Virgen de la Almudena
Madrid, Spain (15th cent.)

Commemorated on November 9
Virgen de la Almudena The image of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, which had previously been known as "Santa Maria Maggiore" was found in the year 1085 during the conquest of the city of Madrid by King Alfonso VI of Leon in one of the cubes or turrets attached to the said Arab wall, near the Puerta de la Vega .

The name is of unclear origin Arabic , and is traditionally considered that came from the word "al-mudy" ( almudín ), which means "grain store", but Arabists and historians specialized coincide now that the name comes from the word "al-mudayna", ie "citadel", the former military area occupied by the old walled hill where now sit the Cathedral and the Royal Palace .


Although there are no accurate data on the size and age of the cult, there are documents indicating that at least three centuries before being found was hidden by decree of Archbishop Raymond of Toledo .
There are various traditions about the origin of the name and image. The first account in the 712 , before an alleged taking of Madrid by the Arabs, the inhabitants of the town boarded up an image of the Virgin on the walls of the wall, to hide it from the Arabs. With the reconquest of the city in the eleventh century by King Alfonso VI , set out to find the hidden image. After days of prayers, and as the procession passed through the Cuesta de la Vega, the fragment of wall which was demolished fell, showing the image, which remained intact and the two candles that had been lit yet despite walled of the intervening centuries.
Another tradition says that the Castilian hero Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar , El Cid, he would have appeared the Virgin, asking him to take the strength of MAYRIT (مجريط). Approaching El Cid and his companions to the village, he would have broken off the fragment of wall which was the figure, and thus could have come in and take the city.
It seems more likely therefore that the original image was carved in the late Middle Ages , during the Christian repopulation of the city, to be placed on the altar of the old mosque has been converted into main church of the city (old church of Santa Maria de la Almudena ). At that time it was common certification of major Christian churches with generic invocations of the Virgin, Christ and the saints, so that church called Santa Maria. Probably, to differentiate it from other churches that emerged in the slums of the early Islamic city, the temple is known as Santa Maria de la Almudena, because in Arabic Al-mudayna means "citadel", being locked in the first perimeter walled Arab origin, which, like a citadel, were enclosed by later Christian wall. That is, it would put this name to distinguish it from the other churches in Madrid dedicated to the Virgin Mary.


The picture is currently kept in the cathedral of Madrid style is Gothic late, possibly made between centuries XV and XVI . Represents Mary as queen red tunic and rich tapestry embroidered with blue back in, covering his shoulders and falls in folds tubular ahead. Holds the Child, naked, with both hands. It is an artistic quality carving, gilding and polychrome wood, its realization has been attributed to the circle of Sebastian de Almonacid either Diego Copin of Holland , both sculptors active in Toledo to the late fifteenth century.
The image of the Virgin rests on a throne of silver , style Baroque , which was donated by the City of Madrid in 1640 , reigning Felipe IV , at his side, two large candlesticks, silver also, of the same date. contained an ornate surrounds the glow, with bursts and adoring angels, and a crescent, symbol of the Immaculate, to foot, all dating from the nineteenth century .
The carving of the Virgin is located in the right transept of the cathedral, framed by an altarpiece painted tables, Gothic XIV century , made by John of Burgundy , from Oropesa (Toledo) , and given by Cardinal Angelo Suquía . The altarpiece, placed on high, is accessible by a staircase lining a segmental arch, where the funeral chapel of Queen Maria de las Mercedes of Orleans , wife of Alfonso XII , great devotee of the Virgin.

Source: Wikipedia  


Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena

Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena (Madrid, Spain)

The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid ( Spain ). It is a building of 102 meters long and 69 high, built ...

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