Cross of Caravaca – a powerful amulet believed to ward off evil and increase good fortune
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Many say that ” Caravaca is The Cross, and The Cross is Caravaca ” – i.e. that the town and the ‘true’ cross on which Jesus perished (la Vera Cruz), are inseparable by the events of history. To millions of people around the world, the Caravaca Cross is the best symbol of faith and inspiration . . and they wear it as a pendant, necklace or earrings to offer protection against evil and to attract good fortune. Caravaca Cross jewellery can pass on your blessings for any occurrence: To someone travelling (moving abroad, for example, or going on a gap year), a relative about to do an exam, say, or even as a get well gift for an ill friend (a thoughtful present to comfort a friend with a serious ilness such as cancer for example), or an elderly relative in retirement or even a friend bereaved. It can say Sorry, or Thank you, or just Best wishes (eg for an anniversary or birthday), as a christening or communion gift – or for Christmas or Easter.
The meaning of the Caravaca Cross
Caravaca de la Cruz, in Murcia, (meaning Caravaca of the Cross) in southern Spain, is one of the five Holy Cities of the world (after Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela ). It has been venerated since the 13th Century when the first pilgrimage took place, and this has continued to the present day.
Caravaca de la Cruz gets its name from a piece of wood in the shape of a cross with twin arms, made from parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified . . that is to say, a relic of the actual Cross on which Jesus perished.
In 1998, Caravaca was granted the privilege to celebrate the Christian Holy Year every seven years in perpetuity by Pope John Paul II from 2003. So 2017 likewise . . a Jubilee Year or Año Santo – Holy Year.
The history behind the meaning of the Caravaca cross of protection
The story of the Cross of Caravaca has its origins in the town of Caravaca – a Spanish municipality located about 60 Km from the city of Murcia. It is a story of legend, religion and, it has to be said . . a certain amount of magic.
In the early 13th Century, Caravaca was at the frontier of the Arab-Spanish border – during a time of continual conflict between the predominantly Christian Castile-León in Spain, and the Muslim-run Granada. In 1232, a local priest was imprisoned in Caravaca by the Moors. In May of that year, Abu-Zeid/Ceyt, the Moorish king, ordered that all the prisoners languishing in the castle’s dungeons be brought before him so that he could question them, before deciding their fate. Amongst them was Priest Gines Perez Chirios whom, out of curiosity, the King ordered to perform a Christian Mass.
But, as the priest began, he realised that he didn’t have the necessary crucifix. All the crosses within the Kingdom had been destroyed by the invading Arabs and without a cross, true Mass could not be performed. So, he refused. At this juncture, the King and his captors grew angry and ordered the priest to proceed. But, once again, he refused. Then, like a miracle, the chamber was flooded with a brilliant light and two angels appeared, lowering a two-armed cross – as if down from Heaven – and they gently placed it onto the altar. Overcome by the vision, Abu-Ceyt fell to his knees. He decided then and there, to convert to the Christian faith. So, along with his Arabic subjects, they all became Christians.
Since that date, the Catholic Church has acknowledged this as a miracle and the cross has been called a Holy Cross or the True Cross (the ‘Vera Cruz’). The Cruz de Caravaca has become the symbol of the town of Caravaca and is now housed in the church sanctuary. To many, including millions of Christians in Latin America, the ‘ Cross of Caravaca ‘ is a powerful amulet and wear Caravaca cross necklaces, pendants and earrings because it is believed to ward off evil, bring protection and to increase good fortune. Particularly to locals in Murcia, the Caravaca Cross pendant is believed to protect and give strength. This is the meaning of the caravaca Cross and most caravaqueños say that ” Caravaca is the cross, and the cross is Caravaca.” Thousands of people in the town and the locality wear a Caravaca necklace / pendant.
The ‘True’ Cross
Some say that the Cross was brought to Caravaca from the Holy Land by the Knights Templar, and delivered to a place of sanctuary for protection (because it contained parts of the real Cross on which Christ was crucified). However, during Spain’s Civil War in 1934, the Cross was stolen. As dawn broke on 14th February, word of the disappearance of the Cross spread around the town and a terrified mob gathered in the street, panicking that their protector, the True Cross, had been lost. The chaplain was seized and dragged to the street, with accusations of his involvement and, although he denied all knowledge of the theft, he was executed in broad daylight with a single shot of a pistol by an impassioned townsperson. The Cross was never seen again, although many believed it had been taken for it’s own protection, to Rome.
Following discussions with the Vatican, in 1942, Pope Pius XII decided to gift the town two splinters of the real Crucifix, a treasure guarded for centuries within the walls of the Vatican. And, in 2006, to celebrate the anniversary of the appearance of the cross, 200 pilgrims travelled from Caravaca to the Holy Land and were given a third splinter of the Crucifix.
The aura surrounding the Vera Cruz is undeniable, and many who have worshipped in the side chapel where the Cross is housed, are touched by an overwhelming sense of peace. The faith of millions of worshippers throughout 700 years of history seem to fill the sanctuary with love, along with an essence of deep belief and faith, sanctifying the three splinters from the cross on which Jesus Christ himself perished.
Pilgrimage ? El Camino de La Cruz
The Region of Murcia is currently re-establishing the Camino de la Cruz – a Mediaeval pilgrimage route (similar to the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela – and its associated Cross of St. James) which leads from Navarra in the Pyrenees to the south of France, down through Aragón in northern Spain, through Castilla La Mancha and into Valencia, finally entering the region of Murcia via Jumilla.
Wish someone peace and good fortune, as well as a safe journey with a gift of one of our Caravaca Crosses . . in our online SHOP
You can also see these crosses in our CENTRAL (Group) SHOP online
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