What Is a Caravaca Crucifix?

by Exa von Alt
The Caravaca crucifix takes its name from the town of Caravaca in the Murcia region of Spain.

The Caravaca crucifix takes its name from the town of Caravaca in the Murcia region of Spain.

The Caravaca Crucifix, or Cross of Caravaca, is a common religious symbol throughout Spain, where it originated in the town of Caravaca. It's also found in Mexico and Central America, where Franciscan monks promoted it during their mission to spread their faith.

The Caravaca Crucifix and Its Origins

The Caravaca Crucifix is a cross with two horizontal bars, flanked by two angels. The arms of a crucified Christ spread across one set of bars and Caravaca is written across the other set. There are several tales about how the original Caravaca crucifix miraculously appeared in the town bearing its name, most involving a priest being saved from execution. Currently, the town of Caravaca has a replica crucifix that holds religious relics, which the residents use in their Festival of the Holy Cross each May. Perhaps due to its mythical origins, believers -- particularly in Mexico -- claim that the cross has the power to grant wishes and prayers.

About the Author

Based in Dallas, Exa von Alt has been working in education and the social sciences for nearly 10 years. Her lesson plans are published on the University of Oklahoma's K20ALT website and she has written several entries in "American Centuries: The Ideas, Issues, and Trends that Made U.S. History"(MTM Publishing). Exa von Alt holds a Master of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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