Postcard from Valladolid, Spain: Iglesias and a maligned queen

Above, Iglesia de San Pablo

Valladolid was flourishing in the 15th century when Isabella I, Queen of Castile, married King Ferdinand of Aragon in the city – an elopement with private ceremonies, as they were second cousins. With the city a favored spot for the Catholic royal family members to hold court, Pope Clement VIII elevated it to a bishopric, the center of an archdiocese.

Bolstered by this recognition, city fathers launched efforts to build a suitable cathedral, the largest in Europe. Architect Juan de Herrera (1530-1597) was commissioned for the design of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion. Despite Herrera’s death, completion appeared possible with the official establishment of Valladolid as the capital of Spain by King Philip III (1578-1621) in 1601.

The rosy future dissipated as a royal advisor standing to personally benefit through his real estate holdings persuaded Philip of the need to move the capital back to Madrid in 1606. The cathedral budget was slashed – about 60 percent.

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Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Mandatum novum do vobis….

Maundy Thursday. A holy day of obligation when I was little, but certainly not a holiday universally celebrated in Virginia Beach.

Maundy is derived from the above Latin. Yes, I am of such an early vintage that Mass was still conducted in Latin. That doesn’t mean I understood it. I thought novum do vobis has something to do with Nabisco vanilla wafers, which would have been a welcome substitute for the dry hosts adhered to the roof of your mouth at the Communion rail.

But here in Zaragoza, where we landed on Wednesday, Holy Thursday is big, the launch into a four-day holiday weekend. Thursday is commemorated as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus informed his apostles one amongst them was about to betray him.

Continue reading “Postcard from Zaragoza, Spain: Mandatum novum do vobis….”

Postcard from Cordoba, Spain: The ‘popular religiousity’ of Santa Maria

“Popular Religiousity” is the heading applied to the figures of Jesus and Mary venerated in Cordoba in the brochure for Ruta de las Iglesias Fernandinas. The route includes a series of temples founded by Ferdinand III (1199-1252), King of Castile, following his conquest of Cordoba in 1236.

While figures of Jesus seem to play a larger role than they did in the churches of Seville, Mary is always a show-stopper with her regal brocaded gowns and impressive glittering crowns. Most of the statues of Mary have devoted brotherhoods or cofradias to see that their Marias are always elegantly attired and prepared to be borne aloft in parades, primarily during Semana Santa.

The ticket to La Mezquita Catedral provides you with access during the opening hours of these churches.