Zaragoza (Spain): Madonna del Pilar sanctuary


What to see and history of the Sanctuary of Zaragoza dedicated to the Madonna del Pilar, located in the place where the first chapel was built, miracle of the recovered leg and prayer to the Madonna.


The Sanctuary is one of the largest churches in the world and is located in Zaragoza in Spain, on the right bank of the Ebro river, in a very scenic position.

The building has a large central dome and ten smaller domes.

At the four corners rise the four towers which, with their approximately 100 meters, are the tallest in Spain.

The current building was rebuilt between the late seventeenth and early twentieth century in neoclassical baroque style.

What see

Its interior is decorated with frescoes by well-known artists, marbles, bronzes and silvers, also in the Santa Cappella there is the Pilar, which represents the reason why this Sanctuary was created, or an alabaster column that would be the one on which the virgin he would put his feet down.

The Pilar, which is coated in bronze and silver, holds a small 15th century statue, made of black wood, which represents the Madonna wrapped in a voluminous mantle and with the Baby Jesus in her arms.

It was precisely around this column that, in the year 40 AD, the first chapel was built.

This first work was followed by renovations and an early Christian, Romanesque and Gothic building was built, before reaching the splendid Cathedral which can now be admired in Zaragoza.

Apparition of the Madonna

According to tradition, Mary, carried by angels, would have come to Spain from Jerusalem in mortal flesh, on the night of January 2 of the year 40 AD.

The Madonna, in fact, was still alive on this earth after the death of her Son Jesus, which occurred about 7 years earlier, and would have appeared to the apostle James who was in this land to announce the Gospel, with the aim of bringing him comfort , as he was deeply disappointed by the poor results achieved with his preaching.

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In 1640 a miraculous event occurred which contributed to making the sanctuary even more famous.

It is said that a 17-year-old young man, Miguel Juan Pellicer of Calanda, while driving a cart pulled by two mules, fell disastrously and ended up under a cart wheel, which broke and crushed the tibia of his right leg in the middle.

So it was necessary to amputate his injured leg at a distance of about 4 fingers from the kneecap.

Before being operated on, the boy had gone to the Santuario del Pilar to pray and with the desire to approach the sacraments.

After the operation, Miguel Juan returned to that place of worship to offer his thanks to the Madonna for saving his life.

No longer having the opportunity to carry on his work, Miguel Juan together with other beggars asked for alms at the entrance of the basilica and, whenever the oil of the 77 silver lamps was renewed, which were permanently lit in the chapel of the Virgin, he rubbed the sores.

On March 19, 1640, after returning home and invoking, as usual, the Virgin of Pilar, she fell deeply asleep and the next morning, on waking up, she found that she had both legs again.


Traditionally, great celebrations are held every year in honor of the Madonna del Pilar in October, during which it is possible to attend many folkloric events, including the Giants and Cabezudos parades, in addition to the representation of the jota, which constitutes, at the same time, the Aragonese dance and music par excellence.


Hail Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church! Hail, life, sweetness and our hope!

To your care this evening I entrust the needs of all the families of Spain, the joys of the children, the desires of the young, the worries of the adults, the pain of the sick, and the serene old age of the elderly Holy Virgin of the Pilar: increase our faith , strengthen our hope, revive our charity.

Rescue those who suffer misfortunes, those who suffer from loneliness, ignorance or hunger or lack of work.

Strengthen the weak in faith.

It arouses in young people the availability for a full donation to God.

Protect whole Spain and its citizens, men and women.

And assist maternally, O Mary, those who invoke you as Patroness of Spain.

So be it.

Our Lady of the Pillar (November 2021)

Tags: Spain