Huesca thematic

Number 72. May of 2004. Spanish language  Principal menu

Our Lady of Loreto (Huesca)

Lawrence Sanctuary
of special popular devotion

     It is found in the highway of Huesca to Banariés and it is a work built among the 1594-1777. Its architects were: Jerónimo Segura Bocanegra, 1594; Juan Antonio Torres, 1740-1777 and Gabriel Rubio, 1765.
     Documented since the century XII, the church of Loreto has been object of successive reconstructions since its first plan. Dependent of the abbey of Montearagón and rebuilded in 1387 to instances of pope Clemente VII, it will be Felipe II who promote in Loreto the foundation of a convent of Agustinos Calzados (Augustinians with shoes) in 1594. The present building, built by Juan Torres, originates of 1740 and its facade of "Herrerian" style, designed by Jerónimo Segura Bocanegra, was concluded for Gabriel Rubio in 1765. A mixed construction of masonry and brick, that reserves the work of stone for its facade and structure perimetral to the starter of the vaults, forging in brick the shafts of the interior pillars and the remainder of the building. Its plan responds to the typology of plant-parlor, composed for three naves of equal height covered by vaults, save the central chapel, covered by vault of tube. In its interior emphasizes its extensive cornice perimetral molding, that receives the starter of the vaults and serves of top to the exempt pillars. At the foot of the church, its main facade contains in its axis the access and composes a classical structure of two bodies with central niche, flanked by double stood out pilasters and culminated by triangular pediment. In the plan of the facade the tower is raised, concluded by an ocotogonal body forged in brick, on the square factory of the lower sections.
     The Virgin of Loreto is an advocation born in an Italian city in 1292, where miraculously was transferred the house that the Virgin inhabited in Nazarel. In reality, the origin of the Loreto of Huesca is quite previous, in spite of the coincidence of names. The oldest documentation went back to principles of the century XII but surely the place existed since before and there is who relates the place name with a "pre-roman" language, such similar to the actual Basque . According to this, the name of Lorenzo (Lawrence) would do reference to Loreto. In this way, the present sanctuary arises linked to San Lorenzo and his family and will be a great deal later when incorporate the devotion to the Virgin of Loreto. The first Christian oratorio could arise little after the death of San Lorenzo, although the first sure news are of 1102, when its dependence is stipulated of the abbey of Montearagón, building with that the cathedral is aligned visually.
      In 1240, is founded the first brotherhood in honor to the martyr of Huesca and it is established the procession of May 1. We also know about its reconstruction to ends of the century XIII and of a new consecration in 1500. The present temple of neoclassical forms was inaugurated with great pomp in 1777, when depended on the augustinians. Another procession famous is that of the "seven places" (Cuarte , Banariés, Huerrios, Alerre, Chimillas, Banastás and Yéqueda), the second Sunday of May.

      Referring to San Orencio, the different "hagiografics" traditions are confused respect to the bishop of Auch (France). The tradition of Huesca situates it in epoch Hispanic-Roman, as brother twin of Lorenzo. The French tradition, on the other hand, relates it to diverse facts of the century V, as are his "evangelization" in the French region of Bigorre and his mediation before the vandals to avoid the plunder of Auch.
      San Orencio and Santa Pacencia, the parents of San Orencio and San Lorenzo, according to the most accepted belief, they were a marriage of noble farm laborer that lived here in Loreto, surely an farmhouse, in the middle of the century III. A stack of stones and a monument indicates the place where, according to that tradition, Santa Paciencia waited for the two twins to the return of the school. When Orencio was widowed, accompanied to his homonymous son to French lands, to the appointment of this as bishop of Auch. Then he returned to Huesca.      
During the war of 1936, the sanctuary became headquarters of militiamen, who called it Errico Malatesta Castle, in remembrance of the famous anarchist Italian that extended his revolutionary ideas for every Europe, and even America, during the last decades of the century XIX and the first of the XX.

      San Lorenzo, patron saint of Huesca and regular of the parochial basilica of aragonese baroque style, was deacon of the pope San Sixto II and he died executed by the Romen few days after the pontiff, in the year 258, during the pursuit of Valeriano, to be refuse to deliver him the goods and files of the Christian community. The legend associates it to the martyrdom of being roasted alive in the grill, despite that the Roman edicts ordered a quick death.
      The day in which took place the famous battle of San Quintín, a 10 of August of 1557, coincided with the festivity of San Lorenzo. For that reason to commemorate the victory obtained by Felipe II on the French it was decided to raise the magnificent monastery of "El Escorial", under the "advocation" of this Saint. Recently, some authors, being based on written sources of Huesca, of the century XVII, aim the idea that Huesca, native city of San Lorenzo, could be one of the options that are shuffled in its day, besides Madrid, to build El Escorial.


* Manuel Tomé

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