The Pilgrimage of the Holy Face in Alicante


With the hangover of Easter holidays still kicking, the city of Alicante It is delivered to a festival of religious tradition, but that loses its mystical halo in favor of the holiday.

The Pilgrimage of the Holy Face, which this year is celebrated tomorrow, May 2, is something that no Alicante from pure strain forgives. A popular celebration that takes the streets of the city every Thursday after Easter. So that you understand a little what this is about, first I leave you some history.

What is the Holy Face?

The cover of the monastery

It is a Catholic relic of the Holy Face that is venerated in the Monastery of the Holy Face, located about 8 km from the co-cathedral of San Nicolás, in the center of Alicante.

The original canvas was a linen cloth whose blood stains represented a face. After a few years, the spots were highlighted with red paint.

This relic aroused great admiration between blessed and devout. Thinking that he could work miracles and brought good fortune to who owned a part of the canvas, many of the most powerful families in the area were cutting pieces of it. Finally, and to avoid its total disappearance, the cloth was placed in a reliquary with the image of a Holy Face in front and that of the Virgin Mary behind.

This Alicante Santa Faz has the honor of being one of the three faces officially recognized by the Holy See (the others two are in Jaén and Roma).

Santa Faz Monastery

The origin of the tradition of the Pilgrimage dates back to the fifteenth century, when the Alicante priest Mosén Pedro Mena travels to Rome and is presented, by a cardinal, with the canvas of the face of Christ. According to him, he has saved Venice from the plague and the priest brings him to his parish in San Juan, depositing him at the bottom of a chest, under a pile of clothes. However, it always appeared at the top when it opened.

Repeating this fact several times, he placed it on a wooden board and exposed it for public veneration.

In the year 1489, a severe drought swept the area and the farmers asked the priest of San Juan if he could organize a procession to pray that it would rain. He did so, and on March 17, 1489, the party departed from the town of San Juan to the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Angels.

“After having walked like a quarter of a league, when passing the small ravine of Lloixa, the priest who carried the Holy Face in his hands (P. Villafranca), felt such weight in his arms that he could not keep them high, at the same time he lost the movement of his feet, having to be helped by other priests, who took him to a small height beyond the ravine. Once there, all those present could see how a tear came out of the right eye of the Holy Face that stood on the cheek, growing in such a way that even those who were further apart could see it. Impressed they returned to San Juan, agreeing to repeat the procession of rogativa the following Friday ”.

It finally rained.

It was in that place where a new temple was built in 1490 where the canvas of the Holy Face would be guarded. This temple was declared dilapidated and demolished in 1748, building the current one, which was completed in 1766.

The Pilgrimage of the Holy Face today

Alicante City Hall, starting point for many