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The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Fuencisla

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Fuencisla

Our third itinerary arrives at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fuencisla, the Patroness of Segovia, whose temple is located in the District of Zamarramala.

We started in the Aqueduct

Again from the Aqueduct we start our way through Via Roma, or by its parallel and very old street of Gascos (in houses of this street the Gascons were lodged that they brought to the recumbent Christ that is venerated in San Justo), that will leave us in the place of San Lorenzo, conformed by buildings with facades of popular type and presided by the temple of Romanesque apses and Mudejar tower; the portico contains some capitals of great beauty. In the interior you have to admire a beautiful Gothic triptych of piety, by Benito Girarte, painted by Rodrigo Segovia. This is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods or suburbs of the city, where in the past most of its neighbors were engaged in the cultivation of orchards, which embraced the village on all sides. In this neighborhood was born the great theologian of the Council of Trent and confessor of Carlos V, Domingo de Soto.

By the Ribera del Eresma

We cross the whole neighborhood until we cross a small old bridge over the river Eresma, which will allow us to get closer to the Cistercian monastery of San Vicente el Real; It is a set of buildings, so the roofs abound, raised on a pagan temple. It was founded in the year 919 as a Benedictine monastery. Religious Cistercians dwell in it. Some of the public cults are celebrated in Latin and with Gregorian chant.

From here we continue on a dirt road until the Alameda de El Parral; Immediately we found a stone bridge that saves the river Eresma and, crossing it, we will go up a steep path to the old Convent of Santa Cruz la Real; the foundation of a convent of Dominicans was the work of Santo Domingo, although later the Catholic Kings raised the splendid current factory, whose church offers a filigree cover. It was his first prior the famous Fray Tomás de Torquemada. The building is assigned by the Diputación to the SEK University, which has been carrying out remarkable improvement and conservation works. Behind the church, and with an independent entrance, is the cave where he did penance Santo Domingo, converted into a small chapel and in which St. Teresa of Jesus He remained in ecstasy, conversing with the founding saint, the 30 of September of 1574. It is said that the saint said that there was a great resemblance between the saint with the one who maintained the spiritual conversation and the sculpture that is venerated in the hollow located on the small altar.

La Santa Cave It is independent of the monastery. It has entrance through a side door of that one and it gives on the zone of the apse of the great church. A short garden and a simple porch that gives access to the interior of the chapel; in a second chapel is the hollow that constitutes the primitive cave, in which there is an image of Santo Domingo kneeling, looking at a cross and beating his chest (may date from 1600). There is also another image of the saint, sculpted by Sebastián de Almoacid, dating from the time of the Catholic Monarchs. The Santa Cueva remains the property of the Dominicans, and can be visited by previously notifying the monastery of the Dominican Mothers.

The Monastery of Santa María de El Parral

By the same path that brought us to the convent of Santa Cruz la Real, we returned to the wide and shady Mall, next to the river Eresma in the direction of the old Mint Factory (whose restoration seems to be close); At this point you have to follow a steep and stony road to the right, which leads to the famous monastery of Santa María de El Parral, one of the only two in Spain that are still in charge of the Jerónimos Monks (The other one is the Yuste monastery). The foundation is attributed to Don Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, although author as documented as the Marquis of Lozoya says that Villena was the founder of the church, while the monastery as a whole was a wish of Enrique IV. The attribution of the foundation to Juan Pacheco is due to a legend that tells that existing in the vicinity of this place a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, was chosen point for a challenge between Villena and another knight; the latter was accompanied by two characters, before what the Marquis, while unsheathing his steel, said: "Traitor; your treason will not be worth you, because if one of those who accompanies you fulfills what I promised, we will remain the same. " The phrase caused suspicions among the three men, which took the marquis to hurt two, while fleeing the third. The Marquis promised to build a Monastery dedicated to the Virgin.

The monastery is of great beauty in all its spaces, both the great church and the cloisters and other dependencies, some of them significantly improved over the years thanks to the enthusiasm of the monks and their fruitful efforts. The temple is presided over by an impressive plateresque golden and polychrome altarpiece, next to which are the sepulchres of the Marquises of Villena, among other burials.

The Jerónimos monks, dedicated to prayer and study, also work making wooden benches for temples. In their prayers they use the Gregorian chant; the monastery has a reduced Hospedería only for men.

The Legacy of Santo Domingo de Guzmán

The chronicler Diego de Colmenares tells that Santo Domingo He arrived in Segovia at 1218 to found his first convent. Coincided then that there was a huge drought in the city, and through the saint's intercession, God sent rain on it, so the sympathy of the Segovians, whose main nucleus lived then in the valley of the Eresma River, made the Dominican get Pope Honorio III, for the city of Segovia, a bull in gratitude for the welcome that the Segovians gave him and his friars. The saint sought a secluded place and found a cave not far from the river Eresma, where he devoted himself to prayer and penance, to prepare himself to preach to the Segovians. The place continues to be known as the Holy Cave. A small hermitage was built nearby, until the Catholic Monarchs, as previously mentioned, arranged the construction of the great convent, in one of whose walls they worked, in stone, their "Tanto monta, monta tanto".

We returned passing by the Mint Factory to the neighborhood of San Marcos, where, just arrived, we will climb a section of the road that leads to Zamarramala to visit the original church of the Vera Cruz, also known as Los Templarios because, according to some historians, this order was its founder, although there are others who are inclined to consider this foundation as an initiative of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. The truth is that there are several legends about the temple and the Templars. The church has a twelve-sided polygon plan with a triple apse, a tower and two portals. In the interior and in the center, an aedicule or shrine of two floors; In the upper one there is a small altar. All this is related to the rites attributed to the Templars. When the Order of the Temple was extinguished, the church became the property of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and later the Order of Malta, which had its custody until the end of the 18th century. It remained after many years almost abandoned until 1845; more recently, in 1951, it was handed back to the Order of Malta, whose knights celebrate some acts in it and go, with their characteristic uniforms, to the procession of the Holy Burial from the church of Zamarramala arrives at the Vera Cruz in the night of every Holy Friday. In the chapel of the temple, under the tower, there is a tabernacle of florid Gothic in which for centuries a relic of the Cross of Christ, donated by Honorius III in 1224, hidden for years, to preserve it from attempts of theft, was venerated in the church of the parish of Zamarramala, where the "Lignum Crucis" is given to adore the faithful during the services celebrated in the temple on Good Friday. Other objects from the Vera Cruz, including a recumbent Christ, are also kept in this church. Today, this neighborhood of Segovia, Zamarramala, is universally famous for its Mayors' feasts, which are celebrated in February, the Sunday closest to the 5 day, in honor of Santa Águeda, with the particularity that in this landmark day are the women who send in the collation. They dress the old clothing of Segovia and the two mayors, with a cap and a stick of command, preside over all the acts. In the procession with the image of the Saint, only the women can dance, take the litter of the image and intervene in the wheel dance; with them there is only one man, the parish priest, who usually wears manteo and tile in the old religious style.

The Convent of the Carmelite Fathers

After visiting the original church of La Vera Cruz or Los Templarios, we travel a short distance to the Alameda de la Fuencisla, where the great staircase that leads to the convent of the Carmelite Fathers; In a chapel of the temple is the altar with the urn that preserves the remains of San Juan de la Cruz, founder of this convent in 1586, whose construction he contributed with his hands and of which he was first prior. In the same chapel, on the ground, the hole that sheltered the remains of the saint appears until the construction of the current mausoleum, in 1927. There is also in the convent a picture with the image of Christ that tradition says that he spoke to the saint while praying before him; also, an image of San Juan that is attributed to Gregorio Fernández. In the wide garden, from which an impressive panorama of Segovia is contemplated, and in its highest part, there are two hermitages, in one of which it is said that the Mystic Saint composed some of his most beautiful poems, possibly, among them his "flame of love alive". In Holy Week there is a multitudinous Via Crucis through the roads of this garden. The late Pope John Paul II, the November 4 of 1982, prayed before the sepulcher of St. John of the Cross, to which he had great devotion.

In the convent there is a center of spirituality, with residence, very popular throughout the year with activities of retreats, exercises, conferences, meetings of religious and secular, etc.

We finish in the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Fuencisla

We finish our route today in the Virgen de la Fuencisla Sanctuary , patron saint of Segovia and its land, whose origin dates back to the time of the aforementioned miracle of the Jewish Esther that was thrown from the rocks under which the current temple, dating from the seventeenth century, is sheltered. The image of the Virgin is a sculpture of small size but very fine and endearing features, as well as the child who has in his right hand. The temple has formidable and artistic grilles and a Gothic pulpit. He was also visited by John Paul II at 1982.

Important Characters

JUAN DE YEPES was born in Fontiveros, Ávila, in 1542; later he lived in Arévalo and Medina del Campo, where he studied ecclesiastical studies; He dressed in the habit of Carmel in 1563, and was ordained a priest in 1567. A year later the task of reforming the order began, adopting then the name of Juan de la Cruz. Victim of false slander, she was imprisoned, but escaped by hanging from a window. In 1579 he is rector of the school of Baeza, then prior of the convent of Granada, vicar general of Andalusia, first definitor and vicar of the house of Segovia. He retired to the desert of Peñuela and went to die to Úbeda, the 14 of September of 1591. He was canonized in 1674. Secretly, in April 1593 moved his body from Úbeda to Segovia, in whose convent of PP. Carmelitas is venerated. This fact is said to be included in "El Quijote", where precisely the silent transfer of a body from Úbeda to Segovia is counted.

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