In 887, theCount Vifredfounded a monastery in the Pirenean region of Catalonia,around which a village developed almost immediately, called even today “Saint John of the Abbesses”(“San Juan of the Abadesas”). Here a crucifix is preserved with a Host, kept intact since 1251, embedded in the forehead of the statue of Jesus.
In 1251 some artistic works in wood were done in the church of the monastery, depicting the deposition of Jesus from the Cross, with the figures of Jesus and His Mother Mary, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Saint John the disciple Jesus loved, and the two thieves.
These beautiful statues, saved from the destruction of the 1936 Spanish Civil War,cause great emotion in many people because of their expression. Jesus’ head especially, is impressively beautiful.
When the statue was carved the artist made a depression in Jesus’ forehead, approximately two and a half inches in diameter, with the idea of preserving the Eucharist in it. In 1251 someone put a consecrated Host there, but the memory of this was lost in time.
Only in 1426, while working to restore the statues, the cavity in the forehead of the crucifix was discovered, sealed by a small silver plaque. Inside, wrapped in a white linen cloth, the Host consecrated in 1251 was found, totally uncorrupted. Since then, that Host, known as “The Most Holy Mystery of Saint John of the Abbesses”, is adored and visited by numerous pilgrims.