Iglesia de San José

Tel: (507) 228-8943

Address: Avenida A y, Calle 8a Oeste, Panamá, Panama

Iglesia de San José in Casco Viejo owns the Altar de Oro (Golden Altar) which is believed to be the only historical artefact miraculously saved after Henry Morgan’s sacking of Panamá Viejo. 


Local legend has it that a pastor painted the Altar de Oro in black after Panamá Viejo was informed about Henry Morgan reaching the city. When Morgan arrived at the church, the pastor lied to him that the altar had been stolen by another pirate. In turn, the pastor requested Morgan to make a dedication to the church in order to replace the black altar. 


It is said that Morgan replied to the pastor, “I do not know why, but you are like a pirate more than I am.” This line now seems to come with implication.


Whether the legend is true or not, the Altar de Oro was later moved to the current Iglesia de San José and has been preserved to this day.