The Cathedral of Barcelona has an official name; Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Barcelona’s huge Gothic cathedral, La Seu, is the third church to stand on this site.
The 4th-century original (partly visible in the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat) was flattened in Al-Mansur’s raid in 985; the second, a Romanesque church built from 1046 to 1058 by Ramón Berenguer I, only a doorway remains.
Inside the church, you will find the Sepulchres of Count Ramón Berenguer I (left) and his third wife, Almodis de la Marche (right).
Count Ramon Berenguer I was the founder of the Romanesque cathedral which was later replaced by the current Gothic building.
In 1298, Jaume II began the current church.
The church is dedicated to Eulalia, a 13 year old local girl who refused to accept Roman emperor Diocletian’s demand to recant her her faith in Christianity.
She was subjected to severe torture by the Roman army; as a result of the torture she endured, Eulalia died on February 12, 303.
Diocletian’s retaliation was 13 forms of torture (in accordance with her age); the young Great Martyr put in a barrel, studded with internal spikes, and rolled down from the top of one of the hills. This was followed by decapitation.
Inside the secluded Gothic Cathedral’s cloisters, you’ll find a pond with 13 white geese in the Fountain of the Geese (Font de les Oques), to represent this torture. The Cloisters were completed in 1448.
The young virgin-Christian is considered the heavenly patroness of the city.
It is traditionally believed that she was tortured on an EX shaped cross; always depicted with this cross as the instrument of her martyrdom. Below you can see a relief of Eulalia in the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia. A street called ‘Baixada de Santa Eulalia’ (Santa Eulàlia’s descent), in the heart of the Gothic quarter is where they rolled her in the barrel.
Watch my video to see inside the Cathedral. You can also see the geese in my video:
Here’s Saint Eulalia’s Crypt designed by the Mallorcan Jaume Fabre, who was in charge of the cathedral works from 1317 to 1339. The shallow vault is held in place by an enormous keystone. The crypt holds the relics of the co-patroness of Barcelona, Santa Eulàlia, who lies in a beautiful 14th-century alabaster sarcophagus, attributed to Pisan sculptor Lupo de Francesco, a follower of Giovanni Pisano.
Look for the crypt under the high altar, where the relics of St Eulalia repose. The scenes on her tomb show the 13 means of torture, including being thrown naked into a vat of starving fleas, and an attempted seduction by the handsome son of the Roman commander.
Nothing could sway her, so her torturers lopped off her breasts and crucified her on an X shaped cross. Thirteen, (her age when all this happened), is Eulàlia’s special number: to gain her protection at sea, a mariner was obliged to visit her tomb 13 Fridays in a row.
Santa Eulalia’s Festival (above), Celebrating the bravery of Saint Eulalia (below). She died on the 12th of February in the year 303, and on this date the main celebrations of the festival take place.
A pretty pavilion in the Cloister, holds the Fountain of Sant Jordi, with a figure of St. George slaying the dragon.
Barcelona Cathedral’s chancel keystone below, depicts Saint Eulalia on a starry background and flanked by the coat of arms of Ramon Berenguer I.