Sant Cristòfol monastery in Ibiza is, with difference, the most ancient of the current insular institutions. Its foundation goes back to September 16, 1599, when four devote women of the town started a communal life with the intention of founding a monastery. These were times of religious effervescence, and of a desire for a Church reform, as a result of the Council of Trent. Soon they were joined by two more aspirants. This béguinage was possible thanks to the magnanimity of the then General Vicar, Antonio Andreu, who donated all his goods and inheritance, and became chaplain and confessor of the institution. Before this, he had changed his home for Presbyter Andrés Jover, located in Vila Mitjana, a more adequate place to build the monastery. To this bequest, the fortune of one of the founders, the widowed Catalina Aimeric, was added. To ensure its future, the University, local governing power, granted as perpetual alms some money for each certain amount of exported salt given. Not a year had gone by when the arrangements to create this new community started, following the aforementioned council. The first attempts of two Clarisse nuns from Tarragona (the dioceses to which the Pityusic Islands belonged) failed. Therefore, once the bishop of Mallorca’s permission was granted, three professed nuns from Santa Magdalena monastery, in Palma, came to the institution. They disembarked on June 6, 1600, and were received by the authorities and the inhabitants with great solemnity and joy. And so, the teaching of the Rule of Saint Augustine began. It is based on three main principles: love, prayer, and liturgical life as central activities, and life in community (poverty, obedience and chastity). The success of this task cannot be doubted. During the first year of Augustinian canonical life, thirteen novices were admitted. The following years led to the admittance of a large number of women of all social conditions. The most costly and difficult part due to the period of hardship and the lack of resources was to adapt the old houses to the monastic life. The construction of the church and other premises started, and this task lasted for many years. The building from the 17th century was demolished in 1961, and rebuilt again in decades until becoming what it is today. However, the inside of this modern building still preserves many of the historical-artistic objects that have been accumulated throughout the almost four hundred years of history of this house. Inside the church, we can highlight the main altarpiece from 1685 in carved golden polychromatic wood, by artist Pere Serra from Barcelona. It is dedicated to Saint Christopher, whose image occupies the central panel. To its right we find the figure of Saint Andrew, and to the left, the image of Saint Augustine. In the top niche we find the image of Saint Joseph. There are other minor bas-reliefs that complete the iconographic ensemble: in the predella, two medallions of saints from the canonical order, between Saint Vincent Ferrer, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Anthony the Abbot; to both sides of the tabernacle-exhibitor, High Priests Aarón and Melquisedec; in the top body, two medallions of blessed nuns and angels. Also worth noting are the two 17th-century canvases hung on both sides of the chancel, probably Italian. They are dedicated to the Passion of Christ (Crucifixion and Descent). Another painting is the one of San Roch, Saint Peter, and Saint Catherine the Martyr, from the Valencian school, also from the 17th century. The carving of the Pietà is from a rococo aesthetic altarpiece (18th century) that belonged to a side chapel in the old church, currently in the parochial church of Sant Francesc Xavier (Formentera). Finally, we have to mention the water font, a fine Genoese Baroque piece.
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Fomento del Turismo de la Isla de Ibiza (Island of Ibiza Tourism Development) is an association founded by a group of forward-looking people who set themselves the task of stimulating, promoting and developing the island's budding tourist industry.