antigua guatemala church
photo: Antigua Cultural
Points of Interest

Iglesia de San Francisco

San Francisco Church is one of the most frequented sanctuaries by the local population because of the shrine of Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur (Santo Hermano Pedro).
When Franciscan missionaries arrived in Guatemala from Spain in 1530 they were assigned 120 villages by the civil authorities.[1] They were the first to move to the Panchoy Valley in 1541 where they built a church at the site of today’s School of Christ (Escuela de Cristo). This chapel was severely damaged in 1565 and during the next ten years donations were collected to build a new sanctuary located two blocks away in 1579. Parts of this construction, maybe the only ones in Antigua which date back to the 16th century, can be appreciated at one side of today’s sanctuary. San Francisco el Grande became a significant religious and cultural center for the whole region.