Our Lady of Meritxell

Our Lady of Meritxell (Catalan: Mare de Déu de Meritxell, IPA: [ˈmaɾə ðə ˈðew ðə məɾiˈtʃeʎ]) is an Andorran Roman Catholic statue depicting an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Meritxell is the patron saint of Andorra. The original statue dated from the late 12th century. However, the chapel in which it was housed burned down on September 8 1972, and the statue was destroyed. A replica can be found in the new Meritxell Basilica, designed in 1976 by Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura.

Chapel of Meritxell, Andorra

The Catalan philologist Joan Coromines says that "Meritxell" is a diminutive of merig, from the Latin meridiem (midday in English). Merig is a name used by shepherds to denote a pasture with lot of sun.[1]


Old Sanctuary of Meritxell

In the late 12th century, on January 6, a wild rose in bloom was found by villagers from Meritxell going to Mass in Canillo.[citation needed] It was out of season and at its base was found a statue of the Virgin and Child. The statue was placed in the Canillo church. However, the statue was found under the same wild rose the next day.[citation needed] The statue was taken to the church of Encamp. However, as before, the statue was again found under the same wild rose on the next day. As in similar legends elsewhere, the villagers of Meritxell took this as a sign and decided to build a new chapel in their town after they found an open space miraculously untouched by the winter snows.


Our Lady of Meritxell
Also calledDiada de Meritxell, festivitat de Nostra Senyora de Meritxell
Observed byAndorra
Date8 September
Next time8 September 2023 (2023-09-08)

The feast day of Our Lady of Meritxell is September 8 and the Andorran National Day.[2]

The image is also mentioned in the anthem of Andorra.[3]

"Meritxell" is a relatively frequent female name among Andorran women and other Catalan-speaking women.

Notable persons with the name include:

The hospital, Nostra Senyora de Meritxell Hospital is also named after her.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Meritxell Chapel". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  2. ^ "Our Lady of Meritxell Day", Andorra Turisme
  3. ^ "El Gran Carlemany", National Anthems

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°33′14″N 1°35′25″E / 42.55389°N 1.59028°E / 42.55389; 1.59028