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Covadonga, Spain (722)


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  Covadonga, Spain (722)  


One of the oldest apparition sites of Our Lady in all of Spain and Portugal, Real Sitio De Covadonga where Dom Pelayo, first King of the Asturias led the first victory over the Moors in all the Iberian Peninsula in the year 722. Our Lady appeared to Dom Pelayo and left behind a statue of Herself and the Christ Child. Then the Christians saw angels on top of the other mountain pushing down rocks and large boulders down on the Moors below. From Covadonga the counter offensive against the Moors continued until many years later they were all pushed out of Portugal and Spain.




Tthe Muslim Arabs invaded the Iberian Peninsula. The Visigothic King Rodrigo died facing them in the Andalusian field of Guadalete in southern Spain. Taking a position of resistance against the rapid conquest and domination of the infidel, Don Pelayo led a group of valorous knights who had withdrawn to the northern mountains of the Asturias to recoup and fight.


The Arabs considered Spain a conquered country and were preparing to enter the Gaul of the Goths when they heard about the revolt of the Austurians. The Moors sent a well trained army under the command of General Alkamar with orders to destroy Don Pelayo and his men.


Don Pelayo prepared the resistance to meet the large Muslim army at Alzeba Mountain, where the cliffs offered an advantage to the greatly outnumbered Catholicsat a ratio of a hundred to one. The soldiers wanted a sign to show that God was with them to fight or run away. Dom Pelayo made a cross with two pieces of wood and held it up on an old Roman bridge in Cangas de Onis and said, "This will be our sign as it was for Constantine."


He placed his men strategically along the cliffs and they moved into the cave to make their stand and to fight, as the Moors came up from the valley below. As they were about to fight Our Lady appeared to Dom Pelayo without saying a word. When Pelayo turned away from her to see the Moors approaching and then turned back to Her to ask for help, She had disappeared and left behind a statue of Herself and the Christ Child dating back to the early Church fathers.

He placed his men strategically along the cliffs, and while they waited for the enemy to advance, he went to the nearby Cave of Covadonga, where he had placed a statue of Our Lady and asked for her special protection in the coming battle.


The Moors began the attack, sending arrows at the Catholic soldiers behind the stone cliffs. But already, at this first attack, something extraordinary happened: the arrows returned against the Moorish archers who had drawn the bows, killing them. A group of Catholics advanced to fight, while others shot arrows and threw stones and trunks from the Alzeba Mountain down over the enemy troops.


After a short while, Suleiman, the second in command, fell dead, disorder erupted in the army, and Alkamar gave the order to retreat.

At that moment a terrible storm broke out. Thunder roared, lightning lit the dark slopes, and heavy rain caused mudslides that sent boulders and trees tumbling down the mountain and falling over the retreating Arab troops. Struggling in the mud, many Moorish soldiers slipped and fell into the Deva River, where they drowned. The Holy Virgin made the mountain itself fall over the soldiers of Muhammad.


The battle of Covadonga was won, and Pelayo was proclaimed King of the Austurias. In recognition of the miraculous intercession of Our Lady, King Alfonso I the Catholic (739-757) commanded that a monastery and chapel be built on the site in honor of Our Lady of Covadonga.


A new Basilica was erected and consecrated. The statue still stands in the same spot in the cave and the cross Pelayo made is in the Reliquarium in Oviedo Cathedral.


When Our Lady appeared to Dom Pelayo she did not say a word but left a statue in the cave.

Miracles, Cures, and Signs

The Christians defeated the Moors at the battle of Covadonga against incredible odds.


The apparition story of Our Lady of Covadonga is legendary and receives traditional approval from the Church. A Basilica stands at the spot of the apparition to honor Our Lady.

The feast of Our Lady of Covadonga is September 7.


Tradition in Action - Our Lady of Covadonga

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