The Fifth Sunday of Easter +2021
Nuestra Señora de Oviedo / Our Lady of Oviedo, Spain (711) – 2 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Oviedo, Spain, where they possess some of the Blessed Virgin’s hair.”
The Cathedral of Oviedo was founded in 781 AD, and enlarged by Alfonso the Chaste, who made Oviedo the Capital of the Kingdom of Asturias. The Chapel was once called the Sancta Ovetensis, owing to the quantity and quality of relics contained in the Camara Santa (Holy Chamber).
There is in the City of Oviedo a Holy Chest that contains many and varied relics. It rests in the Town where King Alfonso II, the Chaste, built a Shrine to house it and there it can be seen even today as it was well over a millennium ago. Like the Arc of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail, it is a singular thing the like of which is almost utterly unknown in the entire history of mankind.
This Holy Chest is made of oak and was skillfully constructed without the use of any nails. It measures roughly four feet by three feet by two feet and has been venerated, by faithful Catholics, since apostolic times. Indeed, it is believed to have been fashioned by devoted disciples of the twelve Apostles. Many men and woman throughout history have given their entire lives in service to the holy relics contained therein, or to save the chest from pagans who sought its destruction.
The chest originated in the Holy City of Jerusalem. When the Persain’s attacked and conquered Jerusalem in 614, many priceless relics from the region were gathered and placed in it for protection, as the Persians sought relics to destroy them. The chest was taken for safekeeping to a small community of Catholiacs in Alexandria, Egypt. A short time later, Alexandria was also sacked by the Muslims and the chest was taken across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain, where St Isidore kept it in Seville. Upon St. Isidore’s death, the chest was transferred to the City of Toledo, which was then becoming an important centre in Spain. When the wave of Muslim aggression reached even Toledo in 711, the Holy Chest was taken to the Asturias and hidden in a well in Pelayo’s mountain.
The chest has a lock and key but by the time of the eleventh century it had not been opened for hundreds of years. The last time it was known to have been opened was when it was done by a living saint, St Ildephonsus, for in it he had placed a chasuble that the Mother of God herself had given him during an apparition.
By the year 1030, the exact contents of the Holy Chest were no longer known. Bishop Ponce of Oviedo and with him many clerics, determined to examine the chest to unlock its secrets. As soon as the lid was raised only the slightest bit, “there burst forth so stupendous a light that the terrified clerics, some of them stricken blind, dropped the lid and fled, leaving the mystery unsolved.”
After Mass, on Friday, 13 March 1075, the key was again placed in the lock. On this occasion, God was pleased to reveal the contents of the Holy Chest. The chest contained the Sudarium, mentioned by St John the Evangelist in his Gospel, as the cloth that covered the face of Christ, after the crucifixion. On it can be seen the bloodstains of Our Lord that evidence his passion and death. It alone is a treasure without reckoning…
The chest also contained a piece of the True Cross of Our Lord, a small stone of the sepulcher in which He was buried, some of the cloths in which He was wrapped in the manger, several thorns from the Crucifixion, a piece of the earth of Mount Olivet touched by His feet when He ascended into heaven, one of the thirty coins given to Judas, a lock of the Blessed Mother’s hair, the chasuble given by the Virgin Mary to Saint Ildephonsus, a chest of gold and precious stones containing the forehead of St John the Baptist and his hair and a host of other relics from many saints and prophets, including St Stephen, the first martyr, St Mary Magdalene, St Peter the Apostle, St Vincent and the rod of Moses which parted the Red Sea and the manna supplied from heaven during the Exodus from Egypt, and many other priceless relics.
King Alfonso VI commissioned a silversmith to sheath the Holy Chest in gilded silver, adorning it with figures of Our Lord and His angels and saints. It can still be seen even today.”
There are numerous Marian images, in their different invocations, which can be seen in the Cathedral of Oviedo. The month of May dedicated to the Virgin inspires a tour of different chapels and altarpieces in which the Immaculate, Virgin Asuntas are preserved, also affectionate Mothers with a Child in their arms, without forgetting the suffering Mothers of the Piedades and ,of course ,the Virgin from Covadonga, our Santina.
In the Chapel of Santa María del Rey Casto a small Altarpiece houses one of the most precious Marian images of the Cathedral of Oviedo and which, perhaps, due to its modest size, goes unnoticed. The Altarpiece of Our Lady of Light . This Altarpiece was donated in 1552 by Gutierre González de Cienfuegos, magistrate of Medina del Campo and Salamanca and was placed in the retrochoir of the Cathedral, where it served as an Altar.
St Athanasius (c 295-373) – Father and Doctor of the Church, “Father of Orthodoxy,” Bishop of Alexandria, Defender of the true faith, throughout his life he opposed the Arian heresy. (Memorial)
St Antoninus of Florence OP (1389-1459) “Antoninus the Counsellor,” Dominican Priest, Bishop, Confessor
Bl Bernard of Seville
St Bertinus the Younger
Bl Boleslas Strzelecki
Bl Conrad of Seldenbüren
St Cyriacus of Pamphylia
St Eugenius of Africa
St Exsuperius of Pamphylia
St Felix of Seville
St Fiorenzo of Algeria
St Gennys of Cornwall
St Germanus of Normandy (Died c 460)
St Guistano of Sardinia
St José María Rubio y Peralta SJ (1864-1929) “The Apostle of Madrid” and “Father of the Poor,” Jesuit Priest, Confessor, Professor, Preacher, Spiritual Director, Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration.
St Joseph Luu
Bl Juan de Verdegallo
St Longinus of Africa
St Neachtain of Cill-Uinche
St Theodulus of Pamphylia
St Ultan of Péronne
St Vindemialis of Africa
St Waldebert of Luxeuil
St Wiborada of Saint Gallen OSB (Died 926) Martyr, Virgin, Benedictine Nun, Anchorite,ascetic, gifted with the charism of prophecy and miracles
Her Life and Death:
Bl William Tirry
St Zoe of Pamphylia (Died 127) Martyr, Laywoman
Martyrs of Alexandria – 4 saints: A group of Christians marytred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names – Celestine, Germanus, Neopolus and Saturninus. 304 in Alexandria, Egyp