The most magical sanctuaries of Galicia

Religion is one of the elements of Galician culture that has a stronger linkage with the oral tradition of this land. Far from being limited to written records, the most mystical legends have survived thanks to its transmission from generation to generation. The richness of the architectural heritage of our territory is strongly linked to thousands of fables revolve around the miracles occurred in certain houses, cemeteries or temples. This time we will focus on the latter ecclesiastical buildings, to show those with greater significance in the collective imagination of the magical Galicia.

Sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido

We can not talk about mysticism without mentioning the magic shrines of this small parish of Cedeira. The sanctuary of San Andrés is the core of many legends that revolve around the picturesque place where it is located. The most famous one says that those who don’t visit the temple while they are alive, will do it after their death reincarnated in an insect or reptile. Jesus had promised it to the apostle Andrew after the latter confessed his sadness caused by the lack of devotees due to the geographical isolation of his temple. Water and rocks, characteristic features of the place, are also rooted in the anthology of folktales that over the years has been shaping one of the most mystical places in Galicia. Thus, the water that flows from the source of the Three Sewers of San Andrés de Teixido, reveals the holy pilgrims if the Saint will be benevolent with their requests or not depending on whether the bread crumbs that they have to shed fleet –a positive signal– or sink. The stones, according to the legend, will come to life on the Last Judgment to act as a witness to confirm the arrival of the pilgrims to the temple.

san andrés

Hermitage of Santiaguiño do Monte

Located in a lush environment of the village of Padrón, in the province of A Coruña, this small church hides a legend that relates to the Apostle James. Apparently, James, who had already run out of forces after years of evangelization in vain saw the appearance of the Virgin Mary, who came to encourage him, on the Mount. After this event, the exact place where the temple is located was chosen by the saint as the last geographic point at which preach to pagans before heading to Palestine, where he would later be killed by King Herod Agrippa I. As the story goes, James, in an attempt to demonstrate the power of God to a pagan, broke his cane against a rock making the water emanate from it and, since then, the stones surrounding the chapel and water that emanates from its source are considered miraculous.


Sanctuary of Virxe da Barca

The Apostle James also stars the legend behind the Santuario da Virxe da Barca, located in Muxía, in one of the most famous places on the Costa da Morte. On this occasion, we are told that the saint was saved from imminent drowning in the rough waters of the place by the Virgin Mary, who arrived on a stone boat not only in order to help him, but also to tell him that his preaching had taken effect between the inhabitants of the area. It is then that the Apostle, in gratitude, build an altar on the stone remains of the boat, which at present are its great attraction: the Piedra de Abalar, which was the basis of the boat and is credited with the power of presage misfortune or prove the guilt or innocence of the people; the Piedra de los Riñones, which was the sail of the boat and has curative properties; and the Piedra del Timón, wich was the held of the craft.


Hermitage of Chamorro

The hill of Ferrol where this chapel is located has been a place of worship since prehistoric times, something confirmed by the remains of petroglyphs found at the scene. It was in the sixteenth century when a temple dedicated to the Virgin of the Nordés was built. But what was it that moved the name under which it was known that Virgin? Well, in this issue revolves the story of the hermitage of Chamorro, erected as a place of pilgrimage for all Christians residents of the city of Ferrol. According to legend, in the seventeenth century, a fisherman from the area was working when he was surprised by a storm that made the sea grow rough. The man, desperate to a certain death, appealed to the Virgin shouting the phrase “¡xa morro!” –that means “I’ll die!”– , and the Saint went to his pleas saving him from drowning. The news reached the ears of the other inhabitants of Ferrol, who, from that moment began to meet Nordés Virgin as “Virxe Xa Morro,” which led to the current name of Chamorro. Every year, the Monday following Easter Sunday, hundreds of people from Ferrol pay homage to its legendary patron by walking up to the hermitage and often even kneeling up.


Sanctuary of O Corpiño

This sacred place situated in Lalín, in the province of Pontevedra, greets crowd of devotees on 23 and 24 of June of each year. The reason is none other than a popular belief that grants known as Virxe O Bodice a series of powers among which the purifying and freeing any devotee of a haunting or psychological problem. The legend of the sanctuary dates back to the seventh century, when the body of a holy hermit devoted to the Virgin Mary was found incorrupt around the cave where lived located in the north of the river Deza. Locals built in his honor a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in which the protagonist was a devotee. When the invasion of the troops of Almanzor took place, Christians were forced to flee the area and the sanctuary was completely destroyed. It was five centuries later, in the twelfth, when two children who were to shelter from a storm to the ruins of the ancient sanctuary, could witness an apparition of the Virgin accompanied by great flashes of light. Because of the feeling of wellbeing that those who presence the apparitions claimed to experiment, the idea that her power is centered on curing all kinds of ailments, especially those affecting the mind, was spread.