The statue of the “Caballero Cubierto” (the “covered gentleman”) which stands next to the cathedral in the Plaza del Salvador is a reminder of one of the more curious aspects of Orihuela’s Easter Week processions. On Easter Saturday in the evening the Procession of the “Santo Entierro de Cristo” takes place, in which the mayors of the outlying pedanías of the town participate, along with representatives of the agricultural areas of the municipality, and is led by a man wearing a top hat and tails who carries the banner of the city, on which is embroidered the motto given to it by King Pedro IV of Aragón in the 14th century. This motto is “Semper Prevaluit ensis Vester” (Your blade always prevailed), and reflects Orihuela’s valiant defence during four sieges in the “War of the Two Pedros”. This was a conflict between Pedro IV and Pedro I of Castile which lasted from 1356 to 1369.
On reaching the cathedral the person honoured to be the “Caballero Cubierto” is the only one not required to remove his hat in the holy building, thanks to the special privilege contained in a papal bull granted in 1620 by Paul V.
The same procession features the statue of “La Diablesa” by Nicolás de Bussy, which is normally on show in the city’s archaeological museum, and is a stunning 17th century masterpiece showing the triumph of good over evil, and the constant conflict of life and death, heaven and earth, God and Satan. This is just a few minutes’ walk from the cathedral and can be visited as part of the “A monumental morning in Orihuela route 1. )
The statue outside the cathedral is a recent addition to the square, dating from 2011 and created by the Cartagena sculptor Pedro Jordán Almarza. It is made of bronze and is very close to the Capilla de Loreto, where Orihuela’s Easter Week traditions originated.
The plaza itself is paved with pebbles, creating a striking feature, a style of paving used frequently in the more historic towns and cities of Spain.
All Text and Images are Subject to Copyright