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The True Cross of Caravaca: Origins, Meaning and Super Powers

The Caravaca Cross has incredible significance for Christians and for others worldwide.

It is miraculous and draws thousands of visitors to the Spanish town of Caravaca every year.

What kind of spiritual significance does this medieval relic possess?

The Pope holding the Cross of Caravaca - close up

We will explore this fascinating religious symbol and beautiful artifact in great thoroughness, answering all your questions.

The True Cross of Caravaca

It would be hard to find a relic with more value and significance than the Cross of Caravaca (or, Caravaca Cross).

This is because the cross is made of a fragment of wood from the very cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on.

The main distinctive feature of this lovely cross is that it’s a double crucifix, meaning it has two horizontal bars crossing the main–or vertical–bar.

The Cross of Caravaca
Image by Francisco Fernandez via Unspalsh

It features, of course, the body of Christ, along with two angels facing Christ in the center.

It is, in technical terms, a pectoral cross, meaning that it’s to be worn on the chest.

As you can surmise, such a large and imposing adornment would make the wearer seem very serious. We can all remember seeing images of large, bearded men wearing enormous crosses.

These are called patriarchs.

The Pope holding the cross of Caravaca

What is the Origin of the Caravaca Cross?

This cross is so revered and important partly because it represents the intersection (a crossing) of two major religions, the Muslim and Christian faiths.

The cross originated in the 13th or 14th centuries in Spain. The Moors (Muslims) ruled the Spanish (Christians).

In addition to trying to free their country through military battles, Christians also sent missionaries to try to convert as many people as possible, thus raising their numbers.

The legend of the appearance of the Cross of Caravaca

A missionary, Don Gines Perez Chirinos de Cuenca, was apprehended by Moorish forces and made to appear before King Zeyt-Abuzeyt.

The king had the missionary prepare a communion, the christians’ faith ritual commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. The king arranged all the supplies (candles, an altar, etc).

Except for a cross, which a Muslim would not have. And could not be found anywhere in the Moorish Kingdom.

Suddenly, 2 angels appeared outside the window, carrying what we now know as the Caravaca Holy Cross.

The legend of the appearance of the Cross of Caravaca in a Spanish old document

It is said that as this miracle occurred, King Zeyt-Abuzeyt converted to Christianity.

From then on, the cross, said to be part of the original crucifix, became a huge part of Christian lore and a point of pride for the village of Caravaca.

Symbolism of the Caravaca Cross

The cross became known as the one true cross (vera cruz) and was protected by orders such as the Knights Templar for centuries.

That is due to the powerful symbolism. First, it stands for protection or safety, of the condition of being watched over.

It also is seen as a talisman and a guarantee of good health and good fortune. But it is known by practitioners of witchcraft as a powerful tool for spell casting.

The cross of Caravaca

Using the Caravaca Cross

The cross is used by a variety of peoples in a variety of ways. It is commonly used together with an amulet called the Secret of the Virtuous Horseshoe (“El Secreto De La Virtuoso Herradura”).

This looks like a horseshoe except that it’s decorated, often with a vibrant red and with sequins. Sometimes with small photos of San Martin Caballero.

Cross of Caravaca Pyramid Clear Resin
Image by VictoriousAngelusa via Etsy

La cruz de Caravaca (the cross of Caravaca) is usually displayed inside of this horseshoe.

This combination amulet then helps those who commune with it by warding off their enemies. According to some variants, the combination amulet also brings wealth and financial stability.

Apart from being used with the virtuous horseshoe, the Cross of Caravaca can be looked upon, held, or worn.

It will give its spiritual blessings no matter which use is employed.

The Caravaca Wall Cross
Image by Seraphymdesignsvia Etsy

In modern days, people can even purchase a hanging form of the Cross of Caravaca, in which the crucifix is attached to a heavy string of beads to be hung on a hook on a wall, thus warding off bad luck and bad spirits alike.

In fact, there’s even a variety that includes evil eyes inset into the beads on the chain.

The evil eye is a curse that can be cast against someone of whom you’re jealous, but it can also ward off that very curse.

Solid Gold Cross of Caravaca Pendant for Necklace
Image by IceOnFireJewelry via Etsy

Jewelry With the Cross of Caravaca

This miraculous cross is often worn as jewelry in the form of a pendant. Whether gold or silver, one major use of such pendants is attaching them to a necklace.

Many pendants on necklaces have a scalloped shell, sometimes inside the cross and sometimes larger than the cross, with the cross inside.

Bracelets are widely available, sometimes with the rest of the cross strung into the rest of the bracelet.

In some cases, the cross of caravaca is inset into a thick leather band or something similar.

There are also a great selection of earrings with the caravaca cross, and even cufflinks.

Cross of Caravaca and Famous Historical Figures

There is no question that this cross has played at least a tiny role in the lives of many historical figures, in addition to the obvious one, Jesus Christ.

For example, Christopher Columbus was accompanied to the New World by Franciscan monks, who brought many copies of the Caravaca Cross with them.

That is why we see so many of these double crucifixes all across South and Central America to this day.

Napoleon was a French leader who attempted to essentially conquer all of the western world.

The True Cross of Caravaca
Image by Detour via Pixabay

He invaded Spain in 1807. The ransacking and looting for which his troops were responsible caused church authorities to remove the Cross of Caravaca from the castle at which it was held.

These holy crosses were buried somewhere nearby, and not restored to their original homes until 1818.

Various popes have become invested in the preservation and protection of the true cross, and this has been ongoing for centuries.

Pope Pius XII generously gave fragments of the cross to the town of Caravaca de la Cruz in 1994.

Four years later, the same Pope granted the celebration of the Cross of Caravaca an official Jubilee Year, which occurs every seven years (the next one will be 2024).

When a city is granted a Jubilee it becomes a Holy City. That makes Caravaca de la Cruz the fifth Holy City in the world.

Caballos del vino Caravaca
Image by Mecun via Wikimedia

City of Caravaca de la Cruz

Caravaca de la Cruz is the Spanish town in which the original miracle of the cross happened.

That is why it is called Caravaca de la Cruz, which means “of the cross.” It’s located in the region of Murcia, in Southeastern Spain.

It contains many beautiful Catholic churches in addition to the Sanctuary of the Cross itself.

It also is home to many museums, including a museum to the cross.

Sanctuary of True Cross

But the biggest component of Caravaca de la Cruz is Santuario de la Cruz (Sanctuary of the true cross).

This sanctuary is inside of a large fortress, a sand-colored building with columns and spires that is visible throughout the entire town.

In this building is the Museo de la Cruz.

Originally built in the 17th century, this important religious building has been maintained ever since.

The cross of Carvaca - Angels

May Festival for the Cross

Each May in Caravaca de la Cruz, from the 1st to the 5th, a series of festivals that pay tribute to the origin of the true cross.

It includes, but isn’t limited to, the original communion of Missionary Don.

One of the festivals, called the “Caballos del vino”, or Wine Horses, refers to the Muslim siege of the city from which the main legend comes. And a particular incident in which horses carried wineskins to the Spanish.

Most of the town is decked out in vibrant red and white during these May festivals.

Virgen de las Angustias Caravaca
Image by Mecun via Wikimedia

There is a celebration to bless the water used to irrigate the village’s farms.

It’s an amazing celebration with so many earthy and religious elements combined. It is also a rich celebration of the history of the people.

To Wrap Up

The Caravaca Cross is a truly fascinating piece of history that dates back roughly 600 years.

Its mythology involves a fascinating story and its design is definitely spectacular.

It started in Spain and spread across the Spanish-speaking world and many elements of the world as a whole.

It is a great, meaningful symbol for jewelry of all varieties.

Caravaca Cross FAQ

What is the history of the Caravaca Cross?

In the 13th Century, a Muslim king occupying Spain for the Moors challenged a missionary to perform a communion. The missionary said he needed a cross and two angels are said to have flown by carrying a cross.

What is a Caravaca Crucifix?

The cross is called this because of the town in which it originated. It’s a double crucifix that is said to be from a fragment of wood from the original crucifix of Jesus Christ.