The 300th anniversary of the Virgin statue in the beautiful El Sanctuario del Saliente in Albox will be commemorated by a special Jubilee Year authorised by the Vatican.
The request for a special anniversary to mark the occasion was raised by the Bishop of Almería, monsignor Adolfo Gonzalez Montes, and permission was last week granted by the Holy See. The Jubilee Year will run from September 8 2016 until September 8 2017.
Although the building itself, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the east of Andalucía, dates from 1769, the anniversary is of the important statue which the building was built to house. The albojenses traipse up there once a year to pay homage – it’s the closest thing to the romería de Sevilla you’ll find round here.
Called the mouth watering Nuestra Señora del Buen Retiro de los Desamparados del Saliente (Our Lady of the good rest for the waifs and strays of the Saliente) it is an unusual XVIII century baroque carving 60 centimetres high depicting the Virgin Mary, two angels, the moon and a dragon.
Carved out of Juniper wood, it uses symbols from the Apocalypse iconographic movement set into the Immaculate Conception sculpture tradition of the time.
The announcement of the Jubilee Year is expected to increase tourism to this popular retreat.