Spanish version

Virgen de la Paloma, August 15th

The church

Virgen de la Paloma façadeThe church of the Virgen de la Paloma (Virgen of the Dove) is located at calle de la Paloma number 19.

The church was built by Lorenzo Alvarez Capra and Dimas Rodriguez Izquierdo in 1912. The real name is parish of San Pedro el Real, Until 1891 this parish was in the church of what we know now as San Pedro el Viejo. They changed its name in order to avoid mistakes, but it was not necessary as everybody knows the new parish as church of the Virgen de la Paloma.

Around the altar we can see several stained glass windows with the coat of arms of the people who gave money to built the church.

In 1978 it was redesigned.

The Dove

In this area were some barnyards belonging to the nuns of San Juan de la Penitencia. Virgen de la Paloma paintingThere was a painting of the Virgen de Maravillas. When this building was taken to another place a dove flew above it the whole time. The dove was from the barnyard and this is why the street got its name.

Isabel Tintero and the painting

In the last years of the XVIIIth century a very pious woman lived in Madrid. She was Isabel Tintero and lived in calle de la Paloma.

One day some children were playing with a painting of the Virgen de la Soledad. Isabel saw them and went immediately to take the picture. She gave the children some coins. The painting was cleaned and restored and she put it in the entrance to her house.

balcony with typical mantillasOn the right of the altar there is a door which leds us to a little room, where we can see a painting of the moment when she is buying the painting.

Very soon the painting became very popular and people thought that the Virgen was miraculous. There were so many people that came to adore the painting, that Isabel´s house was soon overcrowded.

In 1796 she asked for a chapel to be built, but soon it also became toosmall and the church was built.

Some people think, that on the painting we can see the portrait of a nun, but nobody knows for sure. Also the author of the painting is unknown.

Isabel Tintero is buried in the church under the painting of the Virgen.

Fiesta and firemen

The day of the Virgen de la Paloma is on August 15th.Isabel Tintero buying the painting

In the morning there are several masses and at aout 14:00 the painting is taken down by a fireman.

In the afternoon, at about 20:00 the painting is put on a carriage and a procession passes through the streets of this area.

At Puerta de Toledo there is usually an exhibition by the firemen.

Many people think that the Virgen de la Paloma is the saint patron of Madrid, because she is so popular, but the saint patron is the Virgen de la Almudena.

balconies during the fiestaIt is said that king Carlos IV´s wife, Maria Luisa de Parma was a devotee of the painting. Once one of her children was very sick and she prayed to the Virgen. The child got well. Since then it is a custom that parents bring their children to the church to offer them to the Virgen.

The Virgen de la Paloma is the firemen´s patron. It seems that once there was a big fire at Plaza Mayor and it was impossible to extinguish it. Madrilians brought several virgens from different churches to Plaza Mayor asking them for help, but nothing happened until they brought the painting of the Virgen de la Paloma.

Every year a fireman is chosen to take down the painting. This is considered a great honor.

During the fiestas people decorate the streets, dress in typical Madrilian dresses and eat typical food. Many people attend these events although it is the month when most Madrilians take their holidays.

A zarzuela by Breton is dedicated to this event, "La verbena de la Paloma".

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
Sponsored by Keydomo S.L.