Originally it was a parish under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist, and then turned into a chapel. In the eighteenth century, it became a Franciscan friary. It must have been this new function which motivated a series of important works in the building which disguised, but not destroyed, almost all of the Romanesque construction. Only after recent interventions, numerous Romanesque elements remaining from the oldest building were uncovered.
The temple currently consists of a rectangular head, transept, a dome and a single nave divided into three sections covered by groin vault and separated by arches on pilasters .
Among the most noteworthy Romanesque remains are the nave, preserved on the south side, where the original door was located, and is now blinded. The head is also Romanesque, although, part of it was destroyed along with the beginning of the nave to open up the transept. At this time, the walls of the nave were also built up. However, you will still see the rows of corbels, mutilated on the north side , but well visible on the southern side . The gable of the temple is also built with ashlars and can be dated back to the Romanesque era. However, the belfry is Baroque.
Despite the changes, there is still evidence of a medieval building of considerable size and good construction , undoubtedly one of the most important Romanesque testimonies preserved in Sayago, which proves the importance of the town in those days.
Works are focused on the restoration of the two side altars of the temple, dedicated to San Pedro of Alcantara and the Virgin of the Annunciation. They are from the Baroque period and are made of gilded and polychrome wood. Over time, dirt and loss of polychrome has made the deterioration evident in both pieces, especially the altarpiece of San Pedro de Alcantara, which will have to be dismantled for restoration.
After a preliminary phase of investigation and analysis of the altarpieces, the technicians of the Rearasa company in Zamora will clean and then proceed to apply various methods of consolidation, both to the wood stand as well as the pictorial layers , and to apply the necessary fungal and insect treatments. Finally, any cracks or other damage will be repaired by reversible procedures to ensure proper presentation and artistic and historical interpretation of the altarpieces.
The intervention will continue with the renovation and modernization of the electrical installation of the temple, placing new points of LED technology, enabling greater light output and lower consumption. Besides being more efficient and sustainable, new points will be used to enhance the lighting of the temple and feature artistic elements such as altarpieces or the presbytery.
The project will finish with the monitoring of the sanctuary. Technicians from the Santa María la Real Foundation will apply the Preventive Conservation System MHS. Wireless sensors will be placed at strategic locations that will measure, record and control the building's environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) to ensure optimal preservation of the building itself as well as all the goods housed inside. Following the restoration of the two altarpieces, various sensors will be placed on them to control the amount of light they receive which could damage them once restored.
The MHS system also includes safety as one of its functions. The installation of motion and smoke detectors will ensure better prevention against possible incidents.