Hermitage of San Roque

The chronicles of Bendicho attest to an event that occurred in 1624. Apparently “claps” attributed to San Roque could be heard at night. The strange phenomenon was later interpreted by the inhabitants of these lands as a terrible herald of the increase in infant mortality that would take place shortly afterwards.

In the past, the Holy Christ of Peace entered in procession to this hermitage, on Good Friday, before the veneration of the inhabitants of Benimagrell. The Holy Face visited the hermitage in 1989.

The remains of the philanthropist rest in the hermitage Mrs. Josefina Campos and her husband Mr. José Minguilló. In 1917, this lady built a small convent of Carmelite Sisters for girls with few resources in her summer residence in Benimagrell. In addition, the complex had a school and a chapel dedicated to San José. After her death, she and her husband were buried in the convent chapel. In 1966, due to the construction of the N-332 highway, the property was demolished. For this reason the bodies were exhumed and taken to the hermitage of San Roque, where they were buried without any tombstone. The sad circumstance occurs that in her will, Mrs. Campos had requested that her grave be marked with engraved letters so that time would not destroy them.

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The temple is dedicated to San Roque, but in the past it also shared patronage with San Sebastián. It houses numerous interesting elements such as remains of an ancient fresco, the image of the Christ of Providence and the head of an ancient image of Saint Joseph. During the Spanish Civil War, the relic of Saint Joseph was desecrated while it was in the convent of the Carmelite Sisters, a nearby convent that disappeared in the 1960s. In addition, the hermitage had a gilded altarpiece in the 17th century that the Burgunyo family renovated, and interesting elements that were lost during the aforementioned conflict.

The building has a single main nave. It is divided into three sections separated by large ashlar arches and cross vaults, which rest on the heads of angels. Marian anagrams and the cross of Jaume I decorate the keystones of the arches.

The façade of San Roque is simple. It has a cross in relief on the door lintel, above which there is an opening closed by a modern stained glass window and a belfry at the top with a bell. In 1716, works were carried out in the temple as an inscription indicates. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, a simple lateral body in neoclassical style was added. It has received several renovations and restorations, especially in 1986 and 2012. These works were intended to return the hermitage to its original state. In front of the temple there is a monolith crowned by a metal cross, similar to the one we can find in the Plaza de la Cruz. Next to the monastery of the Holy Face there was another cross with similar characteristics.

It is believed that the hermitage of San Roque could have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary after the Christian conquest. There are Marian anagrams in the vaults that indicate this possibility. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the majority of Christianized mosques were consecrated to the Virgin, since kings like Jaume I felt great devotion to Mary.