December 15, 2013

The Moorish King and the Cross

The Moorish occupation of Spain lasted, in varying extents, from 711 until 1492. The time in between saw a continually fluctuating map of the Iberian peninsula, as a struggle for control was waged by the Christians and the Muslims.

On March 3, 1231, a Moorish king by the name of Zeyt-Abu-Zeyt, along with his entire family, converted to Christianity. The reason for this change was the subject of many accounts written at the time, including one by the official historian for Spain’s King Ferdinand III.

A certain priest, Don Gines Perez Chirinos de Cuenca, travelled into the Moorish territory of Murcia and preached the Gospel amongst the people there. Inevitably, he was captured and taken to King Zeyt-Abu Zeyt. The king was curious about the Catholic Mass and ordered Fr. Chirinos to perform one. The priest explained that he did not have the necessary articles to fulfill such a request. So, the King had some of his men go to neighboring Cuenca and obtain them from a church there.

At some point after he had begun the Mass, Fr. Chirinos realized that he did not have a Cross and stopped the Mass. The King questioned him as to why he had stopped and he replied as to the need for a Cross. The King then asked if that was not what was being brought in at that moment. In the presence of all assembled there, two angels were seen bringing it in and placing it on the altar, where it then remained. At the moment of consecration, the King saw a Baby in place of the Host, who looked at the King endearingly.

Each year, a festival is held in May in honor of the event. In 1998, Pope John Paul II granted it the privilege of being the fifth city in the world to celebrate the Perpetual Jubilee (one holy year every seven in perpetuity).

Sources: “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” a Vatican international exhibition, as reported by The Real Presence Eucharistic Adoration Association,, and the Wikipedia entry for the city of Caravaca de la Cruz,


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