In November 1871, Don José María Urquinaona y Bidot, the Cadiz bishop of the Canary Islands since 1868 and at that time also Apostolic Administrator of Tenerife, made public “To the venerable Clergy and the faithful of our Diocese of the Canary Islands and that of Tenerife” which he considered to be It is extremely important to present a grandiose spectacle of revitalization of belief and devotion “in view of its faithful in these unfortunate times, in which faith is so weakened in most souls, resulting in the lack of reverence with which They continually desecrate our temples and even more horrible attacks that seriously offend the Divine Majesty.
In this intimate persuasion, full of ardent zeal for the decorum of the house of the Lord, desiring to inspire in our beloved faithful the deeply religious spirit with which we must always appear in the temple to pay our homages to the Most High, and wanting at the same time to give a solemn and public testimony of the love that we profess this Holy Church with which the Supreme Pontiff has married us, we have determined to consecrate its main Temple so that the Cathedral of the Canary Islands does not lack that sacred anointing that should earn it the deepest respects of its children and to deserve to these well-filled blessings of Divine Mercy: Our spirit being to offer to the Majesty of the Lord this most religious act in reparation for the many horrendous desecration and sacrileges that are being committed everywhere in the unfortunate times that we are going through ».
Bishop Urquinaona, who in those years was determined to do a thousand things in his diocese in reparation to Pope Pío Nono for the loss of the Papal States in the process of formation of the Kingdom of Italy, decided to carry out the consecration “spontaneously and out of love for his Holy Church ”as highlighted by the Ecclesiastical Bulletin.
To carry it out, he reached an agreement with the Cathedral Chapter and they agreed that the consecration should take place on the fourth Sunday of that month of November 1871, which communicated the clergy and parishioners exhorting them to comply with the Canonical Discipline prescribed by the Pontifical Romano, they fasted on the eve of the aforementioned Sunday and granted a year of indulgence to all persons who, with the appropriate provisions, visited the Cathedral temple on the day of its consecration and prayed devoutly “for the extirpation of heresies, for the conversion of sinners. , for the reestablishment of the Papal Throne, for peace and concord among the Christian Princes … ».
Since its announcement, the consecration generated enormous expectation, either because of the novelty or because of the secret tone in which it was to be celebrated.
Among the relics that the Cathedral guarded, Urquinaona chose those of the martyrs Saint Pio, Pope; San Máximo, Bishop; San Magno, San Palmacio, San Paciente, San Feliciano, and Santos Zenón and companions and of the Holy Virgins and Martyrs Úrsula, Victoria and Pacifica.
The relics were enclosed with three grains of incense, in a gilded silver box, Urquinaona sealing the red cords that surround it with that of his shield. This urn remained in his oratory until five in the afternoon on November 25, 1871. At that time, the members of the Cathedral Chapter went in procession to the Episcopal Palace in the Plaza de Santa Ana, preceded by the interns of the Conciliar Seminary.
Among the relics that the cathedral guarded, those of the martyrs San Pío, San Máximo, San Magno, San Palmacio, San Paciente, San Feliciano and San Zenón were chosen; and of the Holy Virgins and Martyrs Úrsula, Victoria and Pacifica
The Prelate dressed in a great cloak carried the relics to the seat arranged in the atrium of the temple. There a platform of carpets and seats was formed, presided over by the armchair that in its corresponding throne it would occupy to be covered the next day. Later they went to the choir to celebrate matins in honor of the martyrs, whose relics were left in the care of a dignity, a canon, a beneficiary and four seminarians.
All that must be said that among the deepest respect of the people, it was used by some opponents of Urquinaona. They said that their initial intention to place the ceremony on November 19 – the day of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary – was due to the bishop’s intention to ingratiate himself with the expatriate Elizabeth II, in case she returned from exile.
The following day, Sunday, November 26, 1871, the relics were brought back from the palace and the consecration ceremony began, which began with the recitation of the Penitential Psalms and which, being an act of such magnitude, was reviewed by the Bulletin with all luxury of details, since being behind closed doors by prescription of the ceremonial, they wanted to leave details of what happened and not contemplated.
The triple external sprinkling of the entire temple, the bishop’s calls with the staff to the door until the third time he penetrated, the door being closed again.
The assistants could not see what happened and the temple was consecrated: the solemn invocation of the Divine Spirit and of all the Saints through the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and the Litanies; the bishop’s plea to God so that he deigns to visit the place and depute angels for their custody, forming a cross first, two later, and three last, asking that the place be blessed, sanctified and consecrated by the Lord; the inscription of the Greek and Latin alphabets in the ash spread across the pavement forming a cross; the blessing of salt, ash, and wine to infuse them into the water that would be used for the sprinkling and would serve to knead and sprinkle when blessing the mixture with which the slab of the sepulcher prepared on the altar for the relics would be affirmed: the impression of the sign of the cross at the top and bottom of the front door; the signs and the seven sprinkles on the altar with the water; the three sprinkles with water on the interior walls of the cathedral at different heights; that of the pavement in the shape of a cross, from the main door and from one side wall to the other and the one that at the end is made to the four cardinal points.
After all this, Bishop Urquinaona went out to the front door, took the relics, and carried them inside.
After the reading of phrases and decrees related to the respect that sacred places deserve, the anointing of the main door with the Holy Chrism was performed and it was opened to give way to the clergy and the people.
When the procession arrived at the presbytery, the ritual was carried out for the placement of the relics and Urquinaona himself put the mixture and the stone while pronouncing different biblical fragments: “Under the altar of God I heard the voices of those who had been killed who said ; Why don’t you come with our blood? Wait a bit until the number of your brothers is completed; the bodies of the saints are buried in peace, but their names live in perpetual eternities.
Then he incensed the altar, first in the shape of a cross twice and then six times circling it, alternating with two anointings with the oil of the catechumens and one of the holy Chrism made on the altar table, while a priest surrounded him incensing him without cease. Finally, pouring catechumens oil on the altar table and chrism spread them over the entire surface.
Upon arrival, the anointing of the twelve crosses was carried out on the walls of the Church, three on each wall, saying when the cross was formed: “Let this temple be sanctified and consecrated: in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit for honor. of God, of the glorious Virgin Mary, of all the saints in the name and memory of Santa Ana ».
Then, the grains of incense, and the call to the Spirit to finish the consecration around one o’clock in the afternoon on that Sunday that marks 150 years today.
As the researcher Sebastián Jiménez Sánchez outlined, all this was reflected and perpetuated in a marble tombstone enclosed in a gilded wooden frame, which reads: «Excmo. and last. Bishop José María Urquinaona y Bidot, bishop of the Canary Islands, consecrated this Holy Cathedral Church in honor of Santa Ana, on November 26, 1871 and set the anniversary feast of its Dedication on the 26th of the same month ».
Under it, a red cross was placed, painted on the wall, to further enhance this event, as well as a small metal arm to hold a candle lit on the day of its anniversary, on which the cathedral bells were to ring. “To communicate joy to the city.”
In 1971, the diocese celebrated with equal or greater emphasis on ceremony the centenary of the consecration, involved as they were at that time in the conciliar reforms of the bishopric of Infantes Florido.
With this idea in mind, different activities were projected, ranging from a concentration of the parishes of the Diocese, a concelebrated Mass in the Cathedral and the blessing and inauguration of the works that in those days were going to begin on the occasion of the installation of the new table. -altar of the Sacrifice; works that implied a special modification of the current structure of the lower presbytery, which would allow the celebration of the Eucharist for the people; project written by the architects Ignacio Blanco and Luis Alemany Orella.
The consecration of the Cathedral of Santa Ana left a special feeling of recovery of solemnities in the soul of the Canaries of a century and a half ago and served, like the pilgrimage to Teror of 1877, to help the people overcome a certain morass with that began the nineteenth century.
This consecration would be followed by those of the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pino de Teror carried out in 1914 prior to its proclamation as Patroness of the Diocese and that of the temple of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in 1922, soon to be a century of it. .
* José Luis Yánez Rodríguez is an Official Chronicler of Teror.