Part Two: The ancient Cathedral of Valencia, Spain
After finishing up the Prehistoric Museum of Valencia, Spain I decided to venture out to another site. It is Friday March 9th. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be scattered rain showers during the day and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. Also to complicate the matters a little, I may have a friend coming over for a while. I am trying to plan all of this on the only full weekend I may have here in Valencia, Spain.
So, I take a deep breath, fire up google maps. I attach the portable battery pack to the LG G4 and I start walking towards the ancient Cathedral of Valencia. Why the battery pack? Google maps is a battery hog! Ensure you plan its usage accordingly.
The walk feels longer than I expected. there were a few twists and turns to navigate and in the end. There are many, many people on the streets. After taking one more left turn, I see this in the distance.
There are many people here. It’s almost a constant moving chaotic mass of people. I approach the doors of the cathedral and look inside. There are a half dozen young women behind the desk, taking money and handing out headphones. All of these fine ladies speak English. The cost to enter the ancient Cathedral of Valencia, Spain is 8 Euro. I paid my fee and declined a headset.
I took my hat off and stored it within the backpack and I started looking around. I didn’t know where to start taking photographs, it all looked amazing. While at the Cathedral of Valencia, Spain I decided that I would only use the Canon T3i with the ROKNON wide angle lens. I had nothing but time, and from what many people have written about seeing this cathedral, it would take between thirty minutes to an hour, to see everything.
I did NOT opt in for climbing up to the bell tower to see the skyline and maybe become deaf as the bells ring on the hour within the bell tower.
Each exhibit has its own station number which can be related back to a map, or a station on the headset. My goal today is to get the photographs up and then see if I am able to decipher the map and offer some comments on what each of these photographs show.
This entry took several days to write. I had to visit the source of the information, the Cathedral of Valencia online, https://catedraldevalencia.es/ to add notes of each area listed below. The Cathedral of Valencia was a very enjoyable visit. There was much to see and much to be humble about. I visited many things during my nine days in Valencia and the ancient Cathedral of Valencia is top among my list. I highly recommend visiting this very historic cathedral.
Number 1: Entryway into Valencia Cathedral
Number 2: Chapel of San Sebastián Mártir
Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Oil by Pedro de Orrente, (1580-1645)
One of the most important paintings in this Cathedral, it follows the tenebrist style of Bassano and Caravaggio.
Saint Sebastian was an officer in the palatine guard of the Emperor Diocletian. Accused of being a Christian, he was sentenced to death by assault by his companions.
He was taken alive by the Christians and once cured by Saint Irene, he appeared before the emperor to accuse him of his injustice to the Christians, and was then flogged to death. He is therefore called “the double martyr . ” He was highly revered as a patron against the plague.
His feast is celebrated on January 20.
Number 3: Descent of Christ
Descent of Christ, Oil by Blas del Prado, (painted in the year 1581)
It comes from the parish of San Pedro de Madrid.
Number 4: Passageway to the Chapel of the Holy Chalice
Rose window with the image of the Virgin with two incense angels.
Work of Lluis Amorós, (1488)
Wooden and wrought iron doors.
Number 5: Altarpiece of San Miguel
PASSAGEWAY TO THE CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CHALICE
The altarpiece is an early work by Vicente Macip. The altarpiece is in the late Gothic style, perfectly exemplifying the evolution of the Valencian pictorial language.
Although the paintings show the transition to the Renaissance, it has the classic structure of altarpieces from the 14th and 15th centuries . It is interesting to compare this work with the “Baptism of Christ” – in this Cathedral – by his son, the famous painter Juan de Juanes, to see the evolution of Valencian painting in the 15th century.
Divided into three streets, it carries the headline, Saint Michael the Archangel, dressed as a general of the heavenly armies, as such he defeats Satan and defends souls in the judgment after death (“weight of souls”) .
The smock or “polsera” carries the glorious Christ (Pantocrator) on top , and at his sides two virgin martyrs: Saint Lucia and Saint Catherine; two medical saints: Cosme and Damián and – on the sides – Saint Sebastian, the Guardian Angel of the Kingdom of Valencia, Saint James the Apostle as a pilgrim and Saint Onofre the hermit.
In the attic the coronation of the Virgin by the Trinity is represented: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The two side streets carry scenes from the life of Jesus Christ (from top to bottom and from left to right) : annunciation to Mary, birth and adoration of the shepherds, adoration of the Magi and resurrection.
In the “predella” or bench on the altar are Saint Francis of Assisi, the Virgin Mary, Christ in the tomb – dead and risen – (image of the Eucharist that is celebrated before this image on the altar) , Saint John the Evangelist and Saint John the baptist.
It was restored in 1999, but a witness has been left – next to the head of the risen Christ – that shows how it was damaged in the fire of said Museum in 1936 .
Number 6: The Chapel of the Holy Chalice
The chapel has a square plan and smooth, carved stone walls. It measures 13 meters wide by 16 meters high, and is covered with a high ribbed vault in the shape of a star whose ribs extend until they rest on polychrome corbels.
In the keys of the vault are the twelve Apostles, and, in the central key, the coronation of the Virgin in heaven after the Assumption, the titular mystery of this Cathedral.
Number 7: The Holy Chalice
Agate mug, 1st century oriental art. Medieval handles and feet.
Tradition tells us that it is the same Cup that the Lord used at the Last Supper for the institution of the Eucharist.
Then it was taken to Rome by Saint Peter and was preserved by the successor Popes to this until Sixtus II, when through the mediation of his deacon Saint Lawrence, a native of Spain, he was sent to his native land of Huesca in the third century to free him from the persecution of Emperor Valerian.
During the Muslim invasion it was hidden in the Pyrenees region and, finally, in the monastery of San Juan de la Peña (Huesca) .
The relic was delivered in 1399 to the King of Aragon Martín el Humano , later it was in the royal palace of the Aljafería in Zaragoza and in the Real of Valencia, until, on the occasion of the trip of King Alfonso V the Magnanimous to Naples, It was delivered to this Cathedral of Valencia in 1437 .
The Holy Chalice in Valencia
It was preserved and venerated for centuries among the relics of the Cathedral, and until the 18th century it was used to contain the form consecrated in the “monument” of Holy Thursday, until it was finally installed in the old Chapter House, enabled as Chapel of the Holy Chalice in 1916. During the civil war (1936-1939) it remained hidden in the Valencian town of Carlet.
The relic itself is the cup or cup made of finely turned carnelian agate stone, to which archeology attributes an oriental origin and dates it to the 1st century AD.
It is therefore completely plausible that this simple vase was in the hands of the Lord when, on the eve of his Passion, he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and, raising his eyes to heaven, towards you, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks He blessed you, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER I, ROMAN CANON
Take and eat all of it, because this is my Body, which will be given for you.
In the same way, after dinner, he took this glorious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, giving thanks, blessed you, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take and drink from it, all of you, because this is the cup of my Blood, Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be shed for you and for all men for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in commemoration of me.
Eucharistic Prayer I, Roman Canon. Cf. Matthew 26-29; Mark 14, 22-25, Luke 22, 1520 and I Corinthians 11, 23-25
Every Thursday at 8:00 p.m Holy Mass is celebrated before the sacred relic, sponsored by the Royal Brotherhood and the Brotherhood of the Holy Chalice. The solemn feast is the last Thursday of October.
Number 8: Chapel of San Pedro
Since its construction it was the seat of the parish of San Pedro, now extinct.
Even the cornice was decorated with frescoes by Palomino, framed by stucco medallions, with scenes related to Saint Peter.
On the pendentives there are remains of the representations of the four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, strength and temperance), the work of the painter priest Vicente Victoria, canon of the collegiate church of Xátiva.
The six large sergas painted by Nicolás Falcó at the beginning of the 16th century were part of the doors of the altarpiece of the guild of armourers and represent the main moments in the life of the Virgin Mary in relation to the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ that are celebrated in the liturgical year: The Annunciation, the Birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds, the Epiphany and the adoration of the Magi from the East, the Resurrection of the Lord, the Ascension into Heaven and, finally, Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles gathered around Mary.
In this chapel the sacrament of Baptism is celebrated , by which new Christians are incorporated into the dead and risen Christ and are made members of the Church.
Number 9: Chapel of San Francisco de Borja
San Francisco de Borja, before the corpse of Empress Isabel
Oil by Mariano Salvador Maella, (1739-1819), Painted in 1787 .
Dressed as a knight of the order of Santiago, he lifts the cloth that covers the face and hands of the deceased and feels the call of God to abandon the vanities of the world.
Francisco de Borja (Gandía 1510 – Rome 1572) , Duke of Gandía and Marqués de Llombay, was from the family of the Valencian Popes Calixto III (Alfonso de Borja) and Alejandro VI (Rodrigo de Borja) Carlos V commissioned him to take the body of Empress Elizabeth.
The sight of the corpse inspired him to “not serve a Lord who might die . “
On the death of his wife (1546), he decided to join the Society of Jesus, recently founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Ordained a priest in Rome (1551), and as Third General of the Jesuits (1565), he promoted missions and teaching centers, such as the Gregorian University of Rome.
His party is celebrated on October 3.
Number 10: Chapel of San José
Saint Joseph, Polychrome wooden image, by José Ponsoda, (1882-1963)
Saint Joseph , husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was the protector of Christ in his childhood.
His party is celebrated on March 19.
Number 11: Chapel of Santo Tomás de Villanueva
Mouthpiece that hides the locket
Oil on canvas, by José Vergara, (18th century)
Santo Tomás de Villanueva surrounded by the canons.
Santo Tomás , whose parents lived in Villanueva de los Infantes, was born in Fuenllana (1486) Augustinian religious and professor at the University of Alcalá.
Archbishop of Valencia, he reformed the relaxed customs of the diocese, founded the College of Presentation for aspirants to the priesthood, and stood out for his charity, poverty, prudence, and pastoral zeal. He died in Valencia in 1555.
His feast is celebrated on October 10.
Number 12: Chapel of Santo Domingo de Guzmán
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
Santo Domingo de Guzmán, priest, Oil on canvas, José de Ribera, (17th century)
Santo Domingo de Guzmán was born in Caleruega (Burgos) in the year 1170, he founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), preferably dedicated to the dissemination and defense of the Catholic faith. He died in Bologna (Italy) in 1221.
His feast is celebrated on August 8.
ATTIC OF THE ALTARPIECE
Saint Barbara , Virgin and Martyr of Nicomedia (+235) According to legend, a tower with three windows was built as a symbol of the Trinity. Her own father handed her over to court and executed her, being struck down by lightning shortly afterward. She is the patron saint of artillery and against storms.
It is celebrated on December 4.
Number 13: The Cimborrio
ON THE MAIN ALTAR
Dome on horns that give way from the square to the octagonal. Windows closed with translucent alabaster stone.
It is one of the most important works of the cathedral for its daring structure that rises up to 40 meters high.
IN THE PENDENTIVES
The four Evangelists
Under the trunks of the dome: The four Evangelists accompanied by the attributes that identify them.
Saint Luke, with the bull, Saint John, with the eagle, Saint Matthew, with the angel, Saint Mark, with the lion .
Number 14: Blessed Josefa Naval Girbés
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
Blessed Josefa Naval Girbés, Oil on canvas, by Juan Ribera Berenguer, (year 2001)
Blessed Josefa Naval Girbés, secular virgin.
Josefa Naval was born in Algemesí (Valencia) on December 11, 1820 and died in the same town on February 24, 1893.
From her youth she consecrated her virginity to the Lord to serve the Church represented in her parish and under the spiritual direction of her priests.
She led a deeply pious life, a devotion that he knew how to transmit to his neighbors, leaving a deep spiritual mark that took shape in many religious and priestly vocations.
She did a lot for the human and Christian advancement of young women, teaching them various trades and raising their social dignity.
In Algemesí and its region she is still remembered as “Mrs. Pepa”.
She was beatified by John Paul II on September 25, 1983, and is the first lay faithful of Valencia elevated to the altars.
Her liturgical memory is celebrated on November 6.
Number 15: Tomb of Ausias March
ON THE PAVEMENT
The tombstone of the tomb of Ausias March is modern, it was laid in 1950, and is surrounded by a verse by the poet himself.
The inscription from left to right: «Jo sóc aquest que en la mort delit prenc, Puix que no tolc la causa por què em ve…
Number 16: Martyrdom of Saint Vincent
TO THE RIGHT OF THE DOOR
Martyrdom of Saint Vincent, Oil on canvas by José Vergara, who gave it to the Cathedral in 1790.
He is the main patron of the diocese and the city of Valencia. In the ambulatory of this Cathedral the left arm of this saint is venerated.
San Vicente , was a deacon of the Bishop of Zaragoza, San Valero. During the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian, both were brought to Valencia, and here Vicente was tortured to death (January 22, 304), while Saint Valero was exiled.
His party is celebrated on January 22.
Number 16 is also related to Number 30, below.
Number 17: Chapel of San Pascual Bailón
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
San Pascual Bailón, religious. Recent painting.
San Pascual Bailón was born in 1540 in Torrehermosa, belonging to the kingdom of Aragon, where he exercised the office of shepherd. He entered the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) , and stood out for his devotion to the Virgin Mary and his love for the Eucharist.
He died in Villareal de los Infantes (Castellón) in 1592. Leo XIII declared him the patron of Eucharistic Associations and Congresses (1897)
His feast is celebrated on May 17.
ATTIC OF THE ALTARPIECE
San Cristobal, unknown artist.
Number 18: Stained glass window with couples
OVER THE DOOR
Stained glass window with couples
Stained glass commemorating the 700th anniversary of the laying of the first stone of the Cathedral (year 1262) , being Bishop Fray Andrés de Albalat, whose seal is at the top of the stained glass, together with that of Archbishop Olaechea, in whose pontificate this stained glass window was made (year 1962) .
The heads represent the marriages sculpted as corbels on the cornice of the Romanesque door of the Palau or of the Almoina (13th century)
They are couples linked to the history of the repopulation of Valencia after its conquest in the 13th century by King Jaime I, or perhaps they are the donors of the aforementioned Romanesque portal
Number 19: Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus
TO THE LEFT OF THE DOOR
Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus, Oil on canvas by the Valencian José Vergara.
José Vergara gave the painting to the Cathedral in 1790 because the painter was born on the day of the memory of this saint, together with the Martyrdom of Saint Vincent, placed on the other side of the door.
Saint Erasmus was bishop of Antioch in Syria. He was a martyr in the persecution of Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century.
His feast is June 2.
Number 20: Chapel of San Agustín
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
San Agustin, José Camarón Bonanat, (Segorbe 1731 – Valencia 1803)
Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church.
Saint Augustine was born in Tegaste de Numidia (North Africa) in the year 354; After a light and ideologically turbulent life, she was baptized in Milan at the hands of Saint Ambrose, during the Easter vigil of 387. After the death of her mother, Saint Monica (Ostia, 387), who asked much for her conversion, he returned to Africa and embraced the monastic life; he was ordained a priest and, finally, bishop of Hippo. He died in 430 when his episcopal city was being besieged by the Vandals. He wrote many works, including the Confessions, the City of God, and commentaries on the Holy Scriptures.
He is called the “Doctor of Grace”, and his feast is on August 28.
ATTIC OF THE ALTARPIECE
Saint Teresa of Jesus, José Camarón Bonanat.
Saint Teresa of Jesus was born in Avila in 1515. At the age of eighteen she entered the Carmel order, which she later reformed from 1562. She died in Alba de Tormes in 1582. Her mystical writings earned her the title of Doctor of the Church .
His party is celebrated on October 15
Number 21: On the door of the Sacristy
ON THE DOOR OF THE SACRISTY
Glorification of the Valencian martyrs, Oil / canvas, José Grassa, (2001)
On March 11, 2001, Pope John Paul II solemnly recognized the martyrdom of the priest José Aparicio Sanz and 232 other martyrs who gave their lives for faith in Christ in Valencia during the religious persecution between 1936 and 1939.
These priests, religious men and women, men and women, were thus declared “blessed” , that is to say, blessed, because, from the glory that they have with the Lord, they can intercede for us.
Their names were chosen from among the many more who shared the same glorious fate at that time in the Archdiocese of Valencia.
REPRESENTATIVES RELIGIOUS ORDERS
In addition to the diocesan priests and the laymen of Catholic Action and other pious associations, there are representatives of the following religious orders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Conventual Franciscans, Capuchins, Capuchins, Jesuits, Salesians, Salesians, Capuchin Tertiary, Repairers, Brothers of the Salle, Carmelites of Charity (Vedrunas), Servites, Piarists, Claretian Missionaries, Little Sisters of the Helpless Elders and Capuchin Tertiary Sisters.
Number 22: Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
ON THE ALTAR
Sacred Heart of Jesus, by José María Ponsoda Bravo
The altar is dominated by the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus sculpted and decorated by José Ponsoda (1882-1963)
Number 23: Chapel of the Virgin of Puig
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
Our Lady of the Angels of Puig, Oil by Agustín de Ridaura, disciple of Ribalta, (17th century)
When the Christian troops settled in the Puig , a small mountain north of Valencia, were preparing the conquest of this city in 1237, a stone relief representing the Mother of God, in Byzantine style, was found in that place. The finding gave such encouragement to the hosts of King Jaime I the Conqueror that they defeated, in unequal combat, the Muslim troops in the same fields of Puig, called Santa María since then, and then took over Valencia. The Christian king attributed the conquest to the favor of the Blessed Virgin; That is why he proclaimed her the patron saint of the reconquered kingdom and, immediately, he had a sanctuary built in that place that was entrusted to the religious of the Order of Mercy.
Since then the Puig de Santa María has been a center of pilgrimages and the heart of the Valencian lands. The image of Santa María was canonically crowned on October 9 (anniversary of the conquest of Valencia) in 1954.
Number 24: Chapel of San Rafael, Archangel
CENTER OF THE ALTARPIECE
Saint Raphael, archangel Polychrome wooden image of José Ponsoda, (1882-1963)
Saint Raphael is one of the four archangels, with Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel. Its name means “God’s medicine” in Hebrew . The book of Tobias (Old Testament) tells that he guided young Tobias to go find a wife, and then made him catch a fish with whose gall he later cured his father’s blindness.
Number 25: Virgin of the Choir, de la Cadira
Virgin of the Choir, de la Cadira, It is attributed to the sculptor and goldsmith Joan de Castellnou , author of the Gothic custody of this cathedral, which was founded in Mallorca in 1812 to pay for the war against Napoleon.
It is made of polychrome alabaster stone, the same material or “stone of light” as the Gothic windows.
In the 18th century it was placed over the entrance to the neoclassical choir and the wooden throne decorated in gold was placed on it.
In 1939, when the choir was transferred to the apse, the image was placed in this place in the ambulatory.
There is the pious custom of invoking the Blessed Virgin on the eve of childbirth; And for this reason, many future mothers pray before this image and go around the Cathedral nine times, in memory of the nine months in which Saint Mary waited for the birth of her Son Jesus Christ.
Number 26: The Girola
It is the oldest part of the cathedral, where its construction began in 1262. The Gothic work, which has eight apsidal chapels, is partly covered by neoclassical decoration from the 18th century. Originally it allowed to contemplate the main altar through the arches of the presbytery (as in the neighboring church of Santa Catalina), blinded in the baroque reform of the apse in the seventeenth century.
THE NEOCLASSICAL REFORM OF THE CATHEDRAL
On September 1, 1774, when Don Francisco Fabián y Fuero was Archbishop of Valencia , a total renovation of the temple began to hide its primitive Gothic design with a cladding in a style inspired by the Greco-Roman and Renaissance canons, in accordance with academic standards. of the eighteenth century .
ANTONIO GILABERT AND LORENZO MARTÍNEZ
The architects Antonio Gilabert and Lorenzo Martínez directed the works .
The side aisle chapels were built, the pointed arches were transformed into semicircular ones, the Gothic pilasters were covered with Corinthian columns and the walls with stucco and gilding. Only the Gothic ribs of the ribbed vaults were visible.
A good example of all this is the set of the ambulatory, restored in 1998. In 1961, under the direction of the architect Segura del Lago , the recovery of the primitive Gothic style of the Cathedral began, also removing the roofs and returning to the roof. primitive of terraces.
Number 27: The Organ
Organ cabinet rebuilt from 1939 with pieces from the old organ, previously located above the choir in the main nave.
The machinery, pipes and other parts of the organ date from after 1939, and it was restored by the Cabildo in 2015.
Renaissance carvings designed in 1510 by Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, disciple of Leonardo da Vinci and painter of some panels – with Fernando de Llanos – of the doors of the main altarpiece.
Work in wood executed by the Valencian carver Luis Muñoz .
Numbers: 28, 29 and 30
The photo below covers three important features (28, 29, 30) which can be seen in one high photo within the Valencia Cathedral.
In the photo below, the area on the floor within a cage is Saint Vincent’s Relic. The area above Saint Vincent’s Relic is known as the Trasaltar.
The above photograph shows the Chapel of the Resurrection, The Trasaltar and Relic of Saint Vincent
Number 28: Chapel of the Resurrection
In the photo above, Focus on the wall area, ground level, behind the glass case of the Relic of Saint Vincent.
The portico, sculpted in translucent alabaster, possibly following the designs of Yáñez de la Almedina (as in the door frames of the main altarpiece and in the organ furniture) , is one of the first and best examples of the “Roman style” or Renaissance in Spain (around the year 1510) .
The lowered arches, the composition of pilasters and arches, attached to the columns and entablature – the Albertian phrase – and the bas-reliefs (gruteschi), with candelieri (vertical) motifs and a rich repertoire of eagles, rosettes, plants and lacerías.
The high relief of alabaster representing the resurrection of the Lord is the documented work of Gregorio de Biguerny . It was placed in this place at the beginning of the 16th century. It preserves remains of the polychrome and the gilding that decorated it in its primitive appearance.
Number 29: The Trasaltar
In the photo above, Focus on the upper area above the cage on the floor.
The Trasaltar was rebuilt in the 18th century , it contains earlier elements and is a monument to the Holy Eucharist. The area with the wooden railed balcony has a painting in the center. This is considered the Tabernacle Door and the painting is Christ the Savior, at the Last Supper. The Painting on panel by Vicente Macip, was made in 1483.
Number 30: Relic of Saint Vincent
In the photo above, The lower floor level that is caged, holds a glass display which contains the arm of Saint Vincent.
Left arm of San Vicente Mártir, deacon of Zaragoza. It is made in silver bronze by Giancarlo Fecchio and made in Padua.
He was martyred in Valencia around 304.
His cult spread rapidly in the Universal Church and his figure was considered that of “the most representative saint in Spain . “
Its sepulchral basilica, located outside the city of Valencia, was very visited; but during the Muslim rule, the holy relics of the saint disappeared, hidden or scattered.
Around the year 1104, the then Bishop of Valencia went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and took with him the left arm of our Patron Saint.
Death unexpectedly occurred to said prelate in Bari (Italy) , and there his mortal remains and everything he carried in his suitcase remained.
Don Pietro Zampieri, from Vigonovo (Venice) , brought the arm of San Vicente back to Valencia and, as the last holder of it, gave it, together with the artistic reliquary that contains it, to this Holy Cathedral, in 1970.
Well, this is the majority of the information I was able to obtain about the visit to the incredible Cathedral in Valencia, Spain. I decided to go above and beyond, since this Cathedral is one of the finest of its time, in the world.
Historical information provided by The Cathedral of Valencia, the official website: https://catedraldevalencia.es/
Majority of the photographs are my own, taken on a trip to Valencia, Spain in March, 2018. A few photos may have be used from The Cathedral of Valencia, https://catedraldevalencia.es/ the official website, if I did not have a decent photo or was lacking a photograph to complete the tour.