint Peter is placed in the center. Also noteworthy on this façade is the slender bell tower, which in its decoration refers to Romanesque art. On the other hand, the door on the north wall replicates the style of the main one, but in a simpler way. Its ornamentation is also based on vegetables, although they are eroded.

Inside, we observe the height of the temple. Its vaults are remarkable: cannon in the nave, star in the apse and cross in the space between the two. The ornamentation used in the capitals of the columns that decorate the walls is also based on plants and leaves.

The highlight of the interior is undoubtedly its altarpiece. Work by Francisco de Moure (an important Galician sculptor of the time), it retains its original shape and layout. With two bodies, it has a predella and an attic and three streets. The sculptures that adorn it are of great sculptural value, with great realism and announcing the Baroque way of working. The images of St. Peter and St. Paul are placed on the sides of the tabernacle. In the second body appear (from right to left and from the front) São Lourenzo, Santo Estevo and São Francisco. To crown the ensemble, an ordeal, of lesser sculptural value, made by an apprentice from Moure’s atelier.

After a restoration in 2002, the original colors of the same were discovered, as well as the legend “year 1607” that would be the date of completion of the altarpiece. The predella paintings are dedicated to four saints: Bárbara, Apolonia, Catarina and Lucia (all identified with palm trees and the symbols of their martyrdom) and four doctors of the church: Ambrosio, Gregorio Magno, Jeronimo and Agustin. In addition, two scenes related to the life of the Virgin are painted: an Annunciation (below Saint Peter) and a Visitation (below Saint Paul), all this figuration makes the altarpiece an exceptional work, deserving recognition for its quality and preservation.

Finally, the interior has other pieces of interest such as the life-size images of San Antonio de Padua (also by Francisco de Moure) and San Antonio Abade. It is also noteworthy how new uses are given to the old gate that separates the nave from the apse. One part closes the large baptismal font in the north nave and the other serves as a pedestal for the reading pulpit or the image of Concepción.


Rúa da Igrexa, 44, 32693 Sandiás, Ourense .


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Iglesia de Santo Estevo

Information of interest

Good conservation. For your visit, contact the Municipality of Sandiás by phone: 0034 988 465 001. Guided tours are available from time to time.


De Juana López, Jesús: A Alta Limia. A terra que medrou vencellada a unha lagoa. Edic. Ir Indo, 1993.

Rodríguez González, Xulio: Discurso Hco e ordenación do territorio. Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, 2013.

Vila Jato, Dolores: Francisco de Moure, Xunta de Galicia, 1991.

Vila Jato, Dolores: El retablo de Vilar de Sandianes, obra de Francisco de Moure. Liceo Franciscano, 1978.



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