Virgen del Rocio – The crowning of

Posted By Chris Newsham / September 11, 2015 / In the news, Malaga News, Marbella News, Puerto Banus / 0 Comments

This weekend Malaga celebrates events to mark the coronation of the Virgen del Rocío (Our Lady of the Dew), also known as the “Novia de Málaga” (the Bride of Malaga), one of the religious images with the most devotees among locals and visitors.
The Canonical Coronation is a religious rite established within the Catholic Church to reconigse the people’s devotion for an image or an advocation of the Virgin Mary.
To be conceded the honour there are several conditions: The image must have a proved age and artistic value; it must arouse great devotion among the local people and its cult must be widespread; and gifts or favours attributed to the image must to a certain extent be corroborated.
The rite involves placing a crown on the image and the type of ceremony depends on which ecclesiastical authority approved the coronation: Liturgical, Diocesan or Pontifical (from the Pope himself).
In the case of Malaga’s Virgen del Rocío the concession was approved by the city’s bishop in July 2012, six years after the religious brotherhood of El Rocío requested the honour with a dossier and the support of numerous institutions, brotherhoods, local people and devotees from all over the city, especially the Victoria neighbourhood, where the parish church that is home to the image is located.
The concession was granted just a month after a massive petition in favour of the coronation was launched via social media; the hashtag #MalagaCoronaAsuNovia (Malaga crowns its bride) even became trending topic. This is an example of the affection felt all over the province towards this image of the Virgin Mary, nicknamed the Bride of Malaga.
And so, on 12 September, coinciding with the feast day of the Holy Name of Mary, Malaga City Hall (in representation of the people of Malaga) and the Brotherhood of the Virgen del Rocío of Almonte (the mother of all the Rocío brotherhoods, based in the Aldea del Rocío in Huelva) will be the patrons of a coronation ceremony that is expected to attract thousands of visitors from all over Spain and Latin America. So important is the event that King Felipe VI of Spain will preside of the commemorations.
Celebration
Events related to the coronation have been under way for the last few months however it is over the next few days that the main celebrations will take place.
On 11 September from 8pm the image is carried in procession from the house of the religious brotherhood to the Cathedral through the city centre, accompanied by the Santa María de la Victoria band, at the front, and the Nuestra Señora de la Paz band at the back.
On Saturday 12 September at 12 noon the Bishop of Malaga, Jesús Catalá, officiates at a Mass in the Cathedral during which the image will be crowned. Then, at 6pm, the Virgin makes her triumphant return home in a procession from the Cathedral to the brotherhood building, finishing at around 4am.
The same day ONCE and National Lottery tickets will be issued with the image of Malaga’s Virgen del Rocío.
After being taken back to the parish church of San Lázaro on the Sunday evening, on 14 and 15 September devotees are invited to the church between 9am and 9pm to kiss the hands of the image.
The bride of Malaga
The image of the Virgen del Rocío is the work of Valencia sculptor Pío Mollar Franch in 1931, but that same year it was destroyed in revolts. In 1935 a new image by the same author took the place of the original, which was saved from flames thanks to the intervention of devotees.
The carving, a Baroque polychrome whole-body image (unusual among Malaga’s Virgin images), is particularly notable for its deep eyes with no tears on the face and an expression that is a mixture of joy and sadness, which until then had not been seen in Malaga’s religious images. The Virgin’s white robes, also set her aside from the rest of the Virgins carried through the streets in Holy Week. This, along with the great devotion of the people of Malaga, is what earned the image the name of ‘La Novia de Málaga’.
Charity work
The Rocío Brotherhood also has a social and charity branch which works to help those in need. A large number of activities are organised to raise funds to help people in danger of social exclusion.
The congregation collaborates in the Fundación Corinto, a group formed by different Holy Week brotherhoods to provide social aid in Malaga. The initiative stems from the desire of several brotherhoods to join forces to do charitable work as well as to organise religious celebrations.
The foundation is currently formed by 23 groups but more and more brotherhoods are joining the project and others have said they will do so shortly. The foundation has a team of 80 volunteers whose ages range from 20 to 70.

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