Our Lady of Tortosa

February 5: Dedication of the first Church of Our Lady, by Saint Peter, Tortosa, Italy

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Dedication of the first Church of Our Lady, by Saint Peter, Tortosa, Italy”

The first church dedicated to Our Lady by Saint Peter the Apostle was not actually in Italy, as the good abbot stated, but in the city of Tartus, Syria. The city of Tartus was known as Tortosa to the Crusaders who lived in the region during the time of the Crusades. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa, built in the year 1123 by these Crusaders, still stands on the site of the original sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin that was dedicated by Saint Peter. It is remembered that the Emperor Constantine looked favorably upon the city because of his love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the devotion to her by the faithful at Tortosa. According to tradition, it is the place where St. Peter was ordained.

By all appearances the church of Our Lady was as much of a fortress as it was a church, and indeed there were once towers surrounding the structure, two of which have survived the centuries. The façade of the church, which appears almost Romanesque in style, has five arched window openings that are well above ground level, and there is a centrally located doorway. Once inside, however, the structure looks more like a church, as there are graceful arches, columns and a vaulted ceiling. It is thought by many historians to be the best-preserved structure of a religious nature dating from the time of the crusades.

Our Lady of Tortosa

Since the church doubled as a fortification, the Crusaders were able to hold it even after Tortosa was taken by Saladin in the year 1188. Saladin, who was able to unify the warring Muslim factions, made them into a robust army and won an important battle at Hattin over the Crusaders, capturing nearly all of their holdings, save for those near the coasts. The Knights Templar continued to use the church as a kind of headquarters until the year 1291, when it was also taken.

Once captured by the Mameluke’s, the church was turned into a mosque. Later, under the Ottoman Empire, the church was used as a place of storage. The church was recently renovated, although now it is used only as a museum.

Photo courtesy of Loris Romito

Have A Great Story About This Topic?

Do you have a great story? Have You Visited This Shrine? Share it!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Return to Marian Calendar February

Return to Titles of Mary

Return to Roman Catholic Saints Home Page from Our Lady of Tortosa

Now Available!!

Pelayo king of Asturias

Pelayo, King of Asturias -

Pelayo's resistance initiated the nearly 800-year-long Reconquista to take back his country from the ruthless invader who had conquered his homeland and sought to erase his culture and his faith. His actions would lay the foundations of a Kingdom for Christ that would eventually reach around the world and spread the Catholic faith to millions of souls. Read more...

Please help us continue to bring high quality books to our readers at the lowest possible price! Click the link below! Thank you!

  Now Available!

Catholic Vitality Publications presents . . .

Defenders of Christendom

Brand new by

James Fitzhenry

Now in paperback!

Battles - Honor - Miracles! This book is filled with amazing stories of little-known Catholic heroes presenting spectacles of bravery and valor never exceeded in all the annals of history. read more. . .

Now Available for $18.95

Also available:

Catholic Vitality Publications

Roman Catholic books currently published by Catholic Vitality Publications:

El Cid, God's Own Champion

-the amazing true story of the life of Rodrigo Diaz, El Cid!

Available for only $16.95

St. Fernando III

A Kingdom for Christ

- King St. Fernando III, born 100
years to the month after the death of
the Cid. His life was filled with miracles
and many conquests!

Available now for $26.95

Discounts available for bulk
orders and for bookstore
retail sales! Just contact us