Madrid / The urn with the remains of the playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca is about to be located. The researchers involved in the search hope to find it in the month of July, within the walls of the Our Lady of Sorrows parish in Madrid, where it was deposited in 1902 and disappeared with the Civil War.
In statements to EFE, the head of Spanish Literature at CEU San Pablo University, Ángeles Varela, who is part of the multidisciplinary team in charge of ending a historical investigation (advanced today by ‘El País’), explains that the search began one year, she was paralyzed by the coronavirus and is awaiting a last permit from the Community of Madrid for a georadar to locate the wall where the remains were hidden.
The odyssey of the remains of Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681) began after his death. Six transfers since 1681 in five different places (he repeated in one: the cemetery of the sacramental of San Nicolás) and all because the initial objective was to bury them in the pantheon of Illustrious Men, a project that was never carried out.
The playwright’s urn went from the parish of El Salvador (where it was 160 years old) to the cemetery of the sacramental of San Nicolás, from there to the chapel of the church San Francisco el Grande to return to the sacramental of San Nicolás, and already in the XIX century he moved to the hospital chapel of the congregation of the natural presbyters of Madrid, the congregation to which he belonged for having been born in Madrid.
In 1902, according to Varela, the remains were taken to the new headquarters of his congregation, the current church Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, which was assaulted by the militiamen in 1936 “and burned for two days.”
From the beginning, the remains were in a mahogany and bronze urn and in 1902 they were placed in a chest on the second floor, in a pilaster with a marble chest “and that was what disappeared in 1936.”
“And here, according to Varela, the detective film begins.” The remains were considered missing and in fact there is a tombstone in the church that says that Calderón “was” buried there.
The remains of Calderón de la Barca did not disappear
However, in 1964 a congregational priest of the church revealed, on his deathbed, that Calderón’s remains had not disappeared because they were never in the marble chest, since they had been placed in a niche made in the wall.
And fortunately, says Varela, after the Civil War fire, the church’s walls remained intact.
For this reason, the researchers who have been collecting information for months and who do not question the priest’s confession, will have a georadar in July that will allow the exact location of the remains to be located on the walls.
The command over this georadar will be in charge of the expert Luis Avial, who has joined the multidisciplinary team since his extensive experience. Avial participated in the search for Marta del Castillo and four years ago, in the search for the remains of Miguel de Cervantes.
In declarations to EFE, Varela emphasizes that it is a simple search, neither invasive nor destructive and has advanced that the group of researchers plans to propose that a documentary be made to present a “passionate story that reflects contemporary history” .
And here he underlines that Calderón de la Barca’s own life is exciting in every way: “A soldier, who later became a priest, a winner on stage, the author of ‘Life is a Dream’ that impresses the German romantics, and that is copied by Goethe ”.
In short, he says, Calderón brings it all together, “and to that we add more than two centuries of pilgrimage in the transfer of his remains until the Spanish Civil War.” (June 28, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)
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