Photos: Catedrales e Iglesias/Cathedrals and Churches, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
The Church of Santa María de los Apóstoles is a prominent church along the Periférico Sur highway in Coyoacán. In the Bosques de Telameya neighborhood, it’s technically just south of the Estadio Azteca. It’s also one of the main sources of novias, brides and brides-to-be, who use the Parque de las Novias as a backdrop for photos. The park is thus named in their honor. It’s just a few blocks directly to the east/northeast.
The church was built between 1967 and 1968 as a chapel, dependent on San Agustín de las Cuevas, and intended for use by Olympic athletes and visitors. It became a parish in its own right only in 1982. The building is acclaimed for the innovative use of “light structures.” This was designed by architect Alberto González Pozo. A disciple of Enrique De la Mora, he collaborated here with architects Eduardo Ibargüengoitia and Juan Antonio Tonda Magallón who did the structural design.
The donated land left no room for an atrium. But the church’s great location gave it prominence and its still plainly visible from the busy highway. The square nave is covered by four symmetrical and equilateral hyperbolic paraboloid cloaks. These bear nicely rounded corners and provide cover for some 450 seats. Pozo also designed the presbytery, the altar, and the choir area. Fray Gabriel Chávez de la Mora, architect and Benedictine friar, also designed many aspects of the church interior.
Four massive stained-glass windows came from José Reyes Meza who made them in the workshop of José de las Peñas. Three are abstract, based on a stylized pentagram of a Benedictine chant. A fourth, behind the altar, depicts the Virgin Mary with the twelve apostles. Reyes was known as a figurative painter convinced by Pozo to complete this project.