Santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza
The Santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza is the home of the image of the Virgen de la Cabeza, patron saint of Andújar (and hunters). The Virgen de la Cabeza was venerated by Pope Pius X on March 18, 1909, and the Diocese of Jaén, was by the decree of Pope John XXIII on 27 November 1959. The Sanctuary was built between 1287 and 1304, and renovated at the end of the sixteenth century. Since 1930, the Trinitarians have attended worship in the Sanctuary and maintain their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the Spanish Civil War, the sancruary was the refuge of two hundred rebellious civil guards who joined the military uprising in July 1936. They resisted a siege for nine months against a much larger contingent of soldiers loyal to the Government of the Second Spanish Republic. During these months, some people left the Sanctuary and surrendered to their attackers. On 1st May 1937 the Sanctuary was reduced to rubble and Captain Santiago Cortés González was mortally wounded. The Sanctuary was eventually taken over by the republicans. It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2013 and is located on Cerro del Cabezo.
FIESTA Y ROMERIA DE LA VIRGEN DE LA CABEZA
28th April 2024
(To be confirmed by Hermandad)
Virgin de la Cabeza is the second most popular festival in Andalucia with up to 250,000 pilgrims, it traditionally takes place on weekend of the last Sunday of April each year outside the town of Andujar in Jaen province.
The story goes that in 1227, a shepherd with a damaged arm found an image of the Virgin de la Cabeza on the Cerro de Cabezo (a mountain peak in the Sierra Morena); soon after, his arm was miraculously cured. The Romeria, of today which goes the sanctuary that built on this spot, dates from the 14th century, and was mentioned by Cervantes. It is the biggest pilgrimage in Andalucia after El Rocio, and is attended by 250,000 people every year (El Rocio has up to a million). It is also the oldest Romeria in Spain.
Friday of the Pilgrimage
The reception in Andújar on the Friday afternoon before the last Sunday in April marks the beginning of the Pilgrimage. The Real Cofradía Matriz de Andújar, together with the Mayor of Andújar, receives in the Colón gardens all those who will be going up to the Sanctuary the following day, to give them a warm welcome. The parade then begins through the main streets of the city, to the Town Hall where a salve will be sung.
On Saturday morning, the Cofradía Matriz parades through the streets of Anduajar, accompanied by couples on horseback. The festive atmosphere continues on the route that leads to the hermitage of San Ginés, the first stop of the day, before continuing to the "Lugar Nuevo" on the banks of the river Jándula, where the pilgrims stop for lunch before continuing on to the Sanctuary.
On arrival at the sanctuary, the cofradías (brotherhoods) line up to pay their respects to the image of the Virgin. Throughout the night, there is an intimacy about the Virgin in the chapel. In the church, masses and rosaries are celebrated.
Sunday is the big day, the culmination of the festival, the apotheosis of Mary at the top of her mountain. An altar is set up on the esplanade of the Sanctuary so that most of the pilgrims can attend and participate in the Eucharist. The pealing of the church bells at midday announces the most solemn and high point of the pilgrimage, the procession of the Santísima Virgen de la Cabeza.
All the brotherhoods have lined up along the road. The Virgen's procession is surrounded by a crowd of devotees.
When the Virgen returns to her sanctuary after a four-hour procession, a new year begins for the pilgrims, who return to Andujar or the other villages and their hometowns on Sunday or Monday, taking with them souvenirs such as rosemary.
Caraterra el Santuario, 32, 23748 Andújar, Jaén