Dating from 1663, the Iglesia de los Trinitarios Descalzos as it was first known, was the third home of the “Order of Descalzed Nuns” of Ronda, who nowadays are located in the convent attached to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced.
The plaza in front of the church, Plaza Los Descalzos, still retains the name of the order.
An older Christian chapel, the “Ermita del Cristo de las Penas o Peñas” occupied this site from mid 16th century, being demolished to make way for the church you see today. In 1836 the Descalzed Order vacated the church and convent, and a school was established on the site using the church as their chapel.
In 1875, the Iglesia de Padre Jesús was consecrated on its current site. It was previously known as the parish church of Santa Cecilia. The Iglesia de los Trinitarios Descalzos, which was not in use, was then converted and re-consecrated as a replacement Iglesia de Santa Cecilia. This name has been retained ever since.
Santa Cecilia stands out in Ronda due to its highly ornate Baroque entrance. Paired Tuscan columns frame both the main doors and the upper window, which is crowned by a papal cross. Adjacent to the main entrance, there is a smaller entrance with a small balcony, which the Bishop can use to address the congregation.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Iglesia de Santa Cecilia was briefly used as headquarters for Republican troops. As a result, it suffered less damage than other churches that were ransacked by socialist troops, and many of their treasures were stolen or destroyed.
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