San Geraldo griped about the fact that the stores were closed yet again, but I reminded him that the holiday was in honor of the birthday of his very own 22-Greats Grandfather Fernando III of Castille and León. Or, more simply, San Fernando El Rey (Saint Ferdinand the King), the patron saint of Sevilla. If there really was no parade yesterday, I do know for a fact at least that there were three special masses held in San Fernando's honor in the Cathedral of Sevilla where he is entombed. I did not make Jerry go to mass in the morning, but I did make him walk with me to the Cathedral in the afternoon to pay our respects to Grandpa.
|STANDING IN LINE IN THE HOT AFTERNOON SUN OUTSIDE THE CATHEDRAL.|
You may remember that Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-Grandpa Fernando is buried in a gold, silver, and crystal casket in the Cathedral. His tomb is inscribed in four languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and an early version of Castillano (the most common language in contemporary Spain and the one I have been trying to learn). Fernando III was canonized San Fernando El Rey, more than 400 years after his death, in 1671 by Pope Clement X.
He spends eternity preserved in a grand chapel with his golden crown encircling his head as he lies beneath the statue of the Virgin of the Kings. Unfortunately, we have yet to see him because the chapel has been under restoration for months. I was convinced it would be done in time for his birthday, which is why I dragged his multi-great-grandson San Geraldo there in the 97-degree (36C) heat. Well, I was wrong. We arrived to find only the closed ornate gate backed by plywood between the stone carvings of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand (born about 300 years later). Lucky for us, as residents we pay no entrance fee.
|SAN FERNANDO EL REY LIES BEHIND THE PLYWOOD AND METALWORK.|
I IMPRESSED THE GUARD WHEN I TOLD HER JERRY WAS HIS 22-GREATS GRANDSON.
IT DIDN'T HELP.
San Geraldo was very forgiving. He sat for a while in an ancient pew in the cool of the great stone Cathedral and contemplated the magnificent organ. We've decided to go back some Sunday to hear it played.
|CHOIR STALLS. NEAR WHERE SAN GERALDO SAT AND COOLED HIMSELF.|
We did, however, get to see a famous statue of San Fernando El Rey as well as his flag, the standard that was carried by his troops. The large flag flew above Sevilla's mezquita (now the royal palace) when the city was turned over to King Fernando III in the year 1248. It is in pristine condition having been meticulously preserved in the Cathedral for nearly six centuries. It is permanently displayed in a glass case. Well, Greats, we tried. Maybe we'll see you next year.
|THE STANDARD OF SAN FERNANDO. FROM THE YEAR 1248.|
(IN BETTER CONDITION EVEN THAN OLD GLORY.)