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Nuestra Señora Del Pilar
"Our Lady of the Pillar", a celebrated church and shrine, at Saragossa, Spain, containing a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin, which is the object of very special devotion throughout the kingdom. The image, which is placed on a marble pillar, whence the name of the church, was crowned in 1905 with a crown designed by the Marquis of Griñi, and valued at 450,000 pesetas (£18,750, 1910). The present spacious church in Baroque style was begun in 1681. According to an ancient Spanish tradition, given in the Roman Breviary (for 12 October, Ad. mat., lect. vi), the original shrine was built by St. James the Apostle at the wish of the Blessed Virgin, who appeared to him as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro at Saragossa. There has been much discussion as the truth of the tradition. Mgr L. Duchesne denies, as did Baronius, the coming of St. James to Spain, and reproduces arguments founded on the writings of the Twelfth Ecumenical Council, discovered by Loaisa, but rejected as spurious by the Jesuit academician Fita and many others. Those who defend the tradition adduce the testimony of St. Jerome (PL XXIV, 373) and that of the Mozarabic Office. The oldest written testimony of devotion to the Blessed Virgin in Saragossa usually quoted is that of Pedro Librana (1155). Fita has published data of two Christian tombs at Saragossa, dating from Roman days, on which the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is represented.
J. M. March.