The Cross of Caravaca

November 1, 2018

Castle and Basilica of Vera Cruz, located within the Real Alcázar of Islamic origins, in Caravaca de la Cruz, Spain.

At the time that the Moors had subjugated the greater part of Spain it happened that a certain [Muslim] King of Caravaca¹, who held captive a large number of Catholics, felt his heart touched with compassion for them. He ordered them to be set at liberty, and bade them all appear in his presence. He then asked each one individually what was his trade or handiwork, and gave him permission to exercise it. Amongst the released prisoners there was a priest², who, when asked that question, replied that his calling was that of one who was empowered to bring down Almighty God Himself from Heaven to earth.

Baroque façade of the Vera Cruz Church.

And when the king expressed the desire that he should give proof of this power, he replied that it would be impossible for him to do so unless he had everything that was required by Catholics for the celebration of the Holy Mass. The king then commanded the priest to make a list of everything that was necessary, and he would see that they were provided. The priest wrote down everything with one exception: he quite forgot the crucifix. He did not notice this omission until everything else had been procured, and he was about to begin the Mass. He was much concerned, and hesitated whether he ought to say Mass without it. The king, perceiving that there was something wrong, thought that he was not quite master of his art, and asked why he was troubled. The priest did not conceal the cause of his vexation, but told the king that he had omitted to mention the crucifix, and did not feel certain whether it would be right to celebrate the Mass without it.


While he was earnestly entreating the help of God in this difficulty, behold! the vaulted stone roof of the chamber in which the altar had been raised was cleft asunder, and two angels, shining like the sun and clad in costly raiment, descended from above, bearing a glittering crucifix of wood of considerable size. Placing it upon the altar, they bade the priest commence the Mass. The king and all who were present, filled with awe, fell upon their faces on the ground, nor did they dare rise until the celestial visitants, whom they took to be gods, had vanished.

The Holy Cross of Caravaca

Then they no longer doubted that the priest had power to call down from heaven the omnipotent God, and they readily acknowledged the Catholic religion to be the true One. Such was the origin of the holy cross still preserved and regarded with great veneration at Caravaca, in Spain. Every year on the anniversary of the event we have just recorded, It is exposed for the veneration of the faithful; many sick persons have been cured by drinking water in which it had been dipped.  This true story will serve to prove the great excellence of holy Mass, and how important it is that nothing should be wanting of the articles prescribed for the due and proper celebration of this most holy sacrifice.

²Gines Pérez de Chirinos

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 650

Explanation of The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass by Fr. Martin Cochem, 1896. Pg. 37 & 38.


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