In the book that Father Esteban Martínez wrote about the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua, he gives news of an epidemic that severely affected the works. He tells us like this:

“The works continued, at the beginning of 1598, under the direction of Juan de Tolosa; but, a few months later, they suffered another stoppage, perhaps due to the shortage of workers caused by a terrible epidemic that, coming from France, spread rapidly through Spain, becoming more serious in Santander and Galicia. Six of this Jesuit community died, among them the Rector, Fr. Juan Sa, and his successor, Fr. Juan de los Cobos, “an amateur and expert in architecture, who was not content to encourage the workers, but he He himself was working so that the College could be used as soon as possible.

Others left, after resisting for some time, leaving only, for two or three months, Brother Valentín Rodríguez, guarding the house and other property, in the company of some dogs. “

Thus we find news about this epidemic of which it was said.

«La ronda de pan y huevo», obra pintada hacia 1624 por Luis Tristán (1585-1624) – Museo de Santa Cruz

“Starting from the Cantabrian Sea, the plague ravaged Castile between 1598 and 1602, being more virulent in the north and west of the peninsula. Historians such as Bennassar and Pérez Moreda underlined its intensity, with an average mortality rate of over 60%, as well as its dire consequences for the economic development and social balance of the neighborhoods. ” (ABC Toledo 03/05/2020)

“« The plague that struck Vigo in 1598 only left 22 of the 800 existing houses without being infected » Jorge Lamas, Vigo / La Voz 04/11/2020

Felipe Aira, historian from Monforte published in the Voice of Galicia an article in this regard, entitled -Monforte, closed at the end of the 16th century due to the plague and a “cold epidemic” from which we take part of a municipal document of the time.

«En la villa de Monforte de lemos a catorce dias del mes de julio del nobenta y ocho años, el licenciado Ruy gomez corregidor desta villa dixo que por quanto las puertas de esta villa y los postillos de la cerca en las partes que estan caidas y la puerta de nuevo se hiço en la puente y otras que estan en Santo antonio estan mal hechas y todo tiene necesidad de repararse de nuevo y de cerrarse del todo algunos caminos para guardedela peste y que no entren en estadha villa y suarrabaldo persona ninguna de los pueblos inpcionados».

This epidemic was the culprit of another stoppage in the works of the College.



In the biography of the founder of our school in Monforte, D. Rodrigo de Castro Osorio, we find the following dates on his ecclesiastical career:

• Bishop of Zamora from 1574 to 1578
• Bishop of Cuenca from 1578 to 1581,
• Archbishop of Seville since. October 20, 1581 to September 20, 1600
• Cardinal on December 15, 1583, being he already Archbishop of Seville, appointed by Pope Gregory XIII.

In addition, he was a member of the Council of the Kingdom of Spain and of the Supreme Council of the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of Felipe II, who died two years before the Cardinal died in September 1600.

As the works of the school began in 1593, a simple check of dates shows us that when the Nª Sª de la Antigua School began to be built, its promoter Don Rodrigo de Castro Osorio was already a cardinal for ten years, archbishop since 12 years and bishop for 19 years.
These dates should not be relevant except because in the heraldry of the Building in which there are several shields of the Cardinal, we find shields that speak of the three stages of the ecclesiastical life of the Cardinal.

Thus we find shields of the cardinal as bishop, with the cord that comes down from the hat with three tassels on each side. These shields are eight, four are on the pendentives of the dome carried by angels, the work of Francisco de Moure, another two are in granite in the presbytery itself, one on the left over the Cardinal’s tomb and one on the right, over the painting of Nª Señora de la Antigua behind which is the tomb of her mother, the Countess of Lemos Beatriz de Castro “A Fermosa” (1480 – 1570). The other two shields, in walnut wood, crown the Moure altarpiece in the attic of the same, one to the right and the other to the left.

We find another shield, this time as an archbishop, that is, with a hat and a cord with four tassels. It is found in the monumental cloister, in the south panel, matching three other shields: Alba’s house, in front of the Cardinal’s shield; Lemos House to the west and the coat of arms of the Order of PP. Piarists to the east.

Along with these, another magnificent shield, this time cardinal, with a hat and a cord of five tassels that stands magnificently carved in the granite stone of the façade above the church door and under the imposing coat of arms of King Felipe III, surrounded by the golden fleece with its hanging fleece.
There are many unanswered questions to this. Why is it that all the shields are not those that corresponded to him as a cardinal? Is that distribution intentional? What was the intention behind the distribution?
I think that the message that Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro wanted to send is simple and simple and triple:
For the church I am a bishop – which is the highest degree of the priestly order – For this reason the eight episcopal shields are found within the church.
For the palace I am an archbishop. The archiepiscopal shield is found in the monumental cloister, the living area of ​​the religious community. Since being Archbishop is nothing more than an appointment of an administrative-managerial type, an archbishop is nothing more than “a coordinator of bishops”, but being an archbishop does not add anything to being a bishop in terms of the sacrament of orders.

I am a cardinal to the world. That is why the only cardinal’s shield appears on the façade, in the center, under that of the king. It is a princely title, a Cardinal is an official of the Catholic Church, a member of the Vatican College of Cardinals. His main function is to help and advise the Pope in the decisions and purposes of him to fulfill. The title of Cardinal is imposed only by the Pope and represents one of the highest endowments in the Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church.

The etymology of the word Cardinal perfectly describes its function, as it comes from the Latin “Cardo” which means “Hinge or Support Point”. The axis on which all the weight rotates….



In the center of the façade and on the door of the church is the dedication that tries to explain the existence and destiny of the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua. The inscription reads like this:


Father Esteban in his magnificent book on the school of Nº Sª de la Antigua makes the following translation:

Cardinal D. Rodrigo de Castro; Archbishop of Seville, donates to the Society of Jesus for the use of the youth temple and school consecrated to the Virgin Mary.

This translation is something free and omits some element and adds others that do not appear in the dedication. Thus, the treatment of “Don” to the Cardinal does not seem to be justified from the inscription itself, as well as the “consecration” of the temple and school to the Virgin Mary.

The abbreviation “M” at the end of the third line is not clarified either. It is also understood that due to the reduced space and the visibility that the text must have from the height of the street, some particles are omitted and words are abbreviated, which in the end ends up causing difficulty in interpreting the text.

On the “Don” it is undoubtedly an addition of Fr. Esteban since it does not appear in the inscription nor is it usual to place it before the name of the cardinals. Similarly, the idea of ​​the “consecration” of the temple does not seem to be justified in the text.

On the “M” at the end of the third line, we see that it is preceded by the particle IN, which translated by “EN” opens up two explanations:

  1. You can refer to a place. If this is so, the “M” would represent a place and there is no other explanation in this case than to refer to “Monforte”.
  2. Another explanation with more possibilities would explain the intention of the dedication and we would have to see after the “M” the Latin word Memoriam. IN MEMORIAM, this would be telling us that the inscription is an invitation to remember the Cardinal for what he did.

Therefore, I dare to suggest a new translation of the said dedication, which, without varying much in essence from what Father Esteban indicated, I think is more in line with the literalness of this beautiful stone inscription. It would be like this:

In latin:


The first option and in the most understandable Spanish

In memory of Rodrigo, Cardinal de Castro, Archbishop of Seville, who donated the Temple of the Virgin Mary and the College to the Society of Jesus for the use of the youth.

The second option would be

Rodrigo, Cardinal de Castro, Archbishop of Seville, who donated to the Society of Jesus in Monforte the Temple of the Virgin Mary and the College for the use of the youth.



· 7:00 p.m. Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
· 8:00 p.m. Holy Hour


· 19:00 h Holy Offices
· 20:00 h Stations of the Cross


The celebration of the Easter Vigil will be in Santa María de la Regoa. In the Church of the College of the Piarists there will be no Easter Vigil.


· 11:00 h Celebration of the Easter Holy Mass .
· 12:00 h Celebration of the Holy Easter Mass


In the College of Frs. Piarists, we can see several shields of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro. Some of them are different, due to the number of tassels in the final line of the net that appear in it.

This is due to two reasons

1st When they carve a shield the cardinal was not yet one and then three or four tassels may appear.

2º That the stonemason has not found enough space to carve the five tassels in the stone and carves so that one or two are hidden behind the shield, as is the case with the shields that are seen in our building

The number of tassels identifies the ecclesiastical dignity of the shield in question, giving us notice whether it is a priest, a bishop or a cardinal…. Check the following link and you will have enough information to understand the shields of our school.


During Easter 2021 and while the restrictions established by COVID-19 last, visits will be in small groups, maintaining visiting hours from Saturday, March 27 to April to April 5 with the following schedule.

• Mornings two sessions……….: 11:00 and 12:45

• Afternoons two sessions ……: 17:15 and 18:30.

Please ensure and arrange your visit through the Monforte de Lemos Tourist Office: Tel: +34 982404715

VISIT OF THE COSELLEIRO DE CULTURA On the occasion of the next

intervention of the Patrimony of the Xunta in the vault of the presbytery of our Church of Nª Sª de la Antigua, today we have been visited by the Councilor for Culture D. Román Rodríguez González, accompanied by other authorities of the Xunta and the City Council of Monforte de Lemos as well as Father Javier Agudo, Manager of the Foundation, and Mr. Pablo Blanco and Mr. Jorge Valcárcel, Director and Manager of the School, respectively.

Don Manuel Freire, architect in charge of the restoration project, explained in detail the points of intervention and the precautions that must be taken for the successful completion of the work that I will begin shortly.


Today March 12, 2021, the decree that formalizes the declaration as an asset of cultural interest of the Colegio de la Compañía de Monforte de Lemos appears published in the DOGA, completing a process that began in the 2016. That year, the Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Antigua foundation presented a request to the Galician Government to initiate a file to declare the historic building as BIC.

The “Colegio de la Compañía” acquires the rank of BIC.

The Consello da Xunta will approve today February 25 the decree that confers the BIC category to the building. Indeed, the Xunta will today approve the decree that will formalize the declaration as an asset of cultural interest (BIC) of the “Colegio de la Compañía” of Monforte de Lemos, a category that was requested by the Fundación Colegio Nª Sª de la Antigua in 2016.

After the request, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage began the preparation of a specific report and consulted on the matter, the opinion of its advisory and consultative bodies.

Already in 2019, the file requested by the FCNSdlA was initiated and the procedures began while the protection measures established for monuments with BIC category were provisionally expanded.

The file was endorsed by a report from the Royal Galician Academy of Fine Arts and another from the Consello da Cultura Gallega that proposed a series of improvements to be taken into consideration to give greater solidity to the declaration that is materialized today.