Submerged Virgins, remembering those who died at sea

On July 16, the feast of the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of sailors and all those who work at sea, was celebrated.

Loreto Rios-July 16, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes

Virgin of the Desamparados submerged in Valencia ©Ricardo Acosta

The history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel dates back to 1251, when Mary appeared to the monk Simon Stock on Mount Carmel. From this apparition also arose the devotion to the scapular.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patron saint of the Navy since 1901. On July 16, the Navy celebrates a ceremony with a Eucharist and a floral offering in memory of "those who gave their lives for Spain", in addition to a flag swearing in. It also provides ships for the different maritime processions with the Virgin of Carmen that take place all over Spain on this date.

On the occasion of this celebration marineraWe are going to review a curious phenomenon: the submerged Virgins.

Submerged virgins in Spain

In Asturias we find a Santina submerged 8 meters deep in the lake Enol. The carving is made from the remains of melted guns and was placed in the lake in 1972. Also in the port of Pixueto (Cudillero) there is another Santina submerged in the Cantabrian Sea. On important festivities, different diving groups bring both Virgins to the surface to celebrate masses and processions.

In Valencia there is a Virgen de los Desamparados, patron saint of this autonomous community, submerged since 1977 in front of the lighthouse of the port. On the second Sunday of May, the Real Club Náutico de Valencia and the diving club GISED make a floral offering in her honor, taking bouquets underwater, as well as a mass and a prayer for those who have lost their lives at sea. The carving was made by Ignacio Cuartero Fernandez, member of the diving group GISED.

In Algeciras we find its patron saint, the Virgen de la Palma, submerged in a cave in the bay since 1999. The sculpture was made by the sculptor Nacho Falgueras. It has 110 cm and weighs 114 kilos. Every August 15 it is extracted and taken to El Rinconcillo beach for a pilgrimage. At midnight, a group of divers returns it to the grotto while fireworks are launched.

In Cadiz, on the beach La Malagueta, is submerged the patron saint of sailors, the Virgen del Carmen, ten meters deep. It is extracted every July 17 to be carried in procession to the parish of San Gabriel.

In Almeria there is also a Virgin of the Sea at a depth of 6 meters. It was submerged in 1980 and is approximately 13 centimeters high.

On the other hand, in the north, in the town of Bermeo (Biscay) is submerged since 1963 a replica of the Virgin of Begoña. It is located between San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and the islet of Aketz, at a depth of ten meters. The figure is by the sculptor Joaquín Lucarini, measures 1.2 meters and weighs 850 kilos. Every September 15, divers venerate the image.

In Galicia there are also examples of this custom. In the ria of Ribadeo there is a Virgin that was submerged in 2014 at nine meters deep for the feast of the Virgen del Carmen, in memory of those who have died at sea. The Virgin is made of granite, weighs 56 kilos and is located in a sunken yacht.

Also in the Ría Marín there is a submerged Virgen del Carmen. In this case, it was discovered in a cave by the Ferrol Diving Unit of the Spanish Navy while training in the estuary. In this case, it is not known how long this Virgin has been submerged or who placed it there.

Submerged virgins in America

In Mexico, between Coral Island and Rincon de Guayabitos, there is a carving of the Immaculate Conception. The immersion was carried out by the Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción de Servicios Turísticos and the figure belonged to Raúl Gradilla. In the place where it is submerged there is a buoy that indicates its exact location.

On the Mexican island of La Roqueta there is a submerged Virgin of Guadalupe. It has 2 meters and 450 kilos of weight, and its contours represent a fish. The carving was made by sculptor Armando Quezada Medrano and was placed in its marine altar on December 12, 1959. It is the first submerged Virgin of Guadalupe in all America.

Meanwhile, in El Salvador there are three Virgins submerged at a depth of 18 meters in Lake Ilopango. They were placed there, near Los Cerros Quemados, in 2012 by members of the diving school Oceánica. The handmade sculptures are of the Virgin of Fatima, Guadalupe and the Virgin of Sorrows, and measure approximately three meters in height.

In the north of Venezuela, in the archipelago of Los Roques, the Virgin of the Valley is submerged. It is made of bronze, is 150 centimeters tall and weighs 420 kilos. In Guatemala, in Lake Atitlán, the Virgin of Fátima has been submerged since December 14, 2006.

The Virgin by the reef, Philippines

On the coast of the Philippines there is a submerged Virgin next to a coral reef. It was placed there in 2010 by a group of divers with the intention of discouraging dynamite fishing, which was damaging the surrounding corals.

These are just a few examples of submerged Virgins. The custom spreads around the globe with the same purpose: to protect people who work at sea and to remember those who have died in the ocean.

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising