Francisco Javier Lombraña Fernández, President of the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross

Francisco Javier Lombraña Fernández, President of the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross

Contribution letter

In English:

A child’s memory

I was four or five years old when I first went to the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana. It was September 14th, Festivity of the Cross, and it was customary for the families to participate in the mass up there, and later family groups gathered to eat in the fields near the monastery.

My first impression of the monastery was of sadness. I remember an elongated building, almost half white on the outside and almost demolished inside. Behind it was the church, it seemed very large, almost like the one in Potes, and very ugly inside: there was almost nothing but the altar…

But on the side there was a smaller chapel with a very nice ceiling and a kind of marquee above the altar, and there it was “The Holy Cross” that both at home and in the school of nuns of Potes told us that on that cross there, Jesus Christ, the Son of God had died.

There was a solemn Mass, although those of my age wanted to go out and play with friends … but that Cross … Something in it was different from other images of other churches.

Over the years we learned many things: that the Cross had been brought from Astorga and had been in the Monastery for many centuries, and that a Pope in 1512 had granted the privilege of celebrating a Jubilee whenever April 16th was a Sunday. We also knew that the church was of Romanesque style and transition to Gothic and the Chapel of the Cross of colonial Baroque style…

We also learned that since 1181 there is a Brotherhood of the Holy Cross in charge of protecting the Cross. At the moment 2,800 brothers form it, almost all of them belong to the valleys of Liébana.

We are currently finalizing the Jubilee Year that began on April 22nd, 2017 and ends tomorrow, April 22nd, 2018.

All this is written by that four or five years old child, who now, for two years presides over the Brotherhood of the Cross of Santo Toribio de Liébana and is now 69 years old. My name is Francisco Javier Lombraña Fernández.

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