Sanctuary of the Caravaca de la Cruz – Cross of Caravaca meaning

Santuario de la Santísima y Vera Cruz, Caravaca de la Cruz, Španija

Website of the Sanctuary

+ 34 968 707 528

Every day from 8.00 to 19.00

Sanctuary of the Caravaca de la Cruz – Cross of Caravaca

Caravaca de la Cruz is the fifth holy city of the world after Santiago de Compostela, Santo Toribio de Liébana, Rome and Jerusalem.

Therefore, in this location Holy Year is celebrated every seven years and one can achieve jubilee,plenary, solemn and universal indulgence. The next Holy Year will be in 2017.

The most genuine and original shrine of the Lignum Crucis, in the Middle Ages, was one of the towers that were integrated simultaneously inside and outside the castle fortress, today coincides with the main chapel and part of the presbytery the current Royal Basilica of Vera Cruz.

Its parts are: the Torre de la Vera Cruz, the Holy Relic is housed and Chapel of Spells.

Coming to Caravaca and having the best stay:

Here you can get beautiful crosses of the Caravaca de la Cruz

Guides and tours in Caravaca

Minor Basilica of the Caravaca de la Cruz

From december 3, 2007 the Temple of Vera Cruz de Caravaca was proclaimed Basilica, title granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Thus, the following days are instituted to commemorate the Basilica:

      • February 2: Day of the dedication of the basilica title
      • February 22: Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
      • March 13: Anniversary of the election of Francisco to the Chair of Peter.
      • June 29: Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
      • August 15: Feast of the Assumption
      • December 3: Anniversary of the grant of the Basilica of the Holy See.
      • Granting the title of Minor Basilica to the Sanctuary of Vera Cruz de Caravaca.

See more Catholic shrines and Basilicas in Spain.

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History of the Cross – Caravaca de la Cruz

According to tradition, the then King of Valencia and Murcia, one Abu-Ceyt, was residing in Caravaca and determined to find out more about the Christian prisoners held there. The curious King requested that one, a priest, hold a mass in the castle and the necessary vestments and materials were sent for.

On 3 May 1232, the priest began his mass before the King and his court. He stopped when he realised that he had no cross on the altar. At this moment, two angels came through a window in the room with what became known as the Cross of Caravaca.

Caravaca de la Cruz

The King and many of his court converted to Christianity. It was believed that the cross was made from a fragment of the cross upon which Christ had been crucified, which had, in turn, been discovered in Jerusalem in the 4th Century by Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.

There is another legend about Caravaca. In the 15th century, the town passed to the Knights Templar, who built the castle that still stands over the town. At one time the Knights Templar and the people in the town took refuge in the castle when the Moors put it under siege. The water in the castle became unusable and many people fell sick.

Some knights crept out of the castle at night to find water, but many of the neighboring wells had been poisoned by the Moors. The knights only found wine, which they put in wineskins and raced back to the castle on their horses. The Moors spotted them and raced after them, but the knights made it to the castle in time to save themselves.

Caravaca de la Cruz

The wine was blessed in the presence of the Caravaca Cross and served to the people who were sick. These people recovered immediately, so the wine was mixed with the undrinkable water in the storage tanks. The water became fresh and the Christians were able to resist the enemy.

Eleven years later, Murcia came under Christian control, with Caravaca a bastion thereafter against the Moors to the south in Granada. In 1344, Alfonso XI gave Caravaca, to the religious-military Order of Santiago, under whose control it remained until such orders were abolished in the 19th Century.

Clearly, in these early times, the Caravaca Cross, and the story behind it, would have held a significant unifying and rallying function among the Christian population of the area and have helped to justify the building of the Fortress and Church of the True Cross on top of the hill above the town

The Caravaca Cross is called a lignum crucis, because it contains a fragment of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, was supposed to have found the true cross in Jerusalem in the 4th century. In 1099 this cross was owned by the patriarch Robert of Jerusalem. During the 6th Crusade, in 1230 when Jerusalem fell back into the hands of the Emperor Frederick II, the relic was in the possession of the bishop in that city. It then disappeared and suddenly appeared in Caravaca two years later. Today the town of Caravaca is the 3rd largest pilgrimage center in Spain because of the True Cross.

It is a symbol that for historical and religious circumstances has become the sign of identity of the city. The epithet triple title reflects its most essential features. It is a story of Spanish border Granada against Muslim; a city that is the result of a symbol: the True Cross that gives name; a tradition that is condensed in the rituals and celebrations of the festivities in May.

Vera Cruz acquired the fame of special cross early in medieval Spain and later in much of Christianity in Europe and America. Information were spread from California, to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina as well as to Hungary and Poland.

Caravaca de la Cruz

It has been honored by the Church with the title of Vera (true) Cruz and in the official liturgy. Therefore it presides at the celebration of the Mass, its used for blessings and moving processions.

The Santísima Vera Cruz festivities – 1 and 5 May

The Santísima Vera Cruz festivities take place between 1 and 5 May. The two main highlights are the colourful Caballos del Vino and Moors and Christians parades. On the third Sunday of each month there is a Pilgrims’ Market selling typical products and crafts.

The Social Tradition – Giving the copies of the Caravaca de la Cruz

When the Spanish landed in the Americas, the Franciscan missionaries brought copies of the Caravaca Cross to all parts of the New World, where it gained fame and devotion. It has become an amulet, to protect the wearer against all evil. Today it is the custom in Spain and other countries to give a small Caravaca Cross to friends as a symbol of affection, peace and love.

Here you can get beautiful crosses of the Caravaca de la Cruz

The beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz

The beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz is located to the northwest of the Murcia province. In the houses that extend around the castle there are beautiful examples of the Murcian Renaissance.

The area where Caravaca is located was already inhabited by the Argaric, Iberian, and Roman cultures, but the origins of its urban structure must be sought in its Moorish past. After the Reconquista, these territories began to be governed by the Templar Order and then by the Order of Saint James.

At the time, during the 16th and 17th centuries, this was Caravaca’s period of splendour, as it became the political centre of a vast territory. Therefore this town has a vast monumental catalogue, fruit of its historical importance.

One of the main features is the castle that rises up above Caravaca’s urban layout. It is of Muslim origin and was extended in the 15th century by the Patronage of the Templars and later belonged to the Order of Saint James.

Caravaca de la Cruz

Its 14 towers are there to safeguard the shrine of the Santísima Vera Cruz which were built in its centre in the 17th century. The façade, which was built a century later, is Baroque style. The site is a Historic-Artistic Monument and its interior houses the Museum of Sacred Art and History.

One of the religious constructions considered a crowning work of the Murcian Renaissance is found in Caravaca. It is the church of Salvador, which has been declared a Historic Artistic Monument.

The cultural tour is completed by the church of Soledad, which today is the Archaeological Museum; the Carmelitas Convent, founded by Saint John of the Cross; and the Purísima Concepción, which was built in the 16th century on the site of the ancient Cofradía Hospitalaria de San Juan de Letrán Church.

Of Renaissance origin, within its interior there are beautiful Mudejar cofferings and Baroque altar pieces.

 

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Minor Basilica

From december 3, 2007 the Temple of Vera Cruz de Caravaca was proclaimed Basilica, title granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Thus, the following days are instituted to commemorate the Basilica:

  • February 2: Day of the dedication of the basilica title
  • February 22: Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
  • March 13: Anniversary of the election of Francisco to the Chair of Peter.
  • June 29: Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
  • August 15: Feast of the Assumption
  • December 3: Anniversary of the grant of the Basilica of the Holy See.
  • Granting the title of Minor Basilica to the Sanctuary of Vera Cruz de Caravaca.

The Santísima Vera Cruz festivities – 1 and 5 May

The Santísima Vera Cruz festivities take place between 1 and 5 May. The two main highlights are the colourful Caballos del Vino and Moors and Christians parades. On the third Sunday of each month there is a Pilgrims’ Market selling typical products and crafts.

The Social Tradition – Giving the copies of the Cross of Caravaca

When the Spanish landed in the Americas, the Franciscan missionaries brought copies of the Caravaca Cross to all parts of the New World, where it gained fame and devotion. It has become an amulet, to protect the wearer against all evil. Today it is the custom in Spain and other countries to give a small Caravaca Cross to friends as a symbol of affection, peace and love.

The beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz

The beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz is located to the northwest of the Murcia province. In the houses that extend around the castle there are beautiful examples of the Murcian Renaissance.

The area where Caravaca is located was already inhabited by the Argaric, Iberian, and Roman cultures, but the origins of its urban structure must be sought in its Moorish past. After the Reconquista, these territories began to be governed by the Templar Order and then by the Order of Saint James. At the time, during the 16th and 17th centuries, this was Caravaca’s period of splendour, as it became the political centre of a vast territory. Therefore this town has a vast monumental catalogue, fruit of its historical importance.

One of the main features is the castle that rises up above Caravaca’s urban layout. It is of Muslim origin and was extended in the 15th century by the Patronage of the Templars and later belonged to the Order of Saint James. Its 14 towers are there to safeguard the shrine of the Santísima Vera Cruz which were built in its centre in the 17th century. The façade, which was built a century later, is Baroque style. The site is a Historic-Artistic Monument and its interior houses the Museum of Sacred Art and History.

One of the religious constructions considered a crowning work of the Murcian Renaissance is found in Caravaca. It is the church of Salvador, which has been declared a Historic Artistic Monument. The cultural tour is completed by the church of Soledad, which today is the Archaeological Museum; the Carmelitas Convent, founded by Saint John of the Cross; and the Purísima Concepción, which was built in the 16th century on the site of the ancient Cofradía Hospitalaria de San Juan de Letrán Church. Of Renaissance origin, within its interior there are beautiful Mudejar cofferings and Baroque altar pieces.

In addition, Caravaca de la Cruz is the fifth holy city of the world after Santiago de Compostela, Santo Toribio de Liébana, Rome and Jerusalem. Therefore, in this location Holy Year is celebrated every seven years and one can achieve jubilee,plenary, solemn and universal indulgence. The next Holy Year will be in 2017.

Blessed and Vera Cruz de Caravaca

There is a secular and historical recognition by the Church to the Vera Cruz de Caravaca, about the legitimacy of public and private liturgical worship, in the tradition and canonical norms. The granting of indulgences is clear from numerous documents and papal bulls from 1392. In 1736 had been granted the worship like the Eucharist.

The cult and devotion to the Cross offers abundant and repeated official confirmation of the Church. It’s not only a devotion based on the particular tradition of the people, but integrated historical, liturgical and devotionally in Christian and ecclesial community.

In 1285 the cross appears on the shield of the Council, according to the description although it is not specified that it was the double arm.

Summing up the news we have, we can establish the following landmarks on the age of the presence and knowledge of the Cross:

The miraculous charisma of the Cross spreads from the start. The most surprising fact, narrated and written in 1348 together with the Apparition, refers to the achievement of the boy-squire who saves the relic from a violent fire, surrounding the altar and taking the box in which the Cross was deposited.

In 1354 the title of Vera Cruz certainly appears in an open letter to the Head of Santiago Caravaca Council, confirming the jurisdiction of the village and all the privileges granted by previous Masters (AMC scrolls 1/1). Awards and grants are made to people and use half of the mill and what was sent and given to Vera Cruz. The reference is clear and indicates the last attribute that was given to the relic as specific and particular nickname.

In 1392 Pope Clement VII in his bull, granting leniency to the Cross and his chapel. Large crowd arge coming from all over Spain, attracted by the fame of miracles acquired by the relic.

History of the Cross of Caravaca

According to tradition, the then King of Valencia and Murcia, one Abu-Ceyt, was residing in Caravaca and determined to find out more about the Christian prisoners held there. The curious King requested that one, a priest, hold a mass in the castle and the necessary vestments and materials were sent for.

On 3 May 1232, the priest began his mass before the King and his court. He stopped when he realised that he had no cross on the altar. At this moment, two angels came through a window in the room with what became known as the Cross of Caravaca. The King and many of his court converted to Christianity. It was believed that the cross was made from a fragment of the cross upon which Christ had been crucified, which had, in turn, been discovered in Jerusalem in the 4th Century by Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.

There is another legend about Caravaca. In the 15th century, the town passed to the Knights Templar, who built the castle that still stands over the town. At one time the Knights Templar and the people in the town took refuge in the castle when the Moors put it under siege. The water in the castle became unusable and many people fell sick. Some knights crept out of the castle at night to find water, but many of the neighboring wells had been poisoned by the Moors. The knights only found wine, which they put in wineskins and raced back to the castle on their horses. The Moors spotted them and raced after them, but the knights made it to the castle in time to save themselves. The wine was blessed in the presence of the Caravaca Cross and served to the people who were sick. These people recovered immediately, so the wine was mixed with the undrinkable water in the storage tanks. The water became fresh and the Christians were able to resist the enemy.

Eleven years later, Murcia came under Christian control, with Caravaca a bastion thereafter against the Moors to the south in Granada. In 1344, Alfonso XI gave Caravaca, to the religious-military Order of Santiago, under whose control it remained until such orders were abolished in the 19th Century. Clearly, in these early times, the Caravaca Cross, and the story behind it, would have held a significant unifying and rallying function among the Christian population of the area and have helped to justify the building of the Fortress and Church of the True Cross on top of the hill above the town

The Caravaca Cross is called a lignum crucis, because it contains a fragment of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, was supposed to have found the true cross in Jerusalem in the 4th century. In 1099 this cross was owned by the patriarch Robert of Jerusalem. During the 6th Crusade, in 1230 when Jerusalem fell back into the hands of the Emperor Frederick II, the relic was in the possession of the bishop in that city. It then disappeared and suddenly appeared in Caravaca two years later. Today the town of Caravaca is the 3rd largest pilgrimage center in Spain because of the True Cross.

It is a symbol that for historical and religious circumstances has become the sign of identity of the city. The epithet triple title reflects its most essential features. It is a story of Spanish border Granada against Muslim; a city that is the result of a symbol: the True Cross that gives name; a tradition that is condensed in the rituals and celebrations of the festivities in May.

Vera Cruz acquired the fame of special cross early in medieval Spain and later in much of Christianity in Europe and America. Information were spread from California, to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina as well as to Hungary and Poland.

It has been honored by the Church with the title of Vera (true) Cruz and in the official liturgy. Therefore it presides at the celebration of the Mass, its used for blessings and moving processions.

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