Map of Spain
Bishop David Arias was born in Spain, the land that traces its Christian roots to the early days of Christianity. St. Paul mentions that he had in mind to go to Spain. According to an oral and written tradition, St. James the Apostle preached the Gospel in Spain and ordained seven disciples there, "the seven apostolic men," to whom he entrusted the task of continuing to form the Church.
A fierce battle between Moors and Christians took place in 939. It was the Battle of Clavijo. The Christians, emboldened by a vision of St. James riding a white horse, defeated the Moors and since then has been invoked at every battle with the cry of "Santiago y cierra España" (Santiago close Spain).
Santiago's Cathedral and detail view of apostle's statue
    According to tradition, St. James became discouraged at the slow progress of his work, but he was comforted by the Virgin Mary who, while still living, had appeared to him on top of a small pillar in the city of Zaragoza. Hence the devotion to Our Lady of the Pillar, patroness of Spain. Shortly after the re-conquest in 1118, a church was built in Zaragoza, on the banks of the Ebro River. It was the first cathedral in Spain dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The people of Aragon have always had a great devotion to Our Lady of the Pillar. Several Popes declared her the Patroness of Spain and Hispanic-America. She is therefore called the "Queen of Hispanidad" and her feast day is October 12. St. James later went to Jerusalem where he was beheaded. His body was taken by boat to Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where a large cathedral was built to honor him and to entomb his body. Santiago has been, for centuries, a place of pilgrimage following the Way of St. James.  
Our Lady of the Pillar: main altar and statue
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