Basilica and Royal Sanctuary of Santa Maria de la Victoria

Publicado: 21/08/2012: 9384

This site has its origins in 1487. During that year King Ferdinand the Catholic, settled his camp in the same place until he conquered the city on August 18th. The graven image of Santa Maria de la Victoria (Saint Mary of Victory) was already by the monarch’s side during this time.

The creator of the image is unknown. Legend has it that it was Emperor Maximilian of Austria who presented the icon to the Catholic Monarchs.  During the siege of the city of Malaga some friars from the Order of Minims arrived bearing a letter from its founder, St. Francis of Paola, in which he requested permission to establish convents in the name of the Order in Spain and encouraged the king to maintain the siege of Malaga, as it would be taken in three days.  The king delayed the granting of the permit until the end of the Reconquest and the fall of Malaga was ascribed to the intervention of the Virgin, who since then has also been honoured with the name of Santa Maria de la Victoria (Holy Mary of Victory), an inscription with this name is carved on the base of the image itself.  Hermit fray Bartolome Coloma was left in charge of the Royal Chapel, where the image of the Virgen de la Victoria was worshipped. 

In 1492 the Order of Minims again asked for permission, to found monasteries in Spain, this was granted the following year.  They set up their headquarters in Malaga and the nickname ‘Victorios' or 'monks of Victory' has travelled with them around the country from that time forward by request of the Catholic Monarchs. In the 21st century the Mimims province of Spain was named Santa Maria de la Victoria (Saint Mary of Victory), and is under the protection of the image.  The temple is attached to the former convent of the Order of Minims. The belfry-tower of the building stands where the South and West facades meet.  A porch with semicircular arches and fences surrounds the two doors of the temple.  The Papal coat of arms of His Holiness Benedict XVI adorns the south gate; it was he who, in March 2007, granted the Real Santuario de la Victoria (Royal Sanctuary of Victory) the title of Minor Basilica.  The church is built on a Latin cross plan with two side aisles with chapels, a raised choir at one end and several stands between the pilasters; the crossing, which is enclosed by a dome on pendentives, closes its arms in an apse arrangement.  The main nave is covered with a barrel vault ceiling with lunettes and barrel arches and is joined by pilasters whose architectural arrangement may hold an allegorical meaning, as the capital is a hybrid of Doric and Corinthian styles, in reference to the austerity of the order and Marian dedication of the temple.  In the central part of the altarpiece there is an open space that leads to the niche which houses the shrine of the image of Santa Maria de la Victoria, the patron Saint of Malaga and its diocese.  The altarpiece depicts scenes from the life of Saint Francisco de Paula (St. Francis of Paola) and the attic commemorates the historic events that occurred on the site in August 1487.

The granting of the title of Basilica to the Royal Sanctuary by the Vatican was announced to the city of Malaga on April 25th 2007.


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