by Alejandro Bermudez
Denver Newsroom, 10/12/2021 / 1:23 AM
Our Lady of the Pillar (officially Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza in Spanish) is considered to be the first Marian apparitions in the history of Christianity and is the only one that happened during the lifetime of the Virgin Mary.
Although it was technically a dichotomy of Our Lady, since she lived with John the Apostle in Jerusalem, it is still considered an apparition in the tradition of the Church.
According to tradition, James the Elder, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist, traveled to Roman Hispania (present-day Spain) at great expense to evangelize the local tribes.
Not only did he face great difficulties, but he also saw very little apostolic fruits of conversion. Tradition says that when he was in 40 n encourage him.
The Virgin Mary, with the baby Jesus in his arms and standing on a pillar, asked Saint James and his eight disciples to build a church on this site and promised that “it will last from this moment until the end of time so that God “may through my intercession work miracles and wonders for all who place themselves under my auspices”.
The Church of Our Lady of the Pilar in Saragossa is the first Church of Mary in history and still stands today after surviving invasions and wars.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the communists dropped three bombs from an airplane, the bombs hit the roof, hit the ground, but none exploded. The three bombs now deactivated are currently on display in one of the walls of the basilica.
Our Lady is said to have given Saint James the small wooden statue of the apparition that now stands on the column in which she has arrived.
The wooden statue is a relatively simple image that is fifteen inches tall and stands on a 5.9 foot tall jasper column. But the crown that adorns her head is a masterpiece. It was made by thirty-three workers in forty-four days. The sun-like crown consists of 2,836 triangle cut diamonds, 2,725 roses, 145 pearls, 74 emeralds, 62 rubies and 46 sapphires. The baby Jesus’ crown is identical in shape, but not in size.
The basilica has been redesigned and expanded several times in the course of its history. The current structure was completed in the 17th century and includes 11 colorfully tiled domes and is the second largest church in Spain.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar is not only the patron saint of Spain, but also of all Hispanic peoples, since Christopher Columbus reached the American country on October 12, 1492, the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, and was celebrated as the first mass in America.