Cobre Sanctuary Pilgrimage
The history of the Cobre Sanctuary, begins when La Virgen de la Caridad was found in the bay of Nipe in 1608 for the siblings Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos and the black man Juan Moreno, all them natural of the district El Cobre.
The image was placed firstly in a small altar in the Herd of Barajagua, since the main altar of the church of El Cobre belonged to ferocious Santiago and the other ones two they were occupied by Santa Bárbara and Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
Then, next to tha church was built a hermitage and soon after, at the end of the XVIII century, it began to be born the miraculous fame and with her the legendary history of La Virgen del Cobre, giving rise to the gradual decrease of the adoration to the image of Santiago (War Apostle).
In 1915 the Veterans of Independence Guerra, request Pope Benedicto XV proclaim L Virgen del Cobre like Patron Saint from Cuba, and she’s it’s done May 10 1916. El Cobre Sanctuary is destination forced for the devote ones of the Patron Saint from Cuba, that they goes to this temple many times to pay promises.
The offerings are accumulated and deposited in “Capilla de os Milagros”: jewels of gold and precious stones, crutches, other wealth of diverse values and until the medal of gold won in 1954 by the North American writer Ernest Hemingway with Nobel Prize.
The pilgrims takes with them tiny stones of the mine and keep it in houses within liturgical vessel, pockets or handbags, as protection against the bad ones or maybe as good light for the personal and family future.
The Virgin has placed in the last three Churches, a followed by the other one, built in The Copper. The current church is the third that has had the Virgin whose party is September 8 and the current Church was built being the Basque Spanish Friar Valentín Zubizarreta (Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba ) September 8 1927.
December 20 1936 for orders of Pope Pío XI the virgin’s image is crowned in solemn ceremony made in the Boulevard of Santiago de Cuba. In December of 1977, Pope Pablo VI granted the title of Basilica to the church, responsibility carried out by the African Cardinal Bernardino Cantín.
January 24 1998, during Pope Juan Pablo II visit, crowned the Virgin during the mass that took place in the Plaza de la Revolución Antonio Maceo of Santiago de Cuba and he placed among her hands a rosary of gold. In the church the Virgin’s image is found it inside a glass urn within of which there are special climatic conditions. It is placed in the called “Camerín de la Virgen” where her faithful ones attends to pray and to put flowers. When the mass starts the Virgin’s image it rotates toward the temple, on the biggest altar putting on her face toward the people. Once the mass end up, she rotates again.
It’s did before manually and now electronically with the urn that was acquired in Montreal, Canada, where the candlestick that lolls in the Virgin’s room also comes. The mantel that she dressed was embroidered in gold by some closing nuns in Spain. Through the time the image of La Virgen de la Caridad (Cachita, as many people calls her) has been useful to make multiple petitions on the part of the believers that request comfort in the face of the pains, mercy and peace in the moments of more tension, freedom and relief in the battles, etc.
Places of Interest
- Monumento Al Cimarrón
- Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Cobre
Stunning as it materializes above the village of El Cobre Cuba, is most revered religious site shimmers against the verdant hills behind. Recently renovated – along with many other of Cuba’s churches – the church’s interior is impressive: light, but not ostentatious with some vivid stained glass. The existing basilica dates to 1927, though a sanctuary has existed on this site since 1648. There’s an unending line of pilgrims, many of whom will have traveled from as far as the US.
Visitors of El Cobre in Cuba maintain a respectful silence and light prayer candles (purchased outside). La Virgen resides in a glass case high above the altar. For such a powerful entity, she’s absolutely diminutive, some 40cm from crown to the hem of her golden robe. Check out the fine Cuban coat of arms in the center, a wondrous work of embroidery.
Most of the donations left here (crutches no longer needed, awards gained through prayer) have been removed. In a small chapel at the side of the basilica, there’s a small collection drawn from thousands of offerings giving thanks for favors bestowed by the Virgin. Signed baseballs, a TV, a thesis, a tangle of stethoscopes, a raft inner-tube sculpture (suggesting they made it across the Florida Straits safely) and floor-to-ceiling clusters of teeny metal body parts crowd the room.