Basilica of Candelaria

Basilica of the Royal Marian Shrine of the Our Lady of Candelaria

Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria

Basic information
Location Candelaria, Tenerife, Spain.
Geographic coordinates 28°21′05″N 16°22′11″W / 28.35139°N 16.36972°W / 28.35139; -16.36972Coordinates: 28°21′05″N 16°22′11″W / 28.35139°N 16.36972°W / 28.35139; -16.36972

Affiliation Roman Catholic
Province Archdiocese of Seville
District Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna
Year consecrated 1959
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica, Royal Marian shrine and conventual church
Architectural description
Architect(s) José Enrique Marrero Regalado
Architectural style Neoclassicism
Direction of façade West
Groundbreaking 1949
Completed 1959
Capacity 5000

The Basilica of the Royal Marian Shrine of the Our Lady of Candelaria[1] (Spanish: Basílica y Real Santuario Mariano de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria or simply Spanish: Basílica de la Candelaria) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica, the first Marian shrine of the Canary Islands,[2] located in the municipality and city of Candelaria on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). It is located c. 20 km (12 mi) south of the island's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The basilica is dedicated to the Virgin of Candelaria (Patron of the Canary Islands).[3] The Basilica of Candelaria is the category of cultural interest, declared as such by the Government of the Canary Islands. The basilica was designed by architect José Enrique Marrero Regalado.[4]


In 1390, Candelaria was a solitary and desert place that the shepherds were frequenting guanches of Menceyato de Güímar (pre-Hispanic kingdom). One evening, two natives who were leading his cattle, saw as some goats they were refusing to happen on having come to the mouth of the ravine, there went forward one of them thinking that there were people who they wanted to steal and they found, on a rock, the Holy Image of the Virgin of Candelaria (declared principal patron of the Canary Islands with posteriority).

The image was found in a beach near to Candelaria, initially the image was moved to Cueva de Chinguaro, which was the palace of the King of Menceyato de Güímar. But later same guanches moved her to Cueva de Achbinico in Candelaria, and there it was venerated since then. At first aboriginal identified with the appearance of their goddess Chaxiraxi (the mother of the gods), but later the Christian conquerors explained that the image was the Virgin Mary. Later a hermitage was constructed, this cave was also used as a cemetery for the faithful Christian devotees of the Virgin. In 1596, King Philip III was declared protector of the Virgin of Candelaria. The Spanish monarch after ascending the throne, gave the title "Royal" to the Sanctuary of the Candelaria. Therefore, it is also the first sanctuary in the Canary Islands to receive that title.[5]

Later the present basilica was built over an old church that was destroyed by fire in 1789. However, the actual construction of the temple were postponed several times for various reasons: the economic crisis of 1931 following the proclamation of the Second Republic and later by the World War II and Spanish Civil War. Finally, the bishop of Tenerife, Domingo Pérez Cáceres promoted the construction commissioning the architect Jose Enrique Marrero Regalado. The new sanctuary would be a neo-Canarian eclectic mix of all styles that have occurred in the Canary Islands. Several donations came from all the islands, the basilica would take almost a decade to finish. Finally, on February 1, 1959 the basilica was consecrated in a large religious ceremony. Nowadays Candelaria is the principal Catholic center of peregrination of the Canary Islands[2] and one of the principal ones of Spain, the basilica hosts more than 2,5 million visitors annually.[6][7] The Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria is a building that can house up to 5,000 people.

Among the most significant figures who have visited the basilica include heads of state or government, as well as the most prominent figures of the Church, Military, Politics, Sports, Art, etc. Among them occupy an honored role of the current King of Spain, Juan Carlos I de Borbón and Sofia of Greece, who visited while still being princes and then, as kings, in 1977.

The church holds the title and dignity of a minor basilica, bestowed upon it by Pope Benedict XVI on 24 January 2011. That title was officially celebrated on 2 February of that year, coinciding with the feast of Candlemas.[8]

Interior of the basilica

Another feature of the basilica are the mural paintings that are mostly found on the altar. These paintings usually represent angels and other canarian saints who were devotees of the Virgin of Candelaria. Above the altar is where the image of the Virgin.

  • The Camarín de la Virgen de Candelaria, a room just behind the altar, is the location of the wooden statue of the Virgin of Candelaria. It is opened after mass.
  • The Capilla del Sagrario is located next to the sacristy, features a mural depicting the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles, by José Aguiar. Also found in the chapel windows with scenes from the apparition of the Virgin to the Guanches.
  • The Capilla del Cristo de la Reconciliación was blessed on April 19, 1996. It features an image of the crucified Christ made by artist Ricardo Rivera Martínez in 1936. The Chapel of the Holy Christ of Reconciliation is the penitential chapel of the basilica, dedicated to the confessions. This image of Jesus Christ is inspired by the Shroud of Turin primarily by the position of the nails in his hands.
  • The Sala de las Velas next to the main entrance to the basilica. Takes its name from offerings of candles and flowers placed inside the faithful. Over the living room table of the Canonical Coronation of the Virgin of Candelaria. In the room there are phrases that tell the story of the Virgin and her temple.

Festivity and schedule

Every 14 and 15 August this basilica houses pilgrims who come to celebrate the Virgin of Candelaria (Patron of the Canary Islands)[3] the day of her festival. Stresses on August 14 the "Romeria" and the representation of the appearance of the Virgin. Day 15 is made the solemn Mass and procession subsequent presence of the Principal authorities, religious, political, civil and military de Canarias.

Also, every February 2, pilgrims came to the basilica to celebrate the liturgical feast of Candlemas. Day 1 is celebrated by a torchlight procession around the basilica. Day 2 is performed again a Mass and procession presided by the Bishop of Tenerife and the highest authorities.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria is open every day of the year, the opening of the basilica and masses celebrated in it are the following:[9]

  • Basilica:
    • Closed Monday morning.
    • Monday afternoon, from 15:00 to 19:00 h.
    • From Tuesday to Sunday and holidays from 07:30 to 19:30 h.
  • Masses:
    • Monday at 18:00 h.
    • From Tuesday to Saturday at 08:00 and at 18:00 h.
    • Sundays and holy days at 08:00, 10:00, 12:00 and 18:00 h.


See also


External links

  • Official website of the Basilica of Candelaria
  • The Black Madonna: Virgin of Candelaria
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