• 1612 – Original church construction started in Panama Viejo, but it collapsed before it was inaugurated
  • 1675 – This church built in Casco Antiguo
  • Protects the famous Altar de Oro (Golden Altar), the sole relic salvaged after Henry Morgan sacked Panama Viejo in 1671
  • Not solid gold but carved mahogany covered with gold leaf

According to local legend, when word came of the pirate’s impending attack, a priest attempted to disguise the altar by painting it black. The priest told Morgan that the famous altar had been stolen by another pirate, and even convinced Morgan to donate handsomely for its replacement. Morgan is said to have told the priest, ‘I don’t know why, but I think you are more of a pirate than I am.’


  • Studies place the altar’s stylistic details in the 18th century, casting doubt on this legend


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