The True Cross of Caravaca
La Vera Cruz de Caravaca is a Lignum Crucis; that is, a cross containing a fragment of the one on which Jesus Christ died. Housed inside a double-armed reliquary, it is currently the emblem of the city of Caravaca and one of the best-known Christian symbols in the world.
Starting in the 13th century the pious tradition of the True Cross¿s miraculous appearances was spread by almoners. In 1231 the Almohad sayyid Ceyt-Abuceyt ruled in Caravaca, and the story goes that among his prisoners was Ginés Pérez Chirinos, a Christian priest. The Muslim king curiosity about the Eucharist prompted him to prepare everything necessary for the priest to celebrate it in his presence, but Soon after beginning Ginés realized that there was no crucifix on the altar, at which point two angels appeared carrying a double-armed cross. After witnessing this miraculous event, the sayyid was said to have converted to Christianity.
This tradition, upheld for centuries by the military orders of The Templars and The Order of Santiago, has shaped the citys historical development. Word of the True Cross, its miracles and the accounts of pilgrims spread across Europe; the Americas, where Jesuits, Franciscans and Carmelites used it as an evangelical instrument, from California to Tierra de Fuego, and from the Caribbean to the Guarani missions in Brazil; and also to faraway places such as the Philippines, Poland, Italy and Hungary.