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The Obanos mystery

The Obanos mystery

At the end of the first millennium it was tradition to hear stories form the troubadours, and it was this way that Felisa, daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine (France), heard the news of the existence of the tomb of St. James and how there was a pilgrimage to reach it.

Felisa was a wealthy girl, had always lived protected and dedicated to the typical activities of a person in such a class in the middle ages; learning poems, songs and sewing most of the workday.

After hearing the news the curiosity to travel to that destinations grew on her and started preparing her entourage to do her pilgrimage. As expected, her father and her brother Guillen, opposed as outlandish adventure, but still she did no relinquish the idea, as her desire to do the pilgrimage was stronger, so she was ready to leave behind a life of luxury, abundant food and tranquility.

Her family insisted about the dangers on the way, but she ignored them all and left with his entourage towards Compostela. On the way she saw all the misery, poverty and disease that existed.

On the way back after visiting the tomb of the Holy Apostle, she decided she wanted to live in servitude, as being on the way had completely changed her way of understanding life. She decided to stay in the hamlet of Amocain in Egües Valley, near Pamplona, and worked the land, looked after the animals and did all the other required farmhouse tasks.

As time passed only her entourage returned and her brother Guillen got worried, so he decided to look for her. He asked for her on all the towns and villages on the way, until he located her in that hamlet. He tried to persuade her to return to the castle and her life of wealth and pleasures. He insisted she was throwing away her future and that what she was doing was madness.

Guillen saddened by the decision of her sister infuriated and got enraged, he momentarily lost his sanity and murdered his sister Felicia with an accurate cut on her throat. Realizing how far his anger had gone, he regretted the murder of his sister and he heads to the tomb of Santiago to find forgiveness for his mortal sin.

The locals buried Felicia in Amocain, they were full of anger and pain for what had happened and to their surprise a few days later a flower sprouted from her grave. They decided to open the grave and they were amazed when they realize the flower sprang from her mortal wound, they believed this action was miraculous and holy.

Local villagers from Amocain built an oak ark where they laid Felisa ‘s body and put it inside the church. The next day the ark appeared in the middle of a field. They tried raising the ark to return it to the church but it was impossible, they couldn´t move it. They informed the priest and he ordered to bring a few mules to transport the body of Felicia. When the mules arrived, surprisingly the coffin became very light and they where able to move it.

The mules moved slowly until the reached Labiano, a town in the valley of Aranguren, next to the church of St. Paul. Today this church is  called St. Paul and St. Felisa, as this lady, the daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine was buried here.

After his return from Santiago, Guillen decided to live as a hermit in the hermitage dedicated to Saint Mary in Arnotegui, which is located near the village of Obanos. He dedicated his life to the pilgrims, charities and the Virgin until his death, and was proclaimed as a Saint by the locals.

Today this legend is well known thanks to the events held every two years in Obanos. With popular representations called “The Mystery of Obanos ” and the writings from priest Santos Beguiristain from 1962 titled ” Sacramental Act of the Martyrdom of St. Felicia and penance of San Guillermo “.



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