Virgin of the Head
Patroness of Andujar and the Diocese of Jaen
Virgen de la Cabeza is a Marian advocation venerated in the Basilica of Our Lady de la Cabeza. She is the patron saint of Andújar by bull of Pope Pius X on March 18, 1909 and of the diocese of Jaén by bull of Pope John XXIII on November 27, 1959. In 2009, during the celebration of his Jubilee Year, the Pope Benedict XVI decorated her with the Rose of Gold, "singular privilege", with which the pope recognizes his patronage over the diocese of Jaén, the deep devotion with which he is venerated and the wide history of his pilgrimage, the oldest of the country. It is the first Marian image of Spain that receives it.
History and literature
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, in 1617 in his work The works of Persiles and Segismunda tells us about the pilgrimage that in honor of the Virgen de la Cabeza was celebrated in Andújar. According to the chroniclers, Cervantes was present in Sierra Morena in the pilgrimage of April of the year 1592.
Basilica of the Sanctuary
The original Sanctuary was built between 1287 and 1304. That building would be replaced by the one designed in the 16th century by Francisco del Castillo, the Mozo, in which architects such as his brother Benito and Bernabé de Lorca took part. After being destroyed in the civil war, it was rebuilt years later by the General Directorate of Devastas Regions.
Pilgrimage of the Virgen de la Cabeza
This pilgrimage is celebrated the last weekend of the month of April in the Sierra Morena. It is one of the oldest pilgrimages in Spain, it is a festival of national tourist interest, and declared in 2013 as an Asset of Cultural Interest. According to popular tradition the Virgin appeared to the pastor Juan Alonso de Rivas, native of Colomera (Granada), and after healing an arm that had prevented, told him to build a hermitage on the hill of Cabezo, place of appearance in 1227.
Our pilgrimage is an impressive manifestation of Marian fervor, adorned with the colors of the banners and flags of the Brotherhoods that come from all over Spain. It starts on Friday afternoon, with the reception of the brotherhoods in the city of Andújar. On Saturday morning there is a parade of the Matriz Guild through the city, accompanied by a large number of riders, amazons and couples to the rump, not forgetting the harnessed mules and jamugas. The pilgrims leave for the New Place prairie, next to the Jándula River, where they will have lunch and then continue the path to the Sanctuary. Sunday is the big day with the procession of the Blessed Virgin of the Head.