Orihuela revives an old ritual for the arrival of its new bishop

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Orihuela revives old ritual for the arrival of its new bishop
ORIHUELA CATHEDRAL: Final destination for new bishop on February 12 Photo credit: Joanbanjo

TRADITION requires Jose Ignacio Munilla, Orihuela-Alicante’s new bishop, to enter Orihuela on a white donkey.

Munilla will enter the city on February 12 in accordance with a custom that goes back to 1605 after lunching on Arroz y Costra (Rice with a Crust) in Cox and passing through Callosa and Redovan before visiting the San Anton chapel.

Here the new bishop will be provided with a white donkey and ride through the Palmeral palm forest into Orihuela via the Puerta de la Olma gate.

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On arriving at the old entrance to the city, the mayor is required to ask, “Who goes there?” to which Munilla should reply, “The bishop of Orihuela.”

He will then dismount, pray at the altar installed for the occasion and walk in procession to the cathedral.

According to diocese sources, Munilla intends to complete the traditional ritual although the Cambiamos party is demanding that Orihuela city hall should neither organise the event nor pay for it.


“Orihuela is the host and will welcome the bishop,” declared Fiestas councillor Mariola Rocamora.  “It could not be otherwise.”

Meanwhile, city hall is desperately seeking a white donkey which sources said is proving difficult.  Neither will it come cheap, as city hall paid €2,000 to hire the donkey that carried Munilla’s predecessor Jesus Murgui 10 years earlier.


Linda came to Spain to live when she was 24, just over 52 years ago, and her husband is Spanish. She began writing for English-language local newspapers in the mid-1970s and hasn’t stopped since! She leads a Spanish life, which she believes is vital when conveying the news to English-speaking residents, and along the way she produced two editions of Expand Your Spanish, helping English-speakers to enlarge their knowledge of the language. She was excited to be in at the birth of the Euro Weekly News in 1999 and is still passionately writing for the paper 22 years later.

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