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Bicentenari Cardenal Despuig
El Capítol Catedral estarà representat a l'Eucaristia que al convent de Santa Magdalena de Palma es celebrarà en sufragi del cardenal Antoni Despuig i Dameto (1745-1813), qui el 27 de març de 1774 prengué possessió d'una canongia de la Seu de Mallorca.
Els investigadors i la Seu
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Legat de Mossèn Baltasar Morey
El Capítol de la Seu ha rebut un significatiu donatiu, legat del qui fou durant anys beneficiat i mestre de cerimònies Mn. Baltasar Morey i Carbonell, recentment finit.
Art at the Cathedral
THE CATHEDRAL OF MAJORCA: IMAGES OF FAITH
(Iconography of the Cathedral of Majorca)
The main doorway welcomes us with the following inscription:
“This is the house of God and the door to heaven”.
These are the words that Jacob (Gn 28,17) said when he woke up from the dream where he saw a staircase from earth to heaven: symbol of the presence of God with men and also a call to ascend to the Kingdom of everlasting happiness where “God will be all in all” (Rm 15,28).
The whole Christian church is the expression between the visible and the invisible, between the earthly and the transcendental, between the “today” and the “tomorrow”, between hope and abundance, between the pilgrims' tent and the eternal city.
The building of the church on earth is the image and symbol of the house of God, the Jerusalem from Heaven. And so we can say: “He will pitch his tent among them and they will be his people; he will be God-with-them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Re 21,3-4)
The Cathedral, which is the image of the local Christian community and also the place where the one, holy and universal Church acts, is the symbol of Jerusalem from Heaven, alive and operating.
We have to add another meaning to the word church which was the name given to the houses built for the Christian community meetings. It comes from the Greek ecclesia and in Christianity means that assembly is gathered; the community is called together by God. These houses of the Church are the symbol and image of the Spiritual Church, Body of the Lord, Temple of God and they are built with the life stones that are the faithful.
All this symbolism: the heavenly Jerusalem, the live temple of God formed by the faithful as life stones, shines in the Cathedral of Majorca: in its walls, columns and high vaults, in the art of the stone and in the multicoloured stained glass windows; it can also be admired in the celebrations, animated by the corporal expression of those who celebrate, by its songs and by the instrumental music; altogether with the atmosphere that comes from the architecture, the paintings and the sculptures of so many different styles, and its impressive perfection.
This is the home, the paternal and maternal house, of the community of the believers in Christ that are pilgrims on this island and that meet to express and proclaim, to celebrate and live, united by the Holy Spirit, the salvation that the Father gives by the life, death and glory of his Son.
The Cathedral is not a common building, nor an artistic monument like many others: it was the Christian faith that guided the builders and the artists, and it is the same Christian faith that now shelters the celebration of the assembly of the faithful.
In the cathedral the images show the faith that we proclaim, the salvation that we celebrate and the traditional devotion of its entire people. The Cathedral has been designed and built to teach faith, to see the salvation: everything announces the faith and the salvation that we celebrate: incarnated in its art the faith in Jesus Christ; faith is made art. Let us now see, step by step, how the history of the salvation, from its origins to its final moment, from Alpha to Omega, and Jesus Christ himself has been represented and taught in the inside and the outside of the Cathedral of Majorca.
I. Salvation in the First Alliance
God the Creator: he has created all good.
The universe had its beginning from the creative word of God.
“God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light” (Gn 1,3).
According to this symbolic and revealing poem from the first book of the Bible, the Word of God is in the beginning of all created nature.
The Cathedral of Majorca is situated on the sea front, surrounded by Mediterranean light during the day and by the tranquil light of the moon and stars at night; it is situated on the border of an island where all the beauties of its creation shine in harmony. The stained glass windows of the main nave of the Cathedral sing the hymn of the creation sung by the three youngsters – Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael – that were thrown into the furnace in Babylon because they were faithful to their faith (Dn 3,52-90). The beauty of the creatures of God is visible in the wide space of the Cathedral. The stained glass with vivid colours invite us to bless and praise the Creator: the light and the darkness; the sun, the moon and the stars; the day and night; the earth; the snow and the ice, the hills and mountains, the fountains; the birds; the domestic and wild animals, the sea fish... and also the angels and the heavens, and the people of Israel, the chosen people of the first alliance, are invited to glorify the Lord.
God created men and women
He received the name of Adam, that means man, and she was called Eve: mother of the living. The first fathers are represented in the open stained glass window in the chapel of the Descent; we can see them on each side of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, in the beginning of history (Gn 3,20). But on top of this first tree the promise to David stands out, and on top of this is raised the tree of the cross: where the crucified one will be the new Adam and that with his death he destroyed our death and by rising again he gave us everlasting life.
The history of the patriarchs and of the prophets that announce Jesus Christ
The first alliance made with the patriarchs – especially by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and transmitted and sustained by the prophets, starting with Moses, finishes with the bounty of Christ: the Messiah, king, priest and spokesman of the will of the Father.
On the minor pulpit, called the epistle pulpit, was the place where they read the first Testament and the apostolic letters. Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to sculpt images of the prophets and apostles, and the work finishes with important images from the first Alliance: Abraham starting the sacrifice of his son Isaac as an offering to God; in front of them there is the lamb offered in sacrifice instead of his son, which is the symbol of Jesus Christ sacrificed as the paschal lamb; the cross of the true sacrifice ends the symbolic scene.
The stained glass windows from the side naves display the prophecies of the first part of the Bible about Jesus Christ: since the benediction of Noah to Shem (Gn 9,26-27), the history of Abraham, Jacob, Moses – as a guide of the chosen people through the desert –, David – to whom God promises an eternal throne (2 Sm 7,1-16) –, Isaiah – who announces the virgin birth of the Emmanuel (Is 7,10-14) –, Joel – who prophesies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jl 3,1-2). Another stained glass window announces the royalty of the Messiah, proclaimed in psalm 2. The wedding of the King-Messiah with the Church according to the psalm 44 is represented in a window too.
The tapestries with the history of Jacob, Tobias and Nebuchadnezzar
Eleven tapestries dating from the end of the 16th century from the Flemish factory decorate different walls of the Cathedral. They represent passages from the life of Jacob, according to the book of Genesis, Tobit – according to the book of the same name – and the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar – according to the narration of the prophet Daniel.
Jacob receives the blessing of Isaac with deceit (Gn 27,1-29); depicted is the vision of the staircase that goes up to heaven (Gn 28,11-19) where he meets Rachel and with whom he falls in love (Gn 29,1-14).
Tobit suffers the test of becoming blind (Tb 2,9-10), his son Tobias fishes an enormous fish in the river Tigris with the help of the archangel Raphael. After the wedding he says goodbye to his parents in law, Ragouel and Edna, to go to his home with Sara, his wife (Tb 6, 1-5; 7, 8-14; 10, 8-14).
The tapestries of Nebuchadnezzar describe how he orders the adoration of an enormous statue made from gold; three young Hebrews disobey the king and they are thrown into the furnace, but God protects them from the flames; in the middle of the fiery furnace the three young Hebrews, safe and sound, sing the canticle of the creatures (as we have seen, described in the windows from the central nave) (Dn 3); in the other tapestry we can see the vision of a gigantic tree, interpreted by Daniel, and the curing of the king, who becomes healthy again (Dn 4).
The Lords Law read with great honour to the synagogue
Since 1493 the Cathedral of Majorca received as a legitimate donation and acquisition the two oldest Rimmonim of the world. They are from the 14th century and come from a synagogue in Cammarata, Sicily, where the Jews were thrown out by King Fernando of Aragon. They are in the shape of a tower, made in etched silver and have inscriptions from psalm number 18 which gives reference to the Law of the Lord. The Rimmonim were used as a book mark to fix the Manuscript Torah scroll to read it in the assembly on the Saturdays. You can find them in the Chapter Museum.
For the Christians they are the witnesses of the veneration we have to have to read the Word of the Lord, which is the light of our path (Psalm 118,105). It is the Word which we have to listen to gently and which we have to keep in our hearts to meditate (Lc 8,21; 2,19).
II. Harmony between the two Alliances
The disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, as the Master did, venerate and accept as the revealed Word of God the books of the Law, psalms and prophets, and everything they say is referred to the “plenitude of times”, which is when all the promises made by the patriarchs and the prophets of Israel came true. The II Vatican Council explains the relation between the two Alliances as follows: “God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged for the New Testament to be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New. For, though Christ established the new covenant in His blood, still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the proclamation of the Gospel, acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament and in turn shed light on it and explain it.” (Dei Verbum, 16).
The events of the first Alliance were an “example”, an “image”, a “prophecy” of what had to be the plenitude in Christ and which is now a sacramental reality and also powerful in the Church. First and second Alliance is just one Salvation History. After the liturgy reformation of the council this is shown in the Sunday readings: the first reading taken from the old Testament is a prophecy of the Gospel that is proclaimed during the liturgy of the Word.
During the 16th century, Canon Gregori Genovard designed a bas-relief for the dust covers of the Cathedral chairs with some events from the first and second Alliance. For example we can see the first bas-relief – on our left – that represents the meal of Abraham with the three angels (Gn 18,1-15), the second is the Last Supper with Jesus and the Apostles (Mc 14,22-25); at the end, on our right, we can see God giving the code of the Covenant to Moses on the Sinai Mountain (Ex 20), and following this we contemplate how the Holy Spirit descends on Mary and the Apostles on the day of Pentecost to engrave the new story in their hearts (Ac 2,1-4).
Josep M. Jujol painted some symbolic figures on the right side of the chairs of the blood of Christ falling on the floor which is an allusion of the sweat of Jesus in Mount Olives (Lc 22,44). This blood germinates a new Spring on earth, and waves the flag of the resurrection: this is what the figures comment on the reliefs of the top, with passages of the passion and resurrection of the Lord.
III. The new and everlasting Alliance, with Jesus as the mediator
1. Two panoramas of the New Alliance: the seven joys of Our Lady
A much extended medieval devotion already communicated by the blessed Ramon Llull is to the Seven joys of Our Lady. This prayer is united in the contemplation of the seven joys Holy Mary had in her life loving her Son. These seven joys are represented in the Cathedral.
The gothic altarpiece from the 14th century made by Pere Morey and moved by Antoni Gaudi from the front of the Episcopal seat to a side wall on the door of the Mirador has a predella – inferior part – with seven bas-relief that represent:
The Annunciation of the Angel to Mary, the birth of Jesus, the adoration of the Three Wise Men, the Resurrection of the Lord, the Ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit over Mary and the Apostles, and the sleeping and glorification of Our Lady (which is in the central part of the predella).
The major pulpit (16th century) is surrounded by the representation of the seven joys. Two scenes from the life of the mother of Jesus are added here (inspired by apocryphal gospels): the embrace of her parents Joaquin and Ann in front of the Golden Door of the Temple, and the birth of Mary. Saint Joaquin and Saint Ann are also represented in the altarpiece of the Grada and in a cloth of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
2. The Most Pure Conception of Saint Mary
She is the bright dawn pure from the salvation that Jesus Christ brought to the world. God the Father created and chose a lady full of grace to be the mother of His Son made Man. The Son of God who was born to erase the sin of the world, redeemed from sin in advance from the mother when she conceived without the stain of original sin, as the catholic faith proclaims.
The devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary is very traditional in Majorca; it starts from the doctrine of the blessed Ramon Llull, the first person who taught this Marian privilege in the University of Paris. The main doorway was dedicated to the Most Pure Conception in 1601. It was proclaimed the patron of the Kingdom of Majorca in 1643. Mary, who presides over the main doorway, is shown according to a vision in the book of Revelation (chapter 12): crowned with twelve stars and with the moon under her feet. It also appears surrounded by symbols taken from the Old Testament and from the liturgy of the Church that proclaims the unique purity and sanctity of the Mother of God: chosen like the sun, temple of God, shining star, beautiful as the moon, door to heaven, rosebush of Jericho, palm tree in the desert, sealed fountain, closed orchard, ivory tower.
The first chapel (entering, on the left) was also dedicated to the Most Pure Conception in the 18th century. The central image follows the model of the façade. Mary appears “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Rev 12, 1). The sun rays and the crown of stars are etched in silver.
At the entrance of the chapel of the “Vermells” choir, you can see a beautiful painting of the Most Pure Mary painted by the famous Guillem Mesquida (1740). This painting used to cover the central image of the altarpiece during specific times of the year. A small image of the Immaculate Conception was put in the door head of the Almoina (16th century).
3. The Annunciation to Mary
The evangelical scene (Lc 1,16-38) of the angel that announces to Mary of Nazareth that she was going to become the mother of the Messiah, the Son of God, is represented with a few images in the Cathedral. First of all the two sculptures on two pillars from the royal chapel and secondly at the entrance to the altar. These two gothic images from the 14th century represent this mystery: on the right the archangel brings to the virgin of Nazareth the first announcement of the Incarnation of the Son of God: "You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor... and his reign shall have no end..." Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said”. And the angel left her. (Lc 1, 31-33.38).
The same biblical scene is sculpted in the minor pulpit, in the old arch from behind the choir (16th century); placed by Gaudi at the entrance of the sacristy of the “vermells”, at the attic of the altarpiece of Saint Jerome (17th century). In the Chapter Museum you can see two beautiful polychrome marble gothic statues of the angel and Mary (14th century); and a gothic table by Pere Terrencs (15th century).
4. The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
After receiving the message from the angel, Mary decided to go to the mountain to communicate her joy to her relative Elizabeth (Lc 1, 39-56). She greeted her full of the Holy Spirit as the mother of the Lord. "Blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the fruit of your womb... blessed are you who has believed!" Mary answered to the words of Elizabeth saying the great thanksgiving of the Magnificat.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever."
The Cathedral keeps and venerates two representations of the Visitation of Saint Mary: in a Bas-relief of the choir (16th century) and in the predella of the altarpiece of Our Lady of the Grada, attributed to Gapsar Oms (17th century).
5. The birth of Jesus and his childhood
Jesus, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem of Judea and he is the son of the Virgin Mary (Mt 1, 25.2, 1-12; Lc 2).
It is the mystery we celebrate at Christmas: under the care of Joseph, Mary gave birth to her son in a manger because they could not find room in an inn. This was glorified and announced by the angels to the shepherds; then, guided by the star, the wise men from the Orient adored him. After forty days he was presented in the temple of Jerusalem, where he was welcomed by Simeon, who proclaimed the light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of Israel, his people. When he was twelve he went with his parents to the temple of the Lord and he stayed for three days with the masters of the Law at Easter, “listening to them and asking questions”.
The Cathedral follows all these episodes of the birth and childhood of Jesus with images. In the predella of the chapel of the Grada, a table represents the birth of Jesus. It is from the factory of Oms (17th century); the birth and the adoration of the wise men from Orient are painted on materials from the 18th century in the Mercy chapel. A sculpture set by Remigia Caubet is exhibited in front of the altar for Christmas: the child Jesus between Mary and Joseph (20th century). The presentation in the temple in the arms of Mary and Joseph is represented in the niche which is in the central part of the important altarpiece of the Corpus Christi. Jesus among the doctors of the temple is represented in the arch from the chapel of the “vermells”.
6. Saint Joseph, legal father of Jesus
Joseph, who was descended from King David and a just man, married Mary and according to the law of the country he was considered the father of Jesus, although He had been begotten by the Holy Spirit, He was the only Son of God and the Holy Virgin Mary. In dreams, an angel orders Joseph to name his wife’s son Jesus because he would save his people from sin.
Joseph was Jesus’ protector in Bethlehem, during exile in Egypt and in Nazareth. He was a carpenter or artisan. The Son of God made Man was brought up in the home of Joseph and Mary where he grew and strengthened, filled with wisdom, and the Grace of God was with Him. In that Holy Family, Jesus obeyed Joseph and Mary.
The oldest representation of Joseph in the Cathedral is shown in the altarpiece of Saint Jerome (beginning of the 17th century). The holy husband of Mary is also visible in an altarpiece (19th century) which is dedicated to him; in the predella his death between Jesus and Mary is represented. The figure of Joseph also appears in the mentioned episodes of the birth and infancy of Jesus, and also in the arch of the chapel of the Piety.
7. Saint John the Baptist
Son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, his birth was announced by the angel to his father as the one who would go before the Lord with the spirit and the power of Elijah... to prepare the people for the Lord . He was the cousin of Jesus, and he already jumped with gladness in the womb of his mother during the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. When he was born, his father prophesized that he would be a prophet of the Most High because he would go in front of the Lord to prepare His ways. That child grew and strengthened in the Spirit. He also lived in the desert until the day he appeared to Israel (Lc 1, 5-25.57-80). He appeared on the shore of the Jordan river preaching: "Change your ways, the Kingdom of heaven is now at hand!" John had a leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel’s hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan as they confessed their sins. At the time Jesus arrived from Galilee, although John did not want to, Jesus was baptized by him. When he came out from the water, the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit came down like a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard: "This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" The four Gospels describe the personality and mission of John, who was decapitated by Herod, as an advancement of the Passion of the one who had been announced as Precursor (Mt 3, 1-17; 14, 1-12; Mc 1, 2-11; 6, 14-29; Lc 3, 1-22; Jn 1, 6-8.15.19-35; 3, 22-30; 4, 1; 5, 31-35; 10-40-42).
On the altar of the Cathedral we can admire the figure of John the Baptist: on the left side wall there is a golden and polychrome sculpture of the Saint that comes from the old gothic altarpiece (14th century); it was put there by Gaudi. On the left side of the Mirador door you can also find a statue of the Precursor; this image also appears in the tympanum on the main entrance, alongside the Immaculate Conception. This Saint is venerated in the Corpus Christi altarpiece (17th century) too. You can also find Saint John the Baptist on a tapestry in the chapel of the Pure Mary, made by Guillem Mesquida (18th century); and also a polychrome statue in the chapel of Saint Peter, open in the main façade on the left, made by Adria Ferran (year 1812).
8. Jesus baptized by John in the river Jordan
The four Gospels (Mt 3, 13-17; Mc 1, 9-11; Lc 3, 21-22; Jn 1, 32-34) narrate the appearance of Jesus, as Messiah, at the beginning of his preaching of the Good News, in the baptism that he received from the hand of John in the river Jordan. God the Father declared him as his Son through the form of a dove. The Trinity is shown on the waters of the Jordan river. This is the river that opened the entrance of Israel to the Promised Land and is a representation of the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven and of the incorporation of the new people of God reborn from the water and the Holy Spirit (Jn 3,5). The baptism that Jesus receives in the Jordan is representative of the first Christian sacrament of the regeneration and of Easter. The Resurrescted will send his Apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples from all the nations. Baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28, 19). Through the first sacrament of the faith we are bound to Christ, to his death and resurrection (Rm 6, 3-11), the Father declares us as his beloved children in his only Son and the Holy Spirit, who is the author of reconciliation and peace, descends on us : he is the love of God infused in our hearts.
The central painting in the baptistry of the Cathedral, which was painted by L. A. Planes (18th century), describes the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, presided over by the Father and with the presence of the Spirit like a dove.
9. The twelve Apostles
At the beginning Jesus of Nazareth preached about the Kingdom of Heaven. From all the followers he had he chose twelve who he called Apostles so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach... These are the Twelve: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John his brother, to whom he gave the name Boanerges, which means “man of thunder”; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. (Mc 3, 13-19; Mt 10, 1-4; Lc 6, 12-16).
Jesus chose them as patriarchs of the new Israel he was going to establish; they are the new foundation of the new people of God (Rev 21, 14).
Many Cathedrals and other Christian churches have the images of the group of the Twelve apostles, frequently on large doors or represented in evangelical passages, like, for example, the last supper. The project for the entrance of the Mirador probably included these apostles. Now the twelve disciples appear in the Tympanum surrounding the table of the last supper of Jesus.
We have to mention two paintings about the Primate of Saint Peter to whom Jesus gave the “keys of the Kingdom of Heaven”: the Lord will build his church (Mt 16, 17-19). This episode is represented in the predella of the altarpiece of Saint Jerome and on the great painting by Salvador Torres (year 1839), which now is seen in the chapel by the main door, entering on the left hand side.
10. The parables of the Kingdom of God
A stained glass window above the organ, designed by Juan B. Castro (1980) shows a series of parables about the Kingdom of God. At the top you can read the introductory words of Jesus. “The Kingdom of God is similar...” and the parable of the small mustard seed that produced a great tree where birds rest (Mt 13, 31-32). The hand of the sower throws the seed that falls on the poor ground growing between thistles and plants, or in good soil that produces a hundredfold (Mt 13, 3-9). In the middle of the window a man rejoiced lifts up his arms because between his hands he has the treasure of the Kingdom that he has found (Mt 13, 44). Lower down you can see a net that has caught all kinds of fish, good and bad, that will be separated in the end of the world (Mt 13, 47-50). At the bottom a banquet with invited fellow guests of all nations: “Come to the feast” (Mt 22, 1-14; 8, 11).
11. The water of life, promised by Jesus to the Samaritan
In the Holy Scriptures, in its history and symbolism, water plays an important role as much in the First as in the second Alliance. It is the theme represented in the stained glass window on the sacristy of the “vermells” choir.
In the centre you can find two episodes: Moses in the desert, striking the rock to make water flow for the thirsty people (Ex 17, 1-7). Next the well of Jacob, Jesus, who is the new Moses, promises the water of life to the Samaritan woman: "The water that I shall give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4, 14).
In the lower part life that never ends water flows; they give life to the Dead Sea which is enlarging with fish and plants, according to the prophecy of Ezekiel (47, 1-12).
At the top, “the river of life gushing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22, 1): image of the salvation that grows from the paschal mystery of Jesus.
12. Multiplication of the bread and fish
The Kingdom of God is similar to a great banquet (Mt 22, Lc 14). Jesus wanted the Community symbol (sacrament) par excellence of his disciples to be the banquet of the Eucharist. The multiplication of the bread and fish (Mt 14, 13-21; 15, 32-36; Mc 6, 32-44; 8, 1-10; Lc 9, 10-17) finds in the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John its full meaning, especially in the speech of Jesus promising the bread of life: “The bread I shall give is my flesh and I will give it for the life of the world” (Jn 6, 51).
As all Christian churches, the Cathedral is above all a classroom, a place of celebration, of Eucharistic communion. The main altarpiece of the Cathedral is flanked by two apses, two chapels that show the two great moments of the establishment of the Eucharist from the New Testament. In the right apse a spectacular artwork introduces the splendour of the contemporary art in the Cathedral. It is the artwork of the Majorcan artist Miquel Barcelo. It symbolically shows the multiplication of the bread and fish according to John’s Gospel, chapter 6, in the key of present sacrament. The ceramic skin that covers the gothic architecture from the 14th century shows, on the right, abundant bread, wine and food; on the left extends and rises up a sea full of fish. The front wall offers the white figure, spiritual, dressed with light, with the face shining like the sun, (as like during the Transfiguration, Mt 17, 2), figure of Jesus Christ the Resurrected, who shows the wounds of crucifixion (Jn 20, 25-27; Lc 24, 39-40). He has triumphed over the corporal and spiritual hunger and returns from death. Now the Resurrected is in the Eucharistic table breaking and giving the bread and all food to the Church, so that the Church itself, like the apostles before, breaks and gives the bread (for the body and the spirit) that gives life to the world. The wine jars remind us of the first miracle that Jesus performed in the wedding at Cana (Jn 2, 1-11). Under the feet of the Resurrected the Tabernacle opens to the Eucharistic reservation; shining with gold it shows us the permanent presence of the Lord in the Eucharist that is the greatest goodness, the best treasure of the Christian Community.
This is the chapel of contemplation and adoration of the Most Holy Body of the Lord; the faithful extend the Eucharistic celebration with their prayers in front of the Tabernacle.
The multiplication of the bread and fish is also represented in a stained glass window (1983) in the left apse, in the Corpus Christi chapel.
13. The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
Six days before the solemnity of Easter, when the Lord was going up to Jerusalem, the children with palm branches went to find Jesus and joyfully they proclaimed: "Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed you who come and bring the mercy of God!” (Roman Missal, cf. Lc 19, 36-38).
Every year, during Palm Sunday, the Christian community starts Holy Week with the procession of branches and palms: they go with Jesus to enter the Church again – symbolized in the Cathedral – to renew the mysteries of his passion, death and resurrection.
14. Washing of feet
During the Last Supper, “Jesus got up from the table, removed his garment and taking a towel, wrapped it around his waist. He told them: “If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example that as I have done, you also may do... And blessed are you if you put it into practise” (Jn 13, 4-17).
Every year, after the Good Thursday’s homily, in the Mass of the Supper of the Lord, the bishop in the Cathedral washes the feet of twelve young people. It means the humble service of the one who presides over the Christian community that, like Jesus, behaves “as the one who serves” (Lc 22, 27).
15. The Last Supper
"I was eager to eat with you this Passover before I suffer!" (Lc 22, 15), said Jesus to the Apostles the night before he was given up. While he was eating with them, Jesus established the Eucharist, as memorial of Easter. Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body which is given for you” (Lc 22, 19). Then he took a cup and after he had given thanks, passed it to them and they all drank from it. And he said, “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which is to be poured out for many” (Mk 14, 23-24). “Do this in memory of me” So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes (1 Co 11, 24.26).
Faithful to the tradition we have received from the Lord and that the Apostles have transmitted to us, “From that time onwards the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery: reading those things which were in all the scriptures concerning him, celebrating the Eucharist in which the victory and triumph of his death are again made present, and at the same time giving thanks to God for his unspeakable gift in Christ Jesus, in praise of his glory, through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Constitution on the sacred liturgy from the Vatican II, 6).
The Cathedral of Majorca, which is built to gather the Christian community that celebrates the greatest sacrament of its faith, has shown to the eyes of the faithful the images from the holy supper of Jesus: first of all in the Mirador doorway, which means that we are entering into the Cathedral to revive the Supper of the Lord; and in the great altarpiece of Corpus Christi, the best baroque altarpiece of Majorca (from Jaume Blanquer, s. XVII), that presides over the left apse (restored between the years 2003 and 2004).
The faithful extend the Eucharistic celebration in prayer and adoration of the Holy Body of Christ in the tabernacle.
16. The trial, the judgement, the sentence of Jesus to die crucified
The leaders of the Jewish people decided to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he had gone to pray after the Last Supper. He was taken in front of the Sanhedrin – great council of Israel – and Pontius Pilate. He was accused of agitating the people, of wanting to destroy the temple, of blaspheming calling himself the Son of God, of rousing to revolt the people against the Emperor of Rome proclaiming himself the King of the Jews. Caiaphas, the High Priest, and the governor interrogated him. Because of the pressure of the Jewish authorities, Pontius Pilate washed his hands of the matter and condemned Jesus to die on the Cross.
Jesus’ judgement is beautifully etched in the predella of the great altarpiece of Corpus Christi: the Ecce Homo – Jesus crowned with thorns after being flogged (Jn 19, 5)– is placed on the central part of the high relief: on his right the religious tribunal; on the left, the roman pagan tribunal.
17. Jesus, dead on the Cross
“Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified... Bearing his own cross, Jesus went out of the city to what is called the Place of the Skull... There he was crucified... Pilate had a notice written and fastened to the cross that read: Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews” (Jn 19, 16-19). “It was now about noon. The sun was hidden and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon... Then Jesus gave a loud cry: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." And saying that, he gave up his spirit” (Lc 23, 44-46). “The captain who was standing in front of him saw how Jesus died and heard the cry he gave; and he said: "Truly, this man was the Son of God"” (Mc 15, 39).
All the Christian church is presided over by the cross which has become the Christian sign par excellence. The wide naves of the Cathedral direct the visit of the faithful towards the altar which is covered by the baldachin Antoni Gaudi hung from the vault in 1912. On the top of the baldachin it shows the cross with the crucified between Mary, his mother, and the disciple that Jesus loved. The cross has vivid colours: it is the glorious cross because it is where the new life begins. The cross gives a Christian character to the wide Cathedral: the spacious naves meet towards the altar and towards the mystery of the redeemer cross. The words of Jesus become true: “When I am elevated, I will attract everybody to me” (Jn 12, 32).
In the interior of the Cathedral, in the sacristy and in the museum, all the crosses and the crucifixes visualize the mystery of the Crucified. The crucifix exhibited in the Chapter Museum represents the Crucifixion of the Lord and was donated to ask for the eternal rest of the victims of the floods that occurred in 1406. At the top of the stained glass window in the chapel of the Descent of the Lord you can see the Crucified in the tree of the cross that gives the Spirit; Mary is at his side. In the choir, the daring paintings of J. M. Jujol (at the end on the right): the blood of Jesus Christ that soaks the earth and makes the new springtime flourish, as we have already commented.
18. Jesus taken down from the cross and buried
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate, for he was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the Jews. And he asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate agreed. Nicodemus also came and brought a jar of myrrh mixed with aloes. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices, following the burial custom of the Jews. There was a garden in the place where Jesus had been crucified, and, in the garden, a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. As the tomb was very near, they buried Jesus there because they had no time left before the Sabbath” (Jn 19, 38-42).
In the namesake chapel there is a magnificent painting by Ricard Ankermann (1886) that represents the removal of the body of Jesus from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus in front of the sorrow of his mother Mary and the women that have followed him from Galilee. In the chapel of the Lamentation, under the organ and in the minor pulpit are also representations of the Lamentation or compassion of Mary with the dead body of her son on her lap. In the chapel of the crown Mary contemplates the crown of thorns of Jesus; there is a reliquary with three thorns exposed in the Museum, with other relics attributed to the Passion: a bit of the column of the sufferings of Jesus, from the purple cloak, from the sponge with which he was given vinegar... These are signs of the medieval devotions.
Every Good Friday evening after the liturgical celebration, the Cathedral maintains the medieval representation of the Descent from the Cross and the procession to the holy burial of Jesus.
19. Jesus gloriously resurrected
“After the sabbath, on the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake: an angel of the Lord descending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him” (Mt 28, 1-6).
In the afternoon the Resurrected “stood himself in their midst and he said to them, “Peace to you... You see what was written: the Messiah had to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Now you shall be witnesses to this” (Lc 24, 36.46-48).
Jesus resurrected is the one who gives life and sense to the assembly that in his name congregates to celebrate the faith in him who lives forever and guides us through the path that brings us life. In the major pulpit of the Cathedral, in the dust cover of the choir we can see the traditional representation of Jesus as he comes out from the sepulchre. It is very much represented in the painted white waving flag by J. M. Jujol on the right of the choir. The facsimile of the candelabra for the Paschal Candle that Gaudi made for the Holy Family in Barcelona rises and shows the flame of new life through Eastertide. The Christ designed by Miquel Barcelo with ceramic in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament wishes to represent the spirituality of the body of the Resurrected: “The last Adam has become spirit and gives life” (1 Co 15, 45). “The Lord who is spirit” (2 Co 3, 18). This figure is also inspired in the apparition of the Resurrected who showed the disciples his five wounds (Jn 20, 27; Lc 24, 40).
In the Cathedral every morning of Easter the entry procession to the great Mass represents the encounter of the Resurrected and his Mother: "Queen of Heaven, rejoice. The one you carried in your womb has resurrected as he said. Alleluia!"
20. The Ascension of the Lord
Jesus, the Lord, took the Apostles from Jerusalem to Bethany and “he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And as he blessed them, he withdrew and was taken to heaven. They worshipped him. They returned to Jerusalem full of joy” (Lc 24, 50- 52).
“The Ascension of Christ is also our elevation and to the glory of where the Head has gone the body also has the hope to arrive” (Collect prayer of the Mass of the Ascension; translation from the Spanish).
The major pulpit has a low relief of the Ascension as well as on the chairs of the choir.
21. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostolic Church
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each one of them. All were filled with Holy Spirit ... Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and, with a loud voice, addressed them, “Fellow Jews and all foreigners now staying in Jerusalem. Indeed what the prophet Joel spoke about has happened... “In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants, both men and women, and they will be prophets”... This Messiah is Jesus and we are all witnesses that God raised him to life. He has been exalted at God's right side and the Father has entrusted the Holy Spirit to him; this Spirit he has just poured upon us as you now see and hear” (Ac 2, 1-4. 22.214.171.124-33).
Fifty days after the Sunday of the Resurrection we celebrate Pentecost. The ripe fruit of Easter is the gift of the Holy Spirit that is always present in his Church and gives efficiency to the sacraments.
One of the Joys of Our Lady, which is the coming of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles, is represented in the major pulpit; it is also represented in the stained glass window of the left minor nave on the Almoina doorway. At the top of the main altar between the ropes that hold the baldachin you can see a painted ball as a fire flame: symbol of the Spirit that descends on the altar to fulfil the Eucharistic conversion.
22. The Paschal mystery of Christ participated in by Holy Mary, ascended into Heaven
When Mary finished her pilgrimage on the earth she was taken up into Heaven in body and soul because of the victory of her son Jesus Christ. She participated in the victory against death because of the glorious Assumption. This truth of faith clarified by Pius XII in 1950 is enshrined in the Tradition: “the Virgin Mary as the beginning and pattern of your Church’s perfection, for justly you would not allow her to see the corruption of the tomb, because from her own flesh she brought forth ineffably your incarnate Son, the author of all life” (Assumption Preface).
The feast day of the 15th August is the great feast of Holy Mary. Our Cathedral celebrates this feast, honouring the “Dead Mother” (the “Sleep of Our Lady”), following the venerable tradition in her monumental resting bed in the centre of the Cathedral, surrounded by the perfume of basil and the freshness of the mirabels.
The altarpiece in chapel of the Grada also has a beautiful tapestry of the Assumption (17th century). The coronation of Mary by the Holy Trinity up in Heaven is represented in a tapestry in the chapel of the Lamentation of Mary (18th century). In the pediment of the main façade of the Cathedral there is a low relief of the Sleeping (Death) of Mary (by Marc Llinas, 1886) and it finishes with a sculpture of Our Lady ascending into Heaven with open arms (by Lluis Font, 1886). In the central stained glass windows in the middle of the left wall of the Royal chapel the Ascension of Mary appears (masterpiece of Pere Canaves, 1989).
23. The Lord will return with great power and majesty
“Then there will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars... the forces of the universe will be shaken. And at this time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now, when you see the first events, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near” (Lc 21, 25-28).
“I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God, he who is, who was and who is to come: the Master of the Universe... It is I, the First and the Last. I am the living one; I was dead and now I am alive for ever and ever; and mine are the keys of death and the netherworld” (Rev 1, 8.17-18).
The Son of Man, who opened history (“through him all things were made”, Col 1, 16), will close it too when “he gloriously comes to judge the living and the dead”.
On the statue of the first bishop of the restored Cathedral of Majorca Ramon Torrelles, on the left of the chapel of Corpus Christi, you can see the gothic image (14th century) of Jesus Christ sitting on a throne as Saviour and Judge: he has his hands extended showing the wounds of the nails and the lance on the side. He is a merciful judge. Next to him there is an angel that carries the cross, the lance and the nails. The Lord who will come to judge everybody is the merciful Redeemer that dearly loves those he has created and redeemed with the blood of his Passion.
IV. Celebrate the Mystery of faith
1. Overall, the Eucharist
Every house of the Church, of the community of the believers in Christ, is primarily in the service of the assembly gathered for the thanksgiving celebration to the memory of the Easter of the Lord, as he commanded us: “do this in memory of me”. All of the construction and the distribution of the interior space are at the service of the Eucharistic celebration that has the altar as the most visible and important centre, the dais from where the Word of God is read and preached, the major seat is the Episcopal Cathedra in the Cathedral, and also another minor seat for the celebrations presided over by a priest. The ministries, the clergy that take part in the liturgy, the singers and the faithful also have their place to participate in the sacramental action.
1.1. The altar: communion table and for the memorial sacrifice
The Eucharist is a banquet and at the same time a memorial of the unique sacrifice, offered by Jesus Christ, once and for all in his Easter. Surrounding the Eucharistic table the faithful in Christ lift up their thanksgiving prayers remembering the salvation work of Christ receiving communion with bread, that is the body of Christ delivered to give life to the world, and drinking from the cup, that is the blood of Christ that seals the new and everlasting Alliance.
The Christian tradition presents the altar as the table of a fraternal banquet where Christ is the host and food: it is the banquet of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth; it has the shape of the altar – this is the reason why since ancient times it is usually made of stone – of the sacrifice of himself and the sacrifice on the cross that the unique Priest and Mediator offered giving the life to reconcile humanity with God the Father.
The altar of the Cathedral of Majorca is the most venerable element for its theological symbolism, for its sacramental function, for its art linked to our history. It is probably from before the time of the Cathedral we now admire, with its 8 Romanic columns of primitive gothic (Cistercians), a byzantine column in the middle (7th century?), a great stone as table; it probably was the altar in the mosque taken over as a Christian church from 1230 and consecrated in it in 1269. This is the altar dedicated on the first of October 1346 when the new apse of the Cathedral, being built from approximately 1306, was inaugurated for worship. On the first of October the dedication of all the Cathedral to the unique God and Father of Jesus Christ is still celebrated.
Its last consecration was by the bishop Pere-Joan Campins on the first of October 1905 as the culmination of the restoration of the altar, Cathedra, choir and presbytery that was inaugurated the year before and made by Antoni Gaudi.
During the restoration in 1904 the altar of the Cathedral was moved to the end of the Cathedral with the baroque altarpiece and it was placed in front of the major nave so that it could be seen from any point of the church by the faithful. It is surrounded by four columns with candlesticks and four medieval sculptures of musical angels. An iron rail with candlesticks, forged by Gaudi, decorates the presbytery from the nave. Its candles are the liturgical illumination of the Eucharistic table.
In 1904 Gaudi hung up a very simple baldachin to cover and give honour to the altar: an old carpet embroidered with Eucharistic symbols. In 1912 the same artist made a more magnificent baldachin. It is hung from the vaults and it is basically formed by a heptagonal crown, with ears of wheat and bunches of grapes and 35 lamps. At the top of the crown, slightly inclined towards the central nave, it raises the Crucified between Mary and the disciple Jesus loved. The crown has ears of wheat and bunches of grapes, referring to the Eucharistic bread and wine.
The baldachin on the altar is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is like an epiclesis made art: the prayer that during the Eucharistic prayer implores the coming of the Spirit. The seven sides of the crown symbolize the seven gifts of the Spirit and they are united with polyhedral balls that carry the letters SS: initials of Spiritus Sanctus.
1.2. To proclaim the divine Word
The table of the Eucharist is intimately united to the table of the Word of God. Everything that is announced and preached by the Holy Scriptures, from the first to the second Alliance, has its important point in Jesus’ Easter, whose sacrament we celebrate in the Eucharist. This is the reason why the first part of the memorial of the Lord consists in proclaiming and listening to the announcement of the salvation that the prophets, apostles and Jesus himself proclaimed.
Traditionally the Church has reserved the maximum honour to the reading of the Gospel in the liturgy of the Word because this way it is recognised by the faith that Jesus still announces the Good News through the texts of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. The proclamation of the Gospel is preceded by the texts of the prophets: the history and the wisdom of Israel; the apostolic writings, the Acts and the letters.
The Church has always chosen a high place for the Word of God so that the faithful are able to listen and understand it. Before the last reformation of the liturgy in the Council the Gospel was read on the right side of the presbytery looking at the people; the first reading or readings (prophecy and apostolic letters) on the left hand side. In the Cathedral you can still find the major pulpit from the 16th century which is the great Renaissance monument where the reading of the Gospel and the preaching took place: it is surrounded by a bas-relief representing the seven Joys: the most significant events of the life of Jesus and Mary; there are also represented the four statues of the four evangelists and four more statues of the four great doctors of the Latin Church: Ambrose, Augustin (which was moved by Gaudi during the restoration to behind the small pulpit), Jerome and Gregory the Great. All this makes us realize that the Gospel is a proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord, according to the narration of the four Gospels that were explained and preached by the Fathers of the Church and Masters of the Christian Tradition.
The minor pulpit which has three sides, has bas-reliefs of the Annunciation of the Incarnation and the Our Lady of Sorrows: which is a clear reference to the announcement that the prophets and Apostles made concerning the salvation of the Son of God made Man who died for us. It was decorated by Gaudi with an tornavoz (which is a "hat" on the pulpit so that the voice is heard better) where you can find the most important figures of the New and Old Testament: at the top, Abraham ready to sacrifice his son Isaac: it is the great history of the faith in the first Alliance; on the border are the apostles Peter and Paul and a prophet.
Since Easter of 2001 the Cathedral has a new dais in the presbytery that matches the decoration of forged iron and wood with which Gaudi designed the music stand for the choir; it is situated next to the rail and candlesticks that form the entrance to the presbytery; it has incorporated a flower container that indicates the life, beauty and good essence that diffuses to the assembly the divine Word. During the fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ a candelabra, a facsimile of the one Gaudi made for the Holy Family in Barcelona, with a double column made from porphyry, holds the paschal candle.
The Word of God is the main theme of the stained glass window of Saint Jerome made by Pere Canovas (1983).
1.3. The Cathedra of the bishop
The name Cathedral comes from cathedra: the chair of the bishop, first master of the local Church that teaches, feeds and as a shepherd takes care of his herd in the name of the Good Shepherd and Master Jesus Christ.
Following the old tradition of building Episcopal churches, the cathedra (or Episcopal seat) was located at the beginning of the construction of the building in the 14th century in the new apse, inaugurated by Bishop Berenger Batle in 1346. This bishop gave a stone cathedra as a present to all his successors. We still have it and it was been restored and decorated by Gaudi and Jujol between 1904 and 1914. It is surrounded by the shields of the bishops before bishop Campins.
If the bishop presides over the celebration next to the altar, he sits in a smaller seat, a chair built like those Gaudi made for the Holy Family in Barcelona. At the back of the chair there is a bas-relief of the Good Shepherd with the inscription: Shepherd, Priest, Master.
When the priest in communion with the bishop presides over the celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral he sits on another chair of the same style with the shield of the Chapter of the Cathedral: Holy Mary with the child Jesus in her arms surrounded with an inscription: Mary, See of Wisdom.
1.4. The choir around the altar and the cathedra to sing the divine praise
The mother-church and cathedral is the church of the bishop. He is the father of the local community and has celebrated, taken care of and taught the people of God with a group of priests, called canons, throughout the ages. The canons have the liturgical and cultural mission of maintaining the worship in the Cathedral and to preserve and promote its patrimony of art and history. The praise service has been especially entrusted to the bishop, the Chapter and all the other priests of the clergy of the Cathedral: sing the praises to the Lord and direct him the prayers following the liturgy of the hours. It is a service that they exercise in the name of the Christian people of Majorca and together with the people that since Vatican II are invited to participate more every time.
While the construction of the Cathedral was going on during the 14th century the choir occupied the centre of the Cathedral and a good part of the central nave following the style of many Spanish cathedrals. In the 16th century in was converted into a true building inside the immense cathedral building. As a result it changed the appearance and proportion of the space and also how the congregation took part in and saw the services.
Bishop Campins ordered the brilliant architect Gaudi to move the choir from the centre of the Cathedral to the Royal cChapel, next to the cathedra and the altar. The great restoration was inaugurated in the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary the 8th of December 1904.
In this way the ministry of the bishop, of the priests and other clergy was centred round the altar and the cathedra, ready to celebrate the holy mysteries.
1.5. The great space of the three naves for the assembly of the People of God
Bishop Pere-Joan Campins explained the proposed architectural and liturgucal restoration of the Cathedral in his pastoral letter for the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin in 1904. It explained that the space within the cathedral would be changed: the altar for the Eucharistic sacrifice, the cathedra for the father and shepherd of the diocese, the choir for the ministries of the Church, the naves for the congregation.
This is how he imagined his plan to be carried out by the liturgical movement initiated about 1850 and finished in the Vatican II and that he was carrying in his head and heart. The bishop of Majorca anticipated it satisfying the participation of the faithful in the holy liturgy which is the first and indispensable source of the Christian life, as Pope Pius X taught in 1903.
The great intuition and courage that Bishop Campins had to break barriers and eliminate impediments have been proved correct in the great events of the Christian people of Majorca and in other sources in where the Cathedral feels happier because of the big congregations in Easter and Holy Week, the night of Christmas, the feast day of Corpus and many other solemn and popular occasions.
1.6 The music and the singing
The singing of the people of God in the Christian worship is a noble expression of its joyful faith, strengthens the word – of God and of the Church – it contributes to the liturgical action a solemnity that cannot be replaced by any other element. To sing is to strengthen the proclamation and the prayer. To sing in the celebration of the Eucharist is a characteristic of the faithful in Christ since the beginnings of the Church: “with thankful hearts sing to God psalms, hymns and spontaneous praise” (Col 3, 16). The letters of Paul and Peter contain hymns of the early community; the book of Revelation often describes the song of thanksgiving of the Heavenly Host. To sing in the liturgy has always been considered as an association with the angelical praise of Heaven.
Gaudi raised two platforms on each side of the renovated presbytery for the singers, decorated with lattices and wall charts that show the musical notes from the hymn to Saint John the Baptist by Guido Arezzo.
The Cathedral has a choir of adults for the Sunday mass and for the large celebrations, and a choir of children (the Vermells) that was re-established in the year 2000.
On many Sundays the Cathedral welcomes a number of European choirs that participate in some Eucharistic celebrations. Throughout the year there are concerts of the different choirs of Majorca and other places, very frequently accompanied by musical instruments.
For many years the Cathedral has enjoyed an organ adapted to its size and to the solemnity of worship. The great organ was inaugurated in 1797 and its last restoration was blessed in 1993. There is another organ in the choir inaugurated in the year 2001. Every year during the Sundays of October there is an organ festival with a master of international reputation. Throughout the year other organ concerts are marked in the musical calendar of the Cathedral.
1.7. The illumination of the Cathedral for the celebration
Lights are a sign of happiness and feast for the Eucharistic table and for the celebrant assembly. They were already a sign in Troas on the Sunday when the Apostle Paul was leaving the community: “with many lamps burning in the upstairs room where we were gathered” (Acts 20, 8).
At the beginning of the 20th century electricity started to be used more frequently to illuminate houses, public places, roads. It was Antoni Gaudi who introduced it in the Cathedral during the restoration that began in 1904. He changed the wax candles for electric bulbs; he also changed the oil that used to be burnt in the five lamps into electric bulbs and he distributed them in the centre and in the two side naves. He forged artistic iron rings for the columns so that the faithful could have enough light for the celebrations. Four artistic iron candlesticks on the columns hold four beautiful gothic statues of angels; they are situated at the four angles of the steps of the altar. The illumination of the baldachin, of its lamps, crown and balls is fed by electrical light. The railing that artistically separates the presbytery and the major nave had not long ago wooden candles with bulbs. Gaudi changed the old corridor of candles around the royal chapel with twelve iron candlesticks with false candles and bulbs. Five candlesticks with small, multicoloured bulbs adorn the high top and the sides of the major apse on the choir. All this electrical light gives importance to the festive celebration of the Eucharist of the Cathedral and is even better with the artistic general illumination made with modern techniques in 1996.
To this artificial light we have to add our Mediterranean sun. It is the potent light filtered by many stained glass and rose windows. The Cathedral remained very dark until the 20th century: nearly all the windows were blind. At the east top of the major nave shone the biggest eye of the gothic art. Gaudi started illuminating the rose window opened at the top of the Trinity chapel with artistic glass. After this he designed and ordered the making of the big stained glass windows to his own system; his work was stopped in 1914. Since 1926 the Chapter of the Cathedral started a campaign to illuminate with stained glass the windows that were still blind. This was finished in 1996 with the nave windows. In 2006 Miquel Barcelo designed five new stained glass windows for the chapel of the Holy Sacrament.
1.8. Images of angels at the service of worship
A long and beautiful Christian tradition connects the worship of the earthly Church and the heavenly Church. Christian art has frequently given an ambience to the Christian celebration with images of angels as acolytes or musicians that serve the liturgy. In the 14th century the Cathedral incorporated seven angel statues that carry candles attached to the columns that border the background of the apse to express that the angels used to serve the altar that was situated in front of the Episcopal cathedra. Already mentioned are the four angels that are musicians that surround the major altar on the columns with candlesticks. The chapel of the Holy Trinity also has four angel figures that serve the altar. The Mirador entry is decorated with many angels as musicians and altar servers with thuribles that exalt the work of salvation represented there.
1.9. The adoration and contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery after the Mass
The Lord Jesus, who is present under the form of the Eucharistic bread, remains present amongst us after the celebration of Easter. He verifies the farewell words to the apostles “I am with you always until the end of this world” (Mt 28, 20). The Church reserves a lot of respect for the Eucharistic body of the Lord taking communion to the sick and to be contemplated in his mystery of love, “with all its consequences”, to be adored by the faithful so that they prolong the prayer begun in the thanksgiving action of the mass and prepare for their participation in the next celebration.
Years ago the Holy Body of Christ was reserved with honour in boxes inside the sacristy. The cathedral museum keeps some of them, outstanding pieces for their art and antiquity. In the 14th century the Cathedral of Majorca “invented” a more honourable place to reserve the consecrated bread: the image of Holy Mary, patron of the Cathedral. Guillem Sagrera sculpted this marvellous gothic statue. On its left side, under the figure of the child Jesus, he made a small door and its interior is decorated with a star-shaped sky (which for the medieval people was the symbol of the universe) to keep the consecrated hosts in it. The idea of this “invention” could have been suggested by an antiphon dedicated to Mary: “The one that the whole universe cannot contain, shut himself up in your heart to become man”. The ingenuity of the Cathedral was followed by many parochial and convent churches of Mallorca that still keep a dozen of images of this type. The old documents talk about the “tabernacle of our Lady” referring to the mentioned image and that were placed in the centre of the gothic altarpiece and that Gaudi placed in the Trinity chapel in 1904.
Since the 15th century and about the time of the Trent Council the Eucharistic reserve in tabernacles was becoming normal. The actual tabernacle in the Cathedral is made of ceramics shining with gold and it is part of the cover of the Holy Host chapel. It is made by Miquel Barcelo (2005).
The great feast of the Eucharistic Body of the Lord is the Corpus Christi feast. The solemn mass of this feast day is prolonged as the procession passes through the old city. To show and adore the Eucharistic bread our ancestors ordered a processional monstrance from reputable Majorcan silver workers. The work was started in the 15th Century and completed in the 19th century.
2. Baptism, first sacrament of faith
On the right entering through the main entrance we find the baptistery. It is the space that the capuchin Miquel of Petra, who was the nephew of the blessed Junipero Serra, designed according to the neoclassic style of the 18th century for the celebration of baptism. It was ordered by Bishop Rubio Benedicto and is located in the traditional place: in the entrance of the church as the sacrament of baptism is linked with the admission to the Christian community.
The Majorcan stone baptismal font is large and sumptuous and it has the shape of an enormous sarcophagus: it can be related to the meaning that Saint Paul gives us of the baptism in his letter to the Romans (6, 3-11): "We are buried with Christ in death and resurrected with Christ", apostolic words that make comprehensive and eloquent the baptism made by immersing the person in water. It is the most significant baptism that still prevails in the post-council ritual and that because of the size of the baptismal font it can be carried out in this way in the Cathedral.
Six valuable neoclassic pictures decorate the baptismal chapel of the Cathedral: at the background the baptism of Jesus by of John, with the theophany: the Father and the Holy Spirit (with the shape of a dove) on the Son (painted by Lluis A. Planes, from Valencia); on the right is the baptism of the first pagan that received the call to faith (Acts 10), Cornelius, through the hands of the apostle Peter (Josep Camaron from Valencia) and on the left the baptism of Clovis I the king of the Franc’s through the hands of Saint Remigius in the year 496 (Josep Vergara from Valencia). At the top there are round pictures that represent angels that serve as acolytes at the baptismal celebration: some bring the water, others the words that are pronounced to administrate the sacrament, the rest offer the oils of the neophytes and the sacramental oil.
The Cathedral allows the Christian admission of new children of God in the Church of Majorca by opening the baptismal fonts during the Easter Vigil, confirming with the gift of the Holy Spirit by the ministry of the bishop and taking the first Holy Communion.
3. The sacrament of reconciliation and penance
A Christian that has broken or weakened the communion with God and with the Church is invited to the sacrament of the reconciliation: by repentance of sins and conversion, by humble confession of sins, by sacramental absolution that the priest declares in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as a minister of the Church, while the person decides to undertake again the path of a new life accepting the penance that stimulates the person to follow the Gospel more faithfully.
The Cathedral as the Mother Church welcomes repented people exercising the apostolic and Episcopal minister of the reconciliation, entrusted specially to the canon penitentiary. The penitential seat was made by Antoni Gaudi.
4. The Sacramental Mass: font of the sacraments for the local Church
Before the Easter Triduum, on Holy Wednesday, the Majorcan Church celebrates one of the most significant events: the Bishop, concelebrating with the priests, assisted by deacons and other ministers and with the active participation of the People of God, blesses the oils for the catechumens and for the sick and consecrates the holy oil.
The Cathedral appears as the fertile and joyful mother because of the vitality of her children, because of the dedication of priests and deacons, with the help of those who represent Jesus Christ, Head and Shepherd of the Church. In the representatives of Christ the Bishop is the font and principal minister of the sacraments that sanctify those who are called to salvation. All this is through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that configures us in Christ, the Anointed one, and that strengthens us for the everyday fight against evil and to introduce the Kingdom of God. It comforts and relieves those who suffer in illness. It consecrates those who represent the only Priest who is Jesus Christ. It dedicates to the Lord all altars and churches.
V. Witnesses and followers of Christ, intercessors for the people of God
1. Holy Virgin Mary, in the Cathedral of Majorca
The liturgical assembly is the celebrant accompanied by the church of the Saints in heaven, recalling His example and asking for Her intercession.
The first Saint of all the Saints that heard and accepted the Word of the Son of God was Mary, his mother, who kept it all in her heart (Lc 2, 19.51). The Father had created her a Saint and immaculate since her pure Conception. The apostolic community held her as a model and guide of prayer when they were waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1, 14). Since then the Church through all generations has venerated her as mother and model to follow the Lord and as intercessor in the difficult moments of the pilgrimage to the Kingdom. James I, educated according to the Cistercian religiosity, had a profound devotion to Mary. He wanted to conquer a Kingdom in the sea for Jesus Christ and Holy Mary. After the 31st of December he dedicated the first church of the city of Majorca to Mary, which had been a royal mosque. Following this tradition, James II also dedicated the new Cathedral to the Holy Mary started in 1306. The Holy Mary with her Son Jesus on her arms has presided and has been the emblematic image of the Cathedral of Majorca.
The first sculpture of our Lady is from the end of the 13th century and it is called Our Lady of the tier. It is a Romanic image full of majesty and seated on the royal throne decorated with the bars of the counts of Barcelona, so that she, as the “Seat of wisdom”, becomes the throne of her Son, who is on her lap, the Word of God become Man. The seal of the Cathedral and of the Chapter is formed with this majestic image of Our Lady of the Cathedral. It can be seen in the baroque Chapter hall and in the choir.
The second titular of the Cathedral from the 14th century is the Tabernacle Virgin who haspresided over the Cathedral again since 1904.
A perfect sculpture of Our Lady (14th century) was placed in the middle pier of the Mirador entrance. Nowadays it is located in the Chapter museum and in the original place there is a copy of the original made by Guillem Galmes (20th century): this way Holy Mary welcomed the faithful that were entering the Cathedral, because she is the door to heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem, symbolized in the Cathedral.
Holy Mary is invoked as “Queen and Mother of mercy” in the son of the Salve Regina. She was very appreciated by the Majorcans because in the past centuries they were surrounded by so many risks on land and on sea. The flooding provoked by the overflow of the Riera torrent in 1406, when many Palmesans died, made everybody turn their eyes toward Mary, Mother of Grace, Mother of mercy, Mother of the cloak, “Mother of all”. They invoked her maternity with a votive offering hung on the grave of the victims in the Cathedral: Holy Mary shelters under her cloak all people of all conditions. The votive offering is now located in the Chapter museum. A stained glass windows from the year 1989 follows the iconography of the Virgin with the cloak to represent the title of “Mother of the Church”, as proclaimed by Paul VI during the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
The Catalan and Majorcan devotion to the protection of Our Lady of Montserrat and Our Lady of Lluc are linked to the beginning of the restored Church of Majorca in the 13th century. Traditionally the two sanctuaries have together walked together along their paths of history. On the left and right of the interior of the chapel of the Sorrowful Lady there are the representations of both Virgins from the 18th century: they are dressed in baroque style, and are located on their sanctuaries and mountains, and venerated by their altar servers.
Following the seamen tradition of Palma there can also be found devotion to Our Lady of the Sailors. It has been on the altar of Saint Benet since the 18th century.
Other devotions to Mary from the Majorcan people spread by religious orders are present in the Cathedral: Our Lady of the rosebush (Crown chapel), Our Lady of Mercy and the Virgin of Mount Carmel (on the Grada chapel). Two pictures on the chapel of the Sorrowful Lady represent Our Loneliness Lady and the Pillar Virgin.
Other devotions and mysteries have been described in previous pages.
2. Apostles and Evangelists
The twelve apostles chosen by Jesus with Saint Paul have received much extended devotion by the Christian people.
Since the 14th century the images of Peter and Paul on the columns have welcomed people to the royal chapel and to the presbytery. Both images can also be found on the arch entering the sacristy of the Vermells. They are also on the minor pulpit, designed by Gaudi. The silver sculpture of Saint Peter in the Chapter museum is outstanding. The conversion of Saint Paul is shown in a picture (17th century) on the left hand side of the predella on the Corpus Christi altarpiece.
On the right of this same altarpiece there is the image of Saint Matthias. Saint Mathew is represented in the gothic altarpiece from the 14th century (and Saint Francis) now located in the Chapter museum. A picture also represents this on the Crown altarpiece.
Saint James, son of Zebedee, with a Compostelan pilgrim habit is one of the figures on the gothic altarpiece of the 14th century; it was relocated by Gaudi under the canopy on the left of the Royal chapel. It can be also found in the Sorrowful Lady and in Saint Joseph’s Chapels.
It should be mentioned that the holy apostle, Mary Magdalene, is represented with two statues: the one that comes from the gothic altarpiece that Gaudi placed on the right of the Royal chapel with the recipient of oils in her hand, and the one situated in the attic of the chapel of Saint Jerome.
All the Apostles appear in the stained glass window of the Regina Apostolorum on the right of the Royal chapel (1982).
Small statues of the four Evangelists surround the main pulpit (16th century): Saint Mathew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke and Saint John. The unfortunately mutilated symbols, the tetramorph (man, lion, bull and eagle), taken from the book of Ezequiel (1, 10), can be seen in the Trinity Chapel. There is a statue of Saint John next to Saint James in the Royal chapel and on the top of the main doorway. It has the eagle and the chalice as attributes.
3. Martyr Saints
They are the witnesses (martyrs) of Jesus Christ and with their blood expressed their great love: by dying for the One they loved and those who loved him (Jn 15, 13).
The Regina martyrum stained glass windows from the year 1982 on the left of the Royal chapel presents a group of witnesses of Jesus: blessed Ramon Llull, Saint Sebastian, the Uganda Martyrs, Saint Laurence, Saint Barbara, Saint Lucia and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Jorge and Saint Paul Miki.
Saint Sebastian, Patron of Palma, has an altarpiece and a chapel. The statue was sculpted in Rome in the 18th century. In the Chapter museum there is the beautiful panel of the Saint made by Alonso Sedano and requested by the jurors in 1488. The relic of Saint Sebastian’s arm arrived from Crete to Palma in 1523 and it is depicted in the Chapter museum in a notable silver piece of art from the 16th century.
Saint Eulalia of Merida was venerated in a little chapel in the choir; her image and passages of the martyrdom were painted in an attractive altarpiece given by Bishop Berenguer Batle and it was made by Jaume Loert (14th century); it is now exhibited in the Chapter museum.
The old gothic altarpiece had statues from Saint Eulalia and Saint Barbara; they were located by Gaudi on the right hand side in the choir. Saint Barbara, anterior second patron of Majorca, and Saint Praxedes flank the image of Saint Sebastian on his altarpiece.
The actual chapel of the Descent of Jesus from the cross was previously dedicated to Saint Cecilia, Roman Martyr, Patron Saint of the musicians. The Saint is found with angels in the attic of the altarpiece and it was painted by Guillem Mesquida. The frontal placed at the entry of the Vermells sacristy (restored in year 2003) comes from this chapel, made by Mesquida (18th century) too.
Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr in Armenia, who has great popular devotion has a statue in the Descent altarpiece.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Lucia are in the sides of the altarpiece of Saint Jerome (17th century).
Saint Columba, Spanish martyr from the 3rd century, was beautifully painted by Ricard Ankermann (1836) in the altarpiece of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, next to Saint Sylvester, Pope of the 4th century. The 31st of December, feast day of both Saints, is the feast of the reconquest by James I. This chapel was dedicated by the jurors to the Angel of the kingdom of Majorca.
4. The Church Fathers and Masters of the Church.
They are Church Fathers of the old Church because of their pastoral dedication and because their doctrine consolidated the Church in faith and following the Lord.
The four great Doctors and Fathers of the Latin Church have been privileged with the iconography of the Occident Cathedrals: Saint Ambrose (+ 349), Saint Augustin (+ 430), Saint Jerome (+ 420) and Saint Gregory the Great (+ 604). Their small statues (16th century) are found around the major pulpit (Saint Augustin after the reform of 1904 was moved to behind the pulpit), in the main entrance, from the year 1601, and on the sides, there are sculptures of these four Doctors.
Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustin and Saint Gregory are also represented in images at the beginning of the vault in the chapel of Saint Bernard, next to the oriental doctors: Saint Basil (+ 379), Saint John Chrysostom (+ 407) and Saint Cyril of Alexandria (+ 444). Gaudi suggested locating these oriental doctors in this chapel and Joan Rubio Bellver, who was designing it, accepted the suggestion (starting in 1913). During those years the Latin Church presided by Leo XIII was promoting an approach to the oriental Churches.
The four doctors of the oriental Church are represented in the Chapel of the Assumption or Grade chapel in tapestry: Saint Athanasius (+ 373), Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (+ 390).
Saint Jerome, the most important doctor who explained the Holy Scriptures, has a chapel and a mannerist altarpiece from the year 1602 which authority was given by Gaspar Oms. In the centre, the holy monk and priest is wearing the cardinal purple, an anachronism because of the fantasy of the Renaissance; in the attic he is presented as a hermit and penitent in the desert.
Saint Martin of Tours (+ 397), monk and bishop of great fervour, has a large following in the Occident. He also has a baroque altarpiece from the 18th century and a chapel. In the centre the Saint, still as a student, can be seen giving half of his cloak to a poor person, who was in fact Jesus.
Saint Benedict (+ 560), father of the Occident monks has a baroque altarpiece and a chapel. It was a donation of the Benedictine bishop dom Benet Panyelles (1730-1743).
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (+ 1153), called by some people “the last of the Fathers”, has been venerated in the Cathedral of Majorca for many years. The actual altarpiece was blessed in 1921. It was designed by Joan Rubio following the gothic plan of chapels in Cathedrals: its height allowed the opening of three stained glass windows in the background, painted by Darius Vilas, with scenes of the life of the great monk and reformer that are also represented in the six side bass-reliefs next to a group of Cistercian Saints.
Two great scholastic doctors are found in the altarpiece of Saint Martin: Saint Thomas Aquinas (+ 1274) and Saint Bonaventure (+ 1274).
5. The preferred and most venerated Saints and angels by the Majorcan people
It is during the period of reconquest when the devotion towards the Majorcan Saints begun: it was during the flourishing of medieval Christianity when Christian worship was restored here. Even during the interruption of Christianity during the Islamic domination (903-1229) the Christian place names remained: Saint Martin, Saint Laurence, Saint Eulalia...
From all the popular devotions Saint Anthony the abbot (+ 356) stands out. It is represented dominating the temptations in the desert at the top of the Corpus Christi altarpiece. Its image also appears in the namesake altarpiece of Saint Anthony of Padua, next to Saint Paul of Thebes (+ 356), named the first hermit.
Saint Bruno (+ 1101), the founder of the Carthusian Order, received much devotion because of the presence of the hermit monastery of his order in Valldemosa. A notable statue made by Adria Ferra in 1812 is actually placed in the chapel next to the main entrance on the left. Another sculpture of the hermit Saint can be seen in the Descent altarpiece.
Saint Francis of Assisi (+ 1226) has received much popular devotion since 1230 because of the roots of his Order in Majorca. Painted on wood in the gothic altarpiece (15th century) dedicated to him and to Saint Matthew in the Chapter museum with scenes of his life there is a very pretty baroque image of the founder receiving the stigmas in the Corpus Christi chapel. He and the founder of Preachers, St. Dominic de Guzman (1221 +) are represented giving the fraternal embrace when, according to tradition, they met Rome, in a painting of the altarpiece of the Crown.
Saint Ramon de Penyafort (+ 1275), who is linked to the Conqueror king, is represented next to blessed Ramon Llull in an embroidery in the Chapel of the Pure Conception of Mary, by Guillem Mesquida; it also appears in a baroque medal in the gothic Chapter hall.
Saint Anthony of Padua, or of Lisbon (+ 1231), who is one of the most venerated Saints in the Latin Church, has for a long time had a very popular following in Majorca. In the 18th century the Cathedral dedicated a chapel to him and an altarpiece, designed with the representation of the preaching of the Saint.
Saint Raymond Nonnatus (+ 1240), from the order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, is redeemer and advocate of the difficult births. He has a statue with the monstrance in his hand in the Descent chapel.
The blessed Ramon Llull (+ 1316), was born not very far from the Cathedral about the year 1232. He was converted after having had a courtly life in the royal palace of Majorca. He left everything to preach the Gospel to the non Christians and to promote the reform of the Church. He wrote many books and started a big dynamism in all Christianity to carry out the “holy business” of Jesus Christ. He is the oldest brother of the Majorcan Church. In his will he left a legacy for the work of the Cathedral, and he is venerated in San Sebastian’s altarpiece, in the chapel of the Pure Conception of Mary – which mystery he defended –, in the bars of the chapel of the Crown; he has a statue placed in a tower of the main façade (sculpture made by Guillem Galmes at the end of the 19th century).
Saint Vincent Ferrer (+ 1419), preacher, came to Majorca invited by Bishop Lluis Prades. He preached sermons in many villages and in the Cathedral. A picture in the Chapter museum recalls the sermon preached in the Cathedral; and another two have the traditional image of the holy preacher in the chapels of Saint Martin and of the Sorrowful Lady.
Saint Francis Borgia (+ 1572), Duke of Gandia, disciple of Saint Ignatius Loyola, renounced everything to enter in the Society of Jesus. He became the third Superior General of the order. He participated in founding the Jesuits in Monti-Sion of Palma (1561). He is represented in the predella of Saint Sebastian’s chapel rejecting the glories of the world.
Saint Catherine Thomas (+ 1564), born in Valldemossa, Augustinian canon in Saint Mary Magdalene of Palma. She was given the gift of contemplation and counsel. She encouraged Bishop Arnedo in the tridentine reform of Majorca and she had a very important popular fame of sanctity and a much extended following. She is represented in a tapestry in the altarpiece of Saint Sebastian and in the arch of the chapel of the Sorrowful Lady. She has a statue in a tower of the main façade made by Guillem Galmes.
Saint Theresa of Jesus (+ 1582), reformer of the Carmelite Order and doctor of the Church, has the first dedicated church in Palma. The readers of her spiritual works and writings of the Order increased her following in Majorca. A statue of her is venerated in the altarpiece of Saint Joseph, to whom she expressed her devotion.
Saint Alonso Rodriguez (+ 1617), coadjutor brother of the Society of Jesus, entered in Monti-Sion as caretaker in 1571. Spiritual director and prayer master he died with the fame of a Saint; the people venerated him as Patron of Majorca even before his beatification. There is a portrait of him on the right hand side wall of the chapel of Saint Sebastian.
Other Majorcan devotions of Saints are venerated in the altarpiece of Saint Sebastian, patron of the city: Saint Pedro Nolasco (+ 1249), founder of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives; an old tradition affirms that he came to Majorca to rescue the Christian captives before the reconquest of Majorca by James I; Saint Nicolas of Tolentino (+ 1305), advocate against plagues; Saint Andrew Avelino (+ 1608), invoked against sudden death, who was a minor patron of the diocese.
All the Saints are honoured in the stained glass window of the Royal chapel (1982): Regina sanctorum omnium. The figures of Saint Joseph, blessed Juniper Serra, Judith, Saint Elisabeth, Saint Roch, Saint Anthony the Abbot, Saint Peter Claver, Rut, Saint Clare of Assisi and Saint Dominic Savio can be seen there.
We have to emphasize the two stained glass windows made by Gaudi on each side of the Trinity chapel. Without doubt they are the best that the Cathedral offers. Regina confessorum is integrated with the polychrome images of the Spanish Saints Isidore of Seville, Damasus, Ramon of Penyafort, Ramon of Fitero, Vincent Ferrer, Dominic of Osma, Ignatius of Loyola, Alonso Rodriguez and king Ferdinand III. Regina Virginum unites the images of holy virgins: Tecla, Eulalia, Catherine of Alexandria, Catherine of Sienne, Catherine Thomas, Praxedes, Florentine, Rose of Lima, Theresa of Avila and Mary of Cervello.
The archangels also have images in the Cathedral. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are by the Sorrowful Lady chapel, next to the Guardian Angel (18th century). Gabriel is obviously present in every image of the Annunciation to Mary.
Many other Saints that receive devotion from the Majorcan people are depicted in other altarpieces and chapels of the Cathedral. The chapel of the Sorrowful Lady has embroideries in its arch and on the side walls. There are Saint Christopher, the Saints Cosmas and Daminan, Saint Stephen and Saint Laurence, Saint Nicolas Bari, Saint Clare of Assisi, Diego of Alcantara – who has a statue in Saint Martin’s altarpiece –, Saint Francis of Sales and Saint John Berchmans. In the altarpiece of the same chapel there are Saint Dominguito of Val, Saint Magin, Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Philip Neri.
There is an image of Saint John of Nepomuk in the chapel of the Descent of Jesus from the cross and in the chapel of the Pure Conception of Mary. On the altarpiece of this last chapel the image of Saint Peter of Arbues is also venerated.
In the altarpiece of Corpus Christi, apart from the mentioned Saints, there are two small images of Saint Christine and Saint Ninfa; in the altarpiece of Saint Jerome there is Saint Bibiana and Saint Quiteria. The titular image of the altarpiece of Saint Benedict is guarded by Saint Scholastica and Saint Gertrudis. In the altarpiece of the Crown there are paintings of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes, of Saint Erasmus (Telmo) and Saint William. At the top of the altarpiece of Saint Anthony of Padua there is a bas-relief of Saint Rosalyn of Palermo.
We have to specially mention the Angel Saint of the Kingdom of Majorca to whom the actual chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been dedicated. On the altarpiece there is an embroidery of the Guardian Angel of Majorca whose memory continues in the Majorcan people on the denominated Angel Sunday which is the first Sunday after Easter.
In the background of the major apse in the Trinity chapel a rose window of Regina Angelorum opens: each oculus is the face of an angel. It was the beginning of the work of Gaudi in the windows for the Cathedral (1904).
Not to be forgotten are the angel figures that in the decoration of the Cathedral show us how the angels were considered to be integrated in the liturgical celebration of the united communion of the earthly Church with the heavenly Church. As explained above, angels served the liturgy as acolytes or musicians from their different images. Six angels with candelabra surround the altar at the front of the Episcopal cathedra. Angels with thruribles decorate the Trinity chapel and assist the bishop near the cathedra on columns and iron candelabra made by Gaudi. In 1904 the restoring architect situated four musician angels on the four angles of the major altar. A multitude of musician angels and angels with thruribles surrounding the Mirador entrance invite the faithful to enter in the celebration.
VI. Preach and live faith and charity
Celebrate, contemplate and revive the history of our salvation in the Cathedral surrounded by the Saints, who are the witnesses and intercessors, entrusting us the mission of living in the city and in the world, that which we have proclaimed in the sacramental action of the Christian assembly, presided over by the bishop and other priests. The celebration encourages us to live above all faith, hope ,charity and love.
The Christian virtues also appear in images of the Cathedral.
The three great theological virtues are represented at the top of the altarpiece of Corpus Christi: charity, at the top, as a mother that embraces her children; faith, with the cross and the Eucharistic chalice; hope with the salvation anchor.
Faith crowns the mausoleum of Bishop Bernat Cotoner in the chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Two feminine figures rise from the top of the Pure Conception of Mary: representing the shining purity in the person of the most Holy Mary.
The altarpiece of Saint Anthony of Padua shows two figures of virtues: strength and temperance.
Finally, the message of the fraternal charity is shown as an eloquent and magnificent table of Almsgiving, painted by Joan Desi un about the year 1520. This represents the sense and spirit of how the Cathedral, its clergy and benefactors, gave charity to the poor that turned there to ask for charity. Jesus himself, the Lord, appears gloriously dressed with a cape, giving charity to two poor men and women, lovingly placing his hand on the back of the poor man on his left: it is the alms, a canon and a beneficiary, given and at the same time what they have received from a benefactor, crowns found under the table. The evangelical reference is very clear. The Lord says: "Whenever you do this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you do it to me" (Mt 25, 40).
Pere Joan Llabrés Martorell