The Capilla del Señor de la Expiración (Chapel of the Lord of the Expiration) is a tiny seldom-opened chapel on the edge of the Plaza de Santo Domingo. The building likely dates from 1590 although it was renovated numerous times over the centuries.
The chapel was one of four marking the corners of the old atrium. “Posa Chapels,” literally pause chapels, were used as reflection points or stops during processions, and some are thought to have been used for study sessions. Their exact historical function is not well documented but they were unique to the architecture of New Spain. That likely indicates their use in evangelizing the large numbers of people here.
Unfortunately the other three chapels were already gone by the 17th century. By the latter half of the 18th century it was rebuilt with the floor plan and style we see today. When the old wall surrounding the atrium was removed in 1861, this small chapel remained.
Like much of the surrounding Santo Domingo area, it’s but one part of historic complex which is today fragmented across a few remaining historic sites.
The northern part of the plaza, that immediately out front of the Capilla del Señor de la Expiración was renamed in honor of the student movement of 1929. That series of actions led to autonomy to all Mexican universities, and it’s commemorated on May 23rd (Students’ Day in Mexico). The plaza here was thus renamed the Plaza de 23 de mayo.
When the Dominican convent was designed in the capital of the viceroyalty, a corner of the property was set aside for a temple and atrium. The temple survives on the site to this day, but the wall that delimited the atrium fell down in the 19th century. In the atrium there were several chapels to accommodate neighbors and devotees organized in brotherhoods or confraternities. For the XVII century the Dominicans propitiated the creation of a brotherhood of blacks and mulattoes dedicated to Christ in his expiration and the Virgin of Consolation, the chapel was rebuilt in the XVIII century and had four altars with altarpieces. Today it is the only chapel that survives in the space making up the atrium of Santo Domingo. It was the site of the repression orchestrated by police and firemen against students of the University on May 23, 1929, which led to Autonomy for the National University.
Proyecto “Corredor de Cultura Digital”.
Nombre de la investigación: Investigación Centro Histórico, Monumentos, Edificios y Puntos de Interés (2023)
Dirección de investigación y diseño de Rutas: Acércate al Centro A.C. Guadalupe Gómez Collada
Coordinación e investigación histórica: Fideicomiso del Centro histórico Dir. Maestra Loredana Montes