Santander, Spain Late Seventeenth Century
entering the sixteenth-century Church of St. Peter, attention is immediately captured
by the beautiful life-size figure of the crucified Savior located above the main
altar. Arranged on either side of the crucifix, and somewhat below it, are larger-than-life
size figures of the Sorrowful Mother and St. John the Apostle. Believed to have
been the work of Pedro de Mena, who died in 1693, the crucifix was given to the
church by Don Diego de la Piedra Secadura, who had been born at Limpias in 1716.
crucifix is a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord and is thought to portray
the Crucified in the final moments of His agony. Measuring six feet tall, the
corpus is clothed with a loin cloth that is held in place with a rope. The feet
are one atop the other and are pierced with a single nail. The index and middle
fingers of both pierced hands are extended as though giving a final blessing.
The face of Our Lord is of a particular beauty, with it's eyes of china looking
towards Heaven so that, for the most part, only the whites of the eyes are visible.
first recorded miracle involving this crucifix took place in 1914, five years
before the grand miracles of 1919. The recipient of the favor was Don Antonio
Lopez, a monk belonging to the Order of the Pauline Fathers who conducted a college
in Limpas. his entire account reads as follows:
in the month of August, 1914, I went into the parish church of Limpias, by order
of my friend D. Gregorio Bringas, to fix the electric light over the high altar.
In order to work more comfortably I put two large cases on the altar, an on them
a ladder, the ends of which I leaned against the wall that serves as a background
to the figure of the Crucified One.
I had worked for two hours, in order to rest myself a little I began to clean
the figure so that it could be seen more clearly. My head was on a level with
the Head of Christ, and at a distance of only a couple of feet from it. It was
a lovely day and through the window in the sanctuary a flood of light streamed
into the church and lit up the whole altar. As I was gazing at the crucifix with
the closest attention, I noticed with astonishment that Our Lord's eyes were
gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed.
with fright at such an unexpected spectacle, I could still hardly quite believe
what I saw, and was about to come down from the ladder. Notwithstanding, my bewilderment
was so great that my strength suddenly failed me; I lost my balance, fainted,
and fell from the ladder onto the edge of the altar itself and down the steps
into the sanctuary.
Miracle was when Archpriest D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating Holy Mass, both
missionaries were occupied in the confessional. Fr. Agatangelo, however, delivered
the day's sermon based on the words "My son, give me thy heart." (pro.23:26).
While he was speaking, a girl of about 12 entered the confessional of Fr. Jalon
and told him the eyes of Christ on the cross were closed. Thinking that her
claim was a product of her imagination, the priest ignored her claim until other
children also came to him with the same message.
the parish priest was called from the sacristy and was told the eyes of the Crucified
were opening and closing and that the figure was turning His gaze from side to
side, he, too, fell on his knees to pray. But his prayer was soon interrupted
by many of the people who declared that the figures was perspiring. Fr. Jalon
climbed up and saw that the perspiration covered the figures neck and chest. after
touching the neck he looked upon his fingers that were wet with the fluid. As
verification of what had taken place, he showed his moistened fingers to the congregation.
Fr. Agatangelo later saw the miracle several times when he prayed alone in the
church at night.
took place on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, when two prominent men of Limpas approached
the altar. Speaking of hallucination and mass hysteria as they looked upon the
crucifix, one of them suddenly pointed upward and feel to his knees, crying for
mercy and proclaiming his belief in the miracle.
Easter Sunday April 20, in the presence of a group of nuns know as the Daughter
of the Cross who conducted a girls school in Limpas. They saw the eyes and lips
of Santo Cristo move. Rev. Baron Von Kleist reports that:
Many said the
Savior looked at them; at some in a kindly manner, and at others gravely, and
at yet others with a penetrating and stern glance. Many of them saw tears in
His eyes; others noticed that drops of blood ram down from the temples pierced
by the crown of thorns; some saw froth on His lips and sweat on His body;
others again saw how He turned His eyes from side to side, and let His gaze pass
over the whole assembly of people; or how; at the Benediction, He made a movement
of the eyes as if giving the bless; how at the same time He moved the thorn- crowned
head from on side to the other. Others had the impression that a deep, submissive
sigh was wrested from His breast, some believed they saw Him whisper-in short,
the most varied manifestations were observed on this crucifix.
One of the first to declare his
experience to the secular press was the well-known and highly respected D. Adolf
Arenaza. His testimony was published May 5, 1919 in the newspaper La Gazeta del
Norte, which was published in Bilbao. He reported that he joined a procession
going to Limpas in order to visit the crucifix. While looking through his field-glasses
he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He further stated that it could not
have been and effect of the light nor and hallucination, since people saw the
miracles from all parts of the church. He then asked, "Does Our Lord really
move His eyes... I am rather of the opinion that He really does move them, for
I have seen it myself."
albums are found in the sacristy of the church of the Limpias. these contain well
over 8,000 testimonies of people who had seen the wonderful apparitions. Of these
2,500 were sworn on oath.
first Bishop to be favored with an apparition was Don Manuel Ruiz y Rodriguez
of Cuba, who went to Limpas following a visit to Rome. After returning home he
composed a detailed pastoral letter to the members of his diocese in which he
told of the miraculous crucifix. He disclosed that he had seen the figure close
and open the mouth, how it moved it's head from one side to the other how the
face took on an expression of Death. Later he again saw the mouth move. "He
shut it very slowly but opened it quickly... the closing of the mouth was slow
until one lip touched the other.
a report made by a medical student D. Heriberto de la Villa which was published
in the paper Del Pueblo Astur on July 8, 1919. Little by little the breast and
face became dark blue, the eyes move to the right then the left, upwards and down,
the mouth somewhat open, as if He was having breathing difficulty. I also noticed
that above the left eyebrow a wound formed, out of which a drop of blood flowed
over His eyebrow, and remained stationary by the eye-lids. I believe it is
my duty to swear upon oath what I had seen, and I did so in the sacristy of the
I will conclude with
a brief report made by a journalist. After watching the movement of the eyes and
mouth he stated:
I could perceive
two movements of the jawbone, as if He were saying two syllables with His lips.
I shut my eyes quite tight and asked myself: "What will He have said?"
The answer was not long in coming, for in my innermost self I clearly heard the
significant and blessed words, "Love Me!"
Perhaps that is why Our Lord performed
so many wonders for eyes of believers and unbelievers. At Limpas He demonstrated
the agony of His death and the extent of His love for us, not only to evoke sentiments
of pity and repentance, but also to ask, no, to plead with us to love Him in return.