The Reconquista Begins Here

Theo Howard July 20, 2023

Above: statuary of St. James the Moor Slayer.

Editor’s note: this weekend begins the important Covadanga pilgrimage which will be promoted byOnePeterFive providing the means for the faithful outside Spain to spiritually participate as our contributing editor will be on the pilgrimage. Follow our Twitter account to join in the pilgrimage spiritually and see below for suggested devotions.

Why is Hispanidad so important?

The Hispanic Catholic civilisation of Hispanidad, as they say, is the only Catholic people who have conquered all the Church’s enemies – the Muhammadans, the Protestant Heretics, and, in the 20th century, the Marxists. Thus despite a Marxist regime currently keeping the Spanish Church in captivity in Spain, we have hope of restoration of the Spanish Church in Spain as well as in the traditional centers of Hispanic Catholicism throughout the world. This brings that Spanish militant Christian spirit to the traditional movement worldwide, just as the Chartres Pilgrimage draws upon the great tradition of the French crusading spirit, but more on that below.

Who is Our Lady of Covadonga?

As you may know, the Reconquista was a crusade of the west. The eastern crusade sought to retake Jerusalem from the Muhammadans, but the Reconquista was the first crusade against the Saracens, beginning at Covadonga. As Flanders writes in his book City of God vs. City of Man:

The Christian Spaniard Juan of Ceuta betrayed Spain to the Muhammadan Moors, who invaded [in 711] seeking money and “a large number of ravishingly beautiful Greek maidens.” They swept over Spain as far as the northern kingdom of Asturias, where King Pelayo alone refused to submit. The Moors brought an army of 187,000 and sent Bishop Oppas to find Pelayo, who was hidden in the mountain at Covadonga. Pious legend relates how the bishop tried to convince Pelayo to surrender:

If when the entire army of the Goths [Spaniards] was assembled it was unable to sustain the attack of the Ishmaelites, how much better will you be able to defend yourself on this mountain top?…heed my warnings and recall your soul from this decision, so that you may take advantage of many good things and enjoy the partnership of the Chaldeans.
To this Pelayo responded: “Have you not read in the divine scriptures that the Church of God is compared to a mustard seed and that it will be raised up again through divine mercy?”

The bishop responded, “It is indeed written thus.”

Pelayo said, “Christ is our hope that through this little mountain, which you see, the well-being of Spain and of the army of the Gothic people will be restored[.]…As for the battle with which you threaten us, we have for ourselves an advocate in the presence of the Father, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is capable of liberating us from these few.”
Henceforth this story would animate the struggle of the mustard seed of the Kingdom of God against the earthly city of Muhammad. Pelayo led his men against the Moors and triumphed miraculously, crediting the victory to the intercession of Our Lady of Covadonga, who began to unite the Spanish and the French against the Moors in Spain. This was the beginning of the Reconquista.

The Reconquista would go down in history as ultimately the only crusade which was permanently successful, retaking the final city of Granada from the Saracens in 1492, before conquering the Americas and the world for Christ. Spain, and her Iberian sister kingdom of Portugal, remain the only Christian nations forged by crusade. Thus Our Lady of Covadanga is very much a “patroness of lost causes” in the struggle for restoration that the Traditional movement faces.

What is the Pilgrimage of Covadonga and why is it important?

Among the many fruits of the famous Chartres Pilgrimage of Christendom is the inspiration given to other lay-led pilgrimages around the world. One of the most notable and flourishing of these pilgrimages, after the model of Chartres, is the ‘Pilgrimage of Covadonga’ under the patronage of Our Lady of Christendom – Spain. This combines the Marian patronage of the Reconquista with its other patron: Santiago Matamoros[St. James the Moor-Slayer]. From the website:

Our Lady of Christendom – Spain (NSC-E) is an annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Covadonga (Asturias) organized by a group of faithful lay Catholics devoted to the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite [sic]. It takes place around the feast ofSt. James the Apostle (July 25th), patron saint of Spain.

The aim of the pilgrimage is the sanctification of the soul through the graces asked to Our Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by the offering of prayers, sacrifices and mortifications during three days. During these days of pilgrimage we especially commend our Homeland and the Holy Father.

NSC-E seeks to contribute to the restoration of the spirit of Christendom – according to our possibilities and always with divine help – which has given the Church and the world so many saints, heroes and defenders of the Faith. We are talking about Christian social order, which is only possible if we commit ourselves to the restoration of everything in Christ, beginning with those of us who are on pilgrimage, our families, and the various spheres of society in which we find ourselves.

For such an endeavour, we place our trust in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the basis of the Christian life. Therefore, an important part of our apostolate is to encourage and stimulate the devotion to the Holy Mass. During the Pilgrimage we look forward to emphasize and remind the four ends of the Mass:

  • Adoration, to honor God in the most suitable way;
  • Thanksgiving, to thank God for his immense gifts;
  • Propitiation, for our sins and for the souls in purgatory;
  • Supplication, for our particular needs and those of the world.

We want to show, then, the need to restore the christian social order through the graces received in the Holy Mass. For all this, NSC-E makes an annual penitential pilgrimage to Covadonga to ask our Mother for the necessary graces to be able to carry out this task.

What are the Dates of the Pilgrimage?

This Saturday, July 22 through Monday July 24, the Vigil of the Feast of St. James

What is the theme of the pilgrimage?

Permaneced en mi amor – “Remain in my love”

The pilgrimage theme is the contemplation of Our Lord’s Sacred Heart.

What coverage will OnePeterFive be providing?

Contributing editor Theo Howard will be walking as part of the Dutch chapter of Saint Willibrord.

How can you participate?

Mr. Howard will be tweeting and writing about his journey during the pilgrimage so follow the Twitter account here.

Contributing editor Theo Howard is about to begin the Pilgrimage of Covadonga in Spain for the mission, readers and supporters of OnePeterFive.

Follow his journey here over the next three days.

Viva Cristo Rey!

— OnePeterFive (@OnePeterFive) July 21, 2023

What are some suggested devotions for this pilgrimage and the feast of St. James?

Pray the Collect for St. James:

Be Thou, O Lord, the Sanctifier and Protector of Thy people: so that defended by the aid of Thine Apostle James, they may please Thee in their manner of life, and serve Thee in peace of soul. Through our Lord.

Prayer to St James:

Saint James, it was because of your passionate and magnanimous heart that Jesus chose you to witness His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Oh Saint James, your name is a symbol of warfare and victory, therefore we pray that that you intercede for us to God so that we can obtain strength and consolation in the wars we encounter in this life.

May you also intercede for us to God so that we get help and strength to continue fulfilling the mandate He has given to us. May we seek to serve others more than we seek to be served as this is one of the surest ways of pleasing our Heavenly Father and earning a place at the right side of Jesus Christ in Heaven. Amen.

The Spanish Breviary speaks of the appearance of St James the Greater on a white steed at the Battle of Clavijo:
Es visus in Praelio, equoque et ense acerrimus, mauros furentes sternere [You were seen in the battle with a sword, the sharpest sword, the furious Moors groaned].”

Where can I read more about the glories of the Reconquista?

We suggest the scholarship and writings of Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz, Guillermo Pérez-Galicia, José Javier Esparza, Dario Fernandez-Morera, and Fr. Javier Olivera Ravasi.