As with the rest of Spain, Tenerife is largely Roman Catholic. However, the practice of other religions and denominations has increasingly expanded on the island due to tourism and immigration, as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Evangelicalism, Judaism and Afro-American religion.
An important Roman Catholic festival is the celebration of the feast day associated with the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the Canary Islands, who represents the union of the Guanche and Spanish cultures. The Guanches became devoted to a Black Madonna that Christian missionaries from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura left on a beach near the present-day Villa Mariana de Candelaria, which gave rise to the legends and stories associated with the Virgin. These legends fueled the cult of the Virgin and the pilgrimages to Candelaria that have existed to this day on the island. Another cult to the Virgin Mary exists in the form of Our Lady of Los Remedios (la Virgen de Los Remedios), who is patron of the Roman Catholic diocese of Tenerife (Diócesis Nivariense).
Principal Roman Catholic places of worship on the island include:
- The Basilica of Candelaria (in Candelaria): The place where the image of the Virgin of Candelaria can be found, this sanctuary is built in neoclassical style, and is visited daily by the parishioners, who visit the Villa Mariana out of devotion to the Virgin.
- The Cathedral of La Laguna (in San Cristóbal de La Laguna): The seat of the Diocese of Tenerife (known as the Diócesis Nivariense, or Nivarian Diocese), the cathedral is a place of devotion for Our Lady of Remedies (la Virgen de Los Remedios). A combination of neo-Gothic and neoclassical architectural elements, it is now being restored and rebuilt.
- Real Santuario del Cristo de La Laguna (in San Cristóbal de La Laguna): Is one of the most important spiritual temples Canaries, this is because inside is venerated miraculous image of the Cristo de La Laguna, which is one of the most revered religious images of the Canary Islands and a symbol of the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
- Principal Parish of Saint James the Great (Parroquia Matriz del Apóstol Santiago): Situated in Villa de Los Realejos, this parish church was the first Christian church built on the island after its conquest by Castilian forces, and is dedicated to Saint James the Great, due to the fact that the conquest was completed on the saint's feast day, that is, 25 July, in the year 1496. It was, along with the Parish of the Conception of La Laguna, one of the first parishes of the island.
- The Church of the Conception of La Laguna (Iglesia de la Concepción de La Laguna): One of the most ancient buildings on Tenerife, its construction was ordered by Alonso Fernández de Lugo. It has been declared a National Historic Monument. Around this church were established the dwellings and framework that formed the nucleus of the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna.
Other important churches include the Church of the Conception in La Orotava (Iglesia de la Concepción); the churches of San Agustín and Santo Domingo in La Orotava; the church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia in Puerto de la Cruz; the church of San Marcos in Icod de los Vinos; the church of Santa Ana in Garachico; and the Church of the Conception (Iglesia de la Concepción) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The first saint of Tenerife was Santo Hermano Pedro de San José Betancurt, born in the town of Vilaflor, Tenerife. His shrine is a cave in Granadilla de Abona, near the coast, where he lived in his youth.
Read more about this topic: Tenerife
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