This church was built in the 14th century in Gothic style. In the 16th century it underwent a great refurbishment, as the delicate Gothic columns did not support the vault of the central nave and it had to be completely dismantled.
The patron saint of Burgos, Saint Lesmes, is buried here. This saint was born around the year 1035 in the village of Loudun, in the French region of Poitou. In his youth he enlisted in the army, following in his father’s footsteps. Years later he decided to leave the military life and began a pilgrimage to Rome. While passing through the Auvergne he met Abbot Robert who had just founded the monastery of La Chaise Dieu. On his return from the Holy City, he decided to remain as a monk in this monastery, of which he became abbot.
Queen Constanza, wife of Alfonso VI, requested his presence in Castile. Lesmes, together with twelve monks who accompanied him, settled in Burgos in a very simple house next to the church of Saint John Evangelist, whose worship he took charge of. He also took charge of the pilgrims’ hospital founded in 1070 by King Alfonso. His experience as a pilgrim and traveller along the Jacobean route to Le Puy made him a pioneer of hospitality. In our city he provided accommodation, food, care and alms to the pilgrims who came here.
A versatile man, he built a bridge and contributed to the draining of the marshy area of the Vadillos by means of “esguevas”. He was also an advisor to the court of Alfonso VI and laid the foundations of the Monastery of Saint John. But, above all, he stood out for his charity towards the neediest and towards all the pilgrims who passed through Burgos on their way to Saint James of Compostela. His feast day is celebrated on 30 January.