Pilgrims attending World Youth Day in Madrid next year will see a monstrance from the 15th century that is known as “the finest example of Spanish silverwork of all time.” The Monstrance of Arfe will used during a time of Eucharist adoration led by Pope Benedict XVI at the international youth gathering.
According to a press release, the monstrance “is popularly known for being used during the Corpus Christi procession each year in Toledo. It measures almost 9 feet tall and is made of gold and silver.”
Francisco Portela, professor of Art History at the Compultense University of Madrid, said the monstrance “is the finest example of Spanish silverwork of all time” and underscored that WYD would be a worthy occasion to bring the masterpiece to Madrid.
Juan Sanchez, the dean of the Cathedral of Toledo, where the monstrance is kept, said, “We were pleased to allow the monstrance to be used for WYD, knowing that it will be used for such a great purpose.”
The origin of Eucharistic monstrances dates back to the 13th century with the establishment of the feast of Corpus Christi. They were developed primarily in Flanders and Germany, where the Arfe family had its origins.
The famous Monstrance of Arfe is the masterpiece of German silversmith Henry of Arfe, who finished it in 1524 after nine years of work.
The Eucharistic adoration led by the Holy Father will take place on August 20 at the Cuatro Vientos Airfield, where the vigil will be held on Saturday night. Young people will be able to “contemplate and admire a work of art that is unique in the world and is being used as its creators imagined, and they will rediscover the value of art in the liturgy,” organizers said.