Raymond of Fitero

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Saint Raymond of Fitero
Born ?
Died 1163 AD
Ciruelos, Toledo, Spain
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized cult approved in 1719 [1]
Feast March 15; [1] February 1 [2]

Saint Raymond of Fitero (also known as Ramon Sierra, [1] Spanish : San Raimundo de Fitero) (*? - †Ciruelos, 1163) was a monk, abbot, and founder of the Order of Calatrava.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Ciruelos Village in OHiggins, Chile

Ciruelos is a Chilean village located southeast of Pichilemu, Cardenal Caro Province. In 1899, it had very few inhabitants, a free school, and a post office.

Monk religious occupation

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.


His birthplace is unknown; Saint-Gaudens (France), Tarazona (Aragon), and Barcelona (Catalonia) have all claimed to be the saint's birthplace.

Saint-Gaudens, Haute-Garonne Subprefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

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France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Tarazona Municipality in Aragon, Spain

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As a young man, Raymond felt a religious vocation, and became a canon of the new cathedral at Tarazona, established after King Alfonso I of Aragon reconquered the historic city from the Moors in 1119.

<i>Reconquista</i> Medieval Christian extended conquest of Muslim areas in the Iberian Peninsula

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Moors medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.

Across the Pyrenees mountains, at Escaladieu Abbey in Gascony, Raymond became a monk of the Cistercian Order, which had been founded relatively recently (in 1098) and which accepted many former knights as members. When King Alfonso VII of Castile supported the order's extension into Spain, Raymond joined abbot Durando (a/k/a Durandus, Durand) and other monks and established a new monastery near the Ebro River at Nienzabas (Niencebas), between Calahorra (reconquered from the Moors in 1045) and Tudela (which Alfonso I had recaptured from the Moors in 1114 and was still subject to raids). At Durando's death, fellow monks elected Raymond (who had been prior) his successor. The monks then moved across the Ebro to strategic Castejón, Navarre, and finally built their new monastery at a spot named Fitero (Castellón de Fitero), situated slightly up the Alhama river from Castejón along the frontier between Castile's La Rioja region and the Kingdom of Navarre. They called their new monastery the Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Fitero.

Pyrenees Range of mountains in southwest Europe

The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between Spain and France. Reaching a height of 3,404 metres (11,168 ft) altitude at the peak of Aneto, the range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea.

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Escaladieu Abbey was a Cistercian abbey located in the French commune of Bonnemazon in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Its name derives from the Latin Scala Dei. The abbey was founded in 1142 and became an important pilgrimage stop on the Way of St. James en route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The abbey is situated at the confluence of the Luz and the Arros rivers near the Château de Mauvezin.

Gascony former France territory

Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined, and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; by some they are seen to overlap, while others consider Gascony a part of Guyenne. Most definitions put Gascony east and south of Bordeaux.

When King Alfonso VII died in 1158, Raymond went to Toledo so that the new king, Sancho III of Castile, could confirm the privileges that his father had granted the new monastery. In Toledo Raymond's companion, former knight Father Diego Velásquez, learned that Christian leaders planned a major offensive south against the Moors. Furthermore, Sancho promised to grant the strategic town of Calatrava (Calatrava la Vieja) on the Guadiana River to anyone who promised to defend it from the Moors, who might themselves be planning a sally north to test the new Christian king. His father had reconquered Calatrava in 1147, and it was on the road from Toledo (reconquered in 1085) to Córdoba and Moorish strongholds.

Toledo, Spain City in Castile–La Mancha, Spain

Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain; it is the capital of the province of Toledo and the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage.

Sancho III of Castile King of Castile

Sancho III, called the Desired, was King of Castile and Toledo for one year, from 1157 to 1158. He was the son of Alfonso VII of León and Castile and his wife Berengaria of Barcelona, and was succeeded by his son Alfonso VIII. His nickname was due to his position as the first child of his parents, born after eight years of childless marriage.

Calatrava la Vieja castle

Calatrava la Vieja is a medieval site and original nucleus of the Order of Calatrava. It is now part of the Archaeological Parks of the Community of Castile-La Mancha. Situated at Carrión de Calatrava, Calatrava during the High Middle Ages was the only important city in the Guadiana River valley. It thus guarded the roads to Cordova and Toledo.

Calatrava la Vieja Calatrava Vieja coracha.jpg
Calatrava la Vieja

Encouraged by Father Diego, Raymond took up the challenge, and Sancho granted them the privilege of defending Calatrava. With the support of the Archbishop of Toledo, Raymond organized an army that successfully prevented a Moorish attack on Calatrava that year. [1]

This success prompted Raymond to found the military Order of Calatrava, organized along Cistercian [3] lines. Raymond then moved some fighting monks south from the relatively safe Fitero in Navarre to Calatrava in what became the Castilla-La Mancha province. He himself retired to Ciruelos, near Ocaña, where he died in 1163. On September 26, 1164 Pope Alexander III recognized the new military order, which played a crucial role in the Reconquest.

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