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Scene: Don Pelayo at the cave of Covadonga

August 27, 2007

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Proclamación de D. Pelayo – L. Madrazo (1855), Basílica de Covadonga – source

As Pelayo and his men looked down from the cave of Covadonga they saw a massive Muslim horde. Alkama and his men jeered, sure of an easy victory. A chill of fear compounded the chill of the cave but the indomitable leader, pointing to the small image of Our Lady of Covadonga, reminded his brave men to place all their confidence in her protection. This little Lady “beautiful as the moon, brilliant as the sun, terrible as an army in battle array,”4 could not disappoint their trust. Thus began that terrible, unequal fight.

At a signal from Alkama, a multitude of stones and arrows were hurled against the men in the cave. It was then that a wonderful thing happened. The acclaimed sixteenth-century Spanish historian, Father Juan de Mariana, describes the battle:

They fought at the entrance to the cave with all sorts of weapons, and a shower of stones. Then it was that God’s power was manifest, favorable to ours and contrary to the Muslims because the arrows and spears that the enemy launched returned to them causing great harm among them. The enemy was astounded at such a miracle. Heartened and on fire with the hope of victory, the Christians emerged from the hideout, few in number, soiled and ragged, and engaged in a melee. They fell fiercely upon the enemy who, thrown off balance, turned and ran.

From Don Pelayo and the Reconquista of Spain, By Felipe Barandiaran.

See also:
Catholic Culture: The Caves of Covadonga

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