An event with participation of military and civilians from Spain and Netherlands

The beautiful tribute to the Patroness of the Spanish Infantry in the Dutch town of Empel

December 8 is the day of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of Spain. This holidays dates back to an event that occurred in 1585.

The Miracle of Empel: this is how the Immaculate Conception came to become the patroness of Spain
Cross of Burgundy: origin and history of the oldest of the flags of Spain

In December of that year, the Spanish soldiers of the Tercio Viejo de Zamora found themselves surrounded in Empel, a town that today is part of the Netherlands, after the Dutch rebels opened the dikes and the water flooded the entire area.

When everything seemed lost, a Spanish soldier found a panel with the image of the Immaculate Conception, surely hidden by local Catholics to keep it safe from the image destruction campaign unleashed by the Calvinists. When everything seemed lost, the Spanish soldiers entrusted themselves to the Immaculate Conception and a miraculous event took place: an icy wind descended the Meuse River and the water froze, in such a way that the Tercio Viejo de Zamora was able to break the siege and defeat the rebels, who fled in terror. This fact has since been known as the miracle of Empel.

Since then, the Immaculate Conception became the protector of the Spanish Tercios and in 1892 she was officially declared Patroness of the Spanish Infantry, a patronage that she had already held de facto for centuries. back. In addition, the Immaculate Conception holds other patronages in the Spanish Army, over the Spanish military chaplains, the Army General Staff, the Military Legal Corps, the Military Pharmacy, the Military Veterinary Corps, the Geographic Service of the Army and Military Offices.

Since 2004, the Spanish Army has had the custom of paying tribute to its patron saint in that Dutch town where the miracle occurred. These are soldiers stationed at the Allied Joint Force Command in Brunssum (HQ JFC Brunssum), based in the Netherlands. This year's tribute took place last Saturday, December 2, in which the Spanish soldiers were accompanied by Spanish and Dutch civilians, belonging to the Association Friends of the Spanish Way of the Tercios, the Retógenes Association of Friends of Military History, the Parish of Saint Landelino (with its parish priest Piet de Jong at the helm) and the Stichting Kapel Oud-Empel, a Dutch association that has assumed the maintenance of this chapel.

Today, the 31 Enero Tercios Association has published the videos of this beautiful tribute, recorded by Enrique Sanmartin. You can see them below. In the first of them, the Infantry Commander of the Spanish Army Javier Pontijas presented the event on the banks of the Meuse River, held in the place where the miracle of Empel occurred:

In the second video we can see Lieutenant General Luis Lanchares Dávila, second chief of HQ JFC Brunssum, addressing a few words to those attending the event, after which Lieutenant Colonel Juan Alberto Rios Pérez, 1st Sergeant Gorka Aparicio Sánchez and Javier Ochoa Sánchez read the facts of the Empel miracle, based on the story prepared by Alberto Vidal Guerrero:

In the third video we can hear the words in Spanish of the General Military Bishop of the Netherlands, Monsignor Everard de Jong, who was accompanied by the Episcopal Vicar of the Ministry of Defense of Spain, Francisco Javier de la Vega Fernandez:

The fourth video offers us the most exciting moment: the singing of the Hymn of the Spanish Infantry and the "Salve Regina", a hymn dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in front of the Empel chapel:

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