There must be a good couple of dozen churches in Palma and some of them are amongst the finest. The Oratorio del Temple is such a jewel of a church, albeit of a small dimension, situated in the precinct of Es Temple and dating back to the 13th century. Sadly, the oratory seems not to be in use any longer with the exception of perhaps two church services per year (Easter and Christmas). Access will be granted though for brief visits upon application, or for private functions with a religious motive (weddings or christenings). One simply rings the bell at the rectory.
The old fortified enclosure of Es Temple was known during the Almoravids period as the Almudaina de Gumara and presented a gateway to the city of Medina Mayurqa. At the time of the conquest of 1229, the enclosure was granted to the Knights Templar (the Order of the Temple). The Templars proceeded to build a small church here in the Gothic style. In 1311-12, this military order disappeared at the behest of the Council of Vienne, and possession passed into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller (the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem). The name of Temple was maintained, and what remains of the fortified enclosure today still bears that name.
The church property was confiscated during the Ecclesiastical Desamortización in the 19th century. I am not sure as to when the Spanish church regained possession of the oratory of El Temple; it certainly did and it may well have been at the beginning of the 20th century.
The photo was chosen from my archive. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 19th, 2008. The time was 17:42:48.
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