Marian shrines in Galicia

A few months ago we talked in the blog about the importance of religious tourism in the Iberian Peninsula and other alternative pilgrimages to the Camino de Santiago, among which the temples dedicated to the Virgin Mary have a special significance.

Marian sanctuaries proliferated during the Middle Ages in Galicia and northern Portugal. Some of them are even older than it is thought, being their construction prior to the arrival of Christianity to the Peninsula. They are associated with apparitions of the Virgin and all kinds of incredible miracles.

If you feel a great devotion to the Virgin Mary or if you have already done the Camino de Santiago and you feel like starting a different pilgrimage, Pambre Tours recommends you to visit with us the following Marian shrines in Galicia. They are magical places where art, tradition and legends invite us to live a unique experience as pilgrims.

Lady of the Hermitages

It is located in the province of Orense, halfway between Viana do Bolo and A Rúa.

Its construction dates back to the seventeenth century and is considered one of the architectural jewels of the Galician Baroque.

It has two majestic towers and a facade profusely decorated with statues and ornamental columns.

Its construction is associated with a miraculous apparition of a carving of the Virgin. Other legends speak of a fountain in this place, whose waters had healing powers.

If you visit the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de las Ermitas, be sure to admire its High Altar (decorated with great detail), its altarpieces or its beautiful baroque cross.

Santa María La Real

This sanctuary located in Lugo, O Cebreiro, is one of the oldest in Galicia and also the second most visited after the Cathedral of Santiago.

It is also the gateway for pilgrims who make the French Way through the province of Lugo.

Around this place of worship there are some very interesting traditions and legends. We refer to the Holy Miracle documented around the year 1300.

This legend tells that a neighbor of the village of Barxamaior went to mass every day in spite of the inclement weather. One stormy afternoon the peasant arrived at the monastery soaked and freezing cold. As he consecrated the bread and wine, the monk scoffed at his faith, thinking that it was not worth the sacrifice. At once the friar contemplated how the Host became flesh and the Chalice overflowed with blood until it stained the altar. The legend ends by saying that the Virgin of O Cebreiro bowed her head at the moment of the miracle to see it better.

On September 8 and 9 the feast of the Holy Miracle is celebrated and thousands of pilgrims flock to the sanctuary, being one of the busiest pilgrimages in Galicia.

Don’t you think it would be exciting to hear a mass in this sanctuary wrapped in mysticism? If you have the opportunity to visit it, be sure to admire the carving of the Virgin of O Cebreiro dating from the twelfth century or the magic chalice, present in the coat of arms of Galicia and that some experts identify with the Holy Grail.

Nosa Señora do Corpiño

Located in Lalín (Pontevedra) this sanctuary has a very long tradition of devotion. It was erected in a very ancient place of worship. Its lands are surrounded by forts and fields of “mámoas” (such as the one in Oirós, one of the largest in Galicia).

Although it has undergone several reforms, we know that as a place of pilgrimage it has very remote origins (it is already mentioned in documents from the 13th century).

The story of its construction is also fascinating. Many centuries ago there lived in Monte do Carrio a pious hermit who dedicated his life to praying to the Virgin and forgiving sins. People came to him for help and consolation. When his countrymen died, they decided to keep his incorrupt body in that place, which eventually became a center of pilgrimage. Years later, when the Arabs invaded these lands, his devotees hid the body of the saint in a cave near the place where the sanctuary stands today. Many centuries later, these lands were repopulated… but no one remembered this saintly “corpiño” whose chapel had collapsed and was covered with weeds. However, at the least expected moment, a miracle happened.

Two young shepherds were guarding their livestock when a great storm broke out. Seeking shelter, they entered the ruins where the body of the saint was hidden. At that moment the Virgin appeared with the Child Jesus in her arms, covered with a great radiance. Nobody believed the shepherds, but the apparitions continued to happen until the inhabitants of the village found an old tomb in that place, with the incorrupt body of the hermit saint.

It is thought that this saint is none other than the anchorite Adrian, who lived long ago in these mountains, dedicating his life to prayer and penance. His neighbors saw him as a saint and after his death they built a small chapel in his honor. According to the historian Vicente Risco, pilgrimages to the tomb of the saint began in the 8th century, shortly after his death. He then speaks of its loss during the Muslim invasion and of its fortuitous recovery in the 12th century.

According to popular tradition, pilgrimage to the shrine of Nosa Señora do Corpiño can miraculously cure various ailments, including diabolical possession or possession by evil spirits. Its current priest is one of the privileged few who have the Vatican’s authorization to perform exorcisms.

The procession and the offerings of the faithful inside the sanctuary follow most of the guidelines set by the liturgy of the Church: Holy Mass, Penance, Communion… along with the prayers of the Marian tradition. But it also has its own rites designed to ward off demons and free from evil: sprinkling with holy water, imposition of the Gospels and contact with the “Relic”. The latter is a piece of the Virgin Mary’s veil, brought from Rome in the 19th century.

The main festivities of this sanctuary are celebrated on June 23 and 24, May 1 and March 25. In them we can attend the most colorful pilgrimages of the place, with processions of the brotherhoods and parish associations.

If you like religious tourism and in particular everything that has to do with the tradition of Marian worship, this is a place of reference that is worth visiting.

Santa María de Pastoriza

It is located in Arteixo (province of La Coruña).

This beautiful sanctuary has a history surrounded by legends. It was built under the rule of the Suebi king Reckiario after converting to Christianity in 448. Then it was destroyed by the Normans in the tenth century, but the image of the Virgin was saved hidden under some stones and was found centuries later by a girl who was grazing cattle, renewing the cult with great devotion to this day.

From the sanctuary you can see the mountain of the Cross, where, according to legend, the image was hidden, a megalithic complex called Berce da Virxe.

Following an ancient ritual, the pilgrims walk three times around the stones of the sanctuary and kiss the image of the Virgin.

We can also see in this place the remains of an ancient castro and the “King’s Chair” where, according to legend, the Swabian king Reckiario contemplated the city of the Suevi.

The Virxe da Barca

Located in Muxía, it is one of the oldest sanctuaries in Galicia.

According to a legend, the Virgin arrived at this place aboard a stone boat to comfort the Apostle Santiago. The remains of this boat are preserved next to the chapel.

This sanctuary has its own pilgrimage, which is the extension of the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre that the first pilgrims made and that you can also make with Pambre Tours.

Our Lady of Miracles

This beautiful sanctuary is located in the parish of Caión, Coruña.

We know that it was a place of worship since the origins of Christianity and that there must have been a very primitive Romanesque church here. Even so, the current temple dates from the 19th century and is in the baroque style of Compostela. It has a rectangular floor plan and a single nave, while the facade is profusely decorated.

In the vicinity of the sanctuary we can access an excellent viewpoint from which we get a good view of the beach of As Salseiras and a good stretch of coastline.

Every September 8 is celebrated here the pilgrimage of the City Council of Laracha, the “pilgrimage of miracles” declared of Tourist Interest in Galicia. The Virgin is carried in procession from the Church of Nuestra Señora del Socorro to the Sanctuary of the Miracles.

In addition to seeing the Virgin of Miracles, pilgrims approach the holy fountain to which popular tradition attributes healing properties.

Santa María de La Lanzada

It is a very small hermitage in Pontevedra but linked to an ancient fertility ritual. Women who wish to become pregnant must get into the water on the crescent (or full) moon and let nine waves pass over them so that their wish is fulfilled.

Santa María de Ribarteme

Located in the Pontevedra municipality of As Neves, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, one of the rarest festivities in the world is celebrated in this hermitage. Its devotees and penitents go to the temple inside coffins to thank Santa Marta (Lazarus’ sister) and the Virgin for her intercession to cure them of serious illnesses. They make the journey from the Church of Santa Marta to the cemetery and return to the starting point. The sound of the bells is accompanied by a repetitive chant: “Virgin of Santa Marta, star of the north, we bring you those who have seen death”. Crowds of the faithful approach the image of Santa Marta to touch her or rub a holy card.

Hermitage of the Virgin of Chamorro or Virgin of Nordés

This 16th century Christian hermitage is located in the municipality of Ferrol, Coruña.

Its construction is associated with a miracle in which the Virgin saves a fisherman from drowning. In 1666 her confraternity was created and organized a pilgrimage to spread her devotion. The faithful go up to the hermitage standing or kneeling to hear mass and pay their respects to the Virgin. They also often celebrate picnics in the vicinity of the sanctuary.

There are many reasons why people go to these sanctuaries: to be cured of illnesses, to obtain fortune, to protect their loved ones, to have children, to find a partner, to get rid of their sins… It is not essential to have strong religious beliefs to appreciate and respect them.

They are also architectural jewels, they tell us about centuries of history, legends and oral traditions that define an important part of the folklore of the Galician people.

Come and visit them!

Leave a Comment

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top