Photos: Catedrales e Iglesias/Cathedrals and Churches, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
The San Antonio de Padua Church in Xotepingo is part of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. That’s the church that moved from the current Chancellery Museum to the La Profesa Church in the city center. In the 1960s, they expanded southward to take over the Parish of San Pablo Tepetlapa. As a very old parish in one of just seven original settlements in Coyoacán, they soon needed a bigger church.
Saint Anthony of Padua had long been the patron saint of the Coapa Hacienda, which had dominated this part of the City throughout most of the later colonial period. From 1962 through 1966, the parish built this new church on the side of División del Norte Avenue. A priest named Miguel Herrera had already worked on the beloved Chapel of El Rosedal, considered the masterpiece of Architect, Alberto González Pozo. In this case, Pozo was counted on for a much larger structure. Pozo’s plan called for two narrow mirrored trapezoids to form the nave. Seating was to be provided for 380 people. And atriums were planned for both ends of the structure. Only one atrium was built.
The imposing roof was designed to be built in sections so that the church could pay for them over time adding a section each year or so as funds were collected. Each section is thus entirely free-standing, and even the main façade stands independently of the rest of the building. Inside are two small chapels. One is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and the other to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
There also multiple stained glass windows. Artist José Reyes Meza, who’d often collaborated with Pozo, designed these and the ceramic mosaic works covering the façade and the bell tower. The San Antonio de Padua bell tower was added only in 1976. Formally, it may help to explain the later sculpture installed at the entrance to the Xotepingo Park just up the Calzada de Tlalpan.
Iván San Martín Córdova, 2016, Estructura, abstracción y sacralidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México