It is located to the west of the city of Soria, on the left bank of the Duero River, on a rocky outcrop halfway up the Sierra de Santa Ana. There are data from 1148 that speak of an oratory or small chapel called San Miguel de la Peña because it is dedicated to the archangel San Miguel. The cave to which the hermit San Saturio retired, according to tradition, in the 6th century after the death of his parents and after having distributed his possessions and wealth among the poor, was located within the lands that belonged to the Templar convent of San Polo, It can be assumed that the latter already knew of the existence of the Visigothic hermitage in which this saint would live for more than thirty years, the last of which he would share with his disciple San Prudencio, and of the mortuary remains of the saint. There is little information about this humble hermitage, which was repaired several times during the 16th century until, in 1694 and after the collapse of the temple, the city of Soria agreed to rebuild a church on the site, which was completed in 1704.
This emblematic, poetic and magical set of the San Saturio hermitage, where religion flies its flag, is made up of some natural caves on which a temple was built. The grotto, located at the foot of the hermitage to which San Saturio retired, is said to have had an origin linked to Celtiberian rites, since it is known that the hermits were looking for places for their retreat, full of strength and spirituality. Upon entering the cave, a wide tunnel leads to the Hall of the Cabildo de los Heros, a sort of Water Tribune or agricultural brotherhood where they held their meetings. From here, by a staircase made of ashlar, one can access the chapel of San Miguel, an oratory where Saint Saturn raised a small altar to the Archangel Saint Michael. In this chapel there is also an image of Saint Anne that comes from a chapel that existed on the hill that bears her name.
Continuing the climb up the stairs, a window, the so-called Miracle Window, reminds us that, thanks to the intercession of San Saturio, a child who fell through it saved his life. The exhibition room where you can see panels with information about the hermitage as well as a collection of the capes that decorate the bust of San Saturio on solemn occasions. The house of the Santero, the chapter rooms of the town hall and the canons, the sacristy, where you can admire the Gothic carving of a crucified Christ which is the oldest piece in the hermitage, and the church, baroque, with an octagonal central plant, the altar has a bust of the saint, a reliquary that keeps his remains. Its walls, dome and vault are decorated with frescoes and mural paintings. The hermitage can also be accessed directly by an exterior staircase, which, on reaching its penultimate landing, has a blinded entrance with a small roof that preserves another cave that, according to popular tradition, was once the hermits' cellar.
Since the 16th century the figure of the Santero has been linked to the hermitage. The santero was in charge of taking care of it, keeping it clean, opening it during the day, participating in the saint's procession, assisting and facilitating the priests in their celebration of mass... and traditionally one day a week he would walk around the city with a money box, called the saint's box. In the past, the saint lived in the hermitage and his salary was part in money and part in kind, wheat and barley, his clothing was a kind of habit and most of the time he was bald and had a beard, physically resembling San Saturio himself. Nowadays, although tradition still calls him Santero, the person in charge of maintaining and caring for the hermitage as well as attending to visitors, is a public employee of the town council.
The present day hermitage of San Saturio in the 17th century was still called San Miguel de la Peña, in honour of San Miguel Arcángel, and just as in the sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar, which is in Navarraand is the most important Spanish temple dedicated to this archangel, there is a hole in a wall through which the faithful insert their heads, they say, to heal various ailments. Until a few years ago, this was also done in the hermitage of San Saturio. The head was inserted through a small window in the wall of the place where the relics of the saint appeared because, it was assured, it healed headaches.
Legend has it that, when he was old and had been living in the oratory for many years, the hermit Saturio saw a young man try to swim across the Duero River, which was made dangerous by the current that the river was carrying. The people crowded on the shore took it for granted that Prudencio, that was the boy's name, would drown but what was not their surprise when they saw that the young man reached the shore safely and with his clothes completely dry because the old man Saturio had thrown a cape over him. Prudencio came to the hermit and asked him, in addition to his blessing, to be his disciple and share his retreat with him, which he did until the death of the holy Saturn.
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The N-111 passes through Soria, which connects it with Logroño on the one hand, and on the other, which has now become the A-15, linking it with Medinaceli and the A-2. The national roads N-234 and N-122 also cross Soria and communicate it with Burgos and Calatayud, the first one, and with Valladolid, Aranda del Duero and Tarazona the second one. The Soria bus station, located at 40, Valladolid Avenue, is served by regular public transport buses from the main cities and capitals. Soria has a train station, El Cañuelo, whose service covers the Torralba-Soria line and connects the city of Soria with the Madrid-Barcelona line
We leave Soria through San Agustín street, we pass by the Concathedral and after crossing the Duero Bridge we turn right to continue towards Agreda on the N-234. A few meters ahead we will find a first detour that leads to the Hermitage of San Saturio. This is a walk through hedges that crosses the monastery of San Polo and continues to the Duero riverbank, ideal if we want to take a walk to the very base of the hermitage, where we will also have a small parking area, as we can reach it, if we prefer, in our private vehicle following this same walk. We can also reach the chapel from the other side of the Duero River by following the path that runs along this side of the river, until the pedestrian bridge that allows us to cross the Duero under the watchful eye of the hermitage of San Saturio.
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