The legend of Nunilo and Alodia, the saints of Adahuesca, is closely linked to the parish as it proclaims that it was the site of their home. It is said to have stood in the spot now occupied by the pretty Baroque chapel dedicated to the same saints. The well housed inside the church, whose waters are famous for performing miracles, is rumoured to be the same source that once served the saints.

Legend says that Nunilo and Alodia were born in the 9th century of a Muslim father and a Christian mother. Although the law demanded that they followed the Muslim faith, their education was Christian. Following the death of their parents, they remained in the care of their father’s brother, who tried to persuade them to embrace the Muslim religion. Seeing that the brothers firmly maintained their faith, he denounced them to the governor of Alquézar who imprisoned them. They were later reported to the Muslim governor of Huesca and finally, on the 22 October 851, they were decapitated. 

Their bodies were abandoned for vermin to devour, but a miraculous light prevented any animal from touching them. Their bodies were dropped into a well and the waters soon began to be known for their curative powers.
The worship of the saint’s relics, whether based on fact or fiction, represented one of the strongest beliefs of the medieval era. The divine favour that the saints enjoyed in life, ensured that their remains held a miraculous power for the faithful, and because of this there was a fervent passion to own them. 

The survival of many churches and abbeys of that era depended on their power to attract donations and alms, so it was crucial to have relics of greater importance than their neighbours.
This explains why, a few years after the brothers’ death, the queen of Navarra sent one of her priests to the region to claim the relics for the monastery in Leire. He succeeded and returned with the remains of Saints Nunilo and Alodia, since which time the relics have been worshipped within a magnificent ivory reliquary.

 

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  • Adahuesca. Nunilo y Alodia

 

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