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During the dark times of the Middle Ages, the Vallespir was plagued by fantastic monsters: Simiots, dragons, lions, bears, wolves, plague epidemics and the unleashing of the elements. To ward off bad luck, Father Arnulphe left Arles-sur-Tech in search of a remedy for all these evils.

We could situate this “dark era” between the XNUMXth – XNUMXth century during the reconquest. After Roman times and following the Moorish invasion, towns and villages had been abandoned. They had gradually returned to nature. After the liberation of the lands by Charlemagne the reconquest, the Catalans settled in the valleys that had become wild again and had to face the ferocious beasts that inhabited the mountains.

The quest for the holy relics of Abdon and Sennen

He found listening and comfort with the Sovereign Pontiff who offered him to choose between all the holy relics preciously preserved in Rome. Arnulphe not knowing which Saints would solve his problem, he entered into meditation. Then appeared to him two young men who presented themselves under the name ofAbdon and Sennen, ancient princes of Persia and martyrs in Rome. They told him exactly where their remains were buried in the cemetery of Pontien. They also told him to take them with him to heal the ailments of his people. Arnulphe then organized an expedition and had the digging done on the very spot that had been indicated to him. Perfectly preserved bodies were soon found giving off a sweet floral smell characteristic of holy relics.
Fearing for the safety of the relics on the return trip, he had them placed in a barrel. Then this barrel was put in a large barrel which he had filled with water from the baptistery, the very one where Saint Peter baptized the first Christians and from which a large number of miraculous healings are reported.
The barrel was loaded on board a ship and Arnulphe returned home. He had the barrel loaded onto a mule and began his return to Arles-sur-Tech. During the journey the mule was precipitated and disappeared at the bottom of an abyss. All of Arnulphe's hopes were dashed. Resigned, he continued on his way to the abbey of Arles sur Tech. He soon heard the bells ringing and was amazed to find the mule and its precious load in the village square. The ferocious beasts had fled when the holy relics ofAbdon and Sennen. The holy relics were installed in a side chapel of the abbey from which they only come out for the procession of the patronal feast of Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen on July 30.

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Continue reading tales and legends of holy relics, the Holy Tomb, monsters and fairies of Canigó.