There was once in the city of Toledo, Spain a soldier, Diego Martinez, and a young woman, Ines de Vargas, who were in love.
Diego was called to fight in Flanders, so, at Ines’ insistence, before a crucifix known as The Christ de la Vega, Diego solemnly swore to marry her on his return.
With Diego gone, Ines felt lost and alone, and often sought solace at the foot of the Christ who had witnessed their solemn engagement.
Years went by, Ines always on the lookout. One day, at the head of a returning cavalry, she beheld her fiancé. She screamed and rushed to meet him, but he feigned not to know her, and passed on.
Successful in war and prowess, he had not only been promoted to captain, but had been knighted by the King, and no longer considered Ines a worthy prospect.
Tears being of no avail, the spurned young woman took her case before the governor of Toledo, Don Pedro Ruiz de Alarcon, claiming that Diego Martinez had sworn to marry her. But the captain denied such a vow, and with no witnesses, the case was about to be dismissed when Ines cried:
“Indeed, there was a witness–the Christ the la Vega!”
There was a stunned silence. But, this was Catholic Spain, and finally, judge, Diego, Ines, court and the curious repaired to the Basilica of St. Leocadia* , which housed the carved Christ.
Kneeling between Diego and Ines before the life-sized crucifix, Don Pedro held up a Bible and asked if He, Jesus Christ, Sovereign Lord, would indeed swear to the couple’s solemn vow to wed each other.
In the dead silence that ensued, all present heard a voice coming from the statue,
At the same time, to the astonishment of all, the statue’s right arm, descended, its hand coming to rest on the Bible which the judge held up.
So struck were Diego and Ines, that giving up all earthly plans, they entered religious life.
As to the Christ de la Vega, to this day, His right arm remains in the same position, and, some affirm, His mouth slightly open in the utterance of His witness.
By A.F. Phillips
*Now the Ermita del Cristo de la Vega