Lady of Loreto – The Patroness of Aviation

Lady of Loreto

Our Lady of Loreto is the patron saint of pilots, airmen and flight attendants.


The invocation of Our Lady of Loreto as patron saint of aviators is due to a 13th century tradition, according to which in the year 1291, when the crusaders were forced to leave the Holy Land, the house of the Virgin was miraculously transported by angels. Flying from Nazareth to Dalmatia and from there, on the night of December 10th 1294, to a grove of laurel trees (lauretum in Latin, from which the name Loreto was derived) in Ancona, Italy. Pope Benedict XV, by decree of March 24th 1920, declared Our Lady of Loreto: “Principal Patroness to God of all aeronautics”.

Scientific Theory about Lady of Loreto (Courtesy of University of Dayton – Marian Library)

Contrary to the legend that angels brought the Holy House to Loreto there exists another more scientific theory. According to Papal archivist Giuseppe Lapponi, a family by the name of Angeli might have been instrumental in the transfer of the house.

Lapponi related this confidential information on May 17, 1900 to Bishop Landrieux of Dijon. His findings reveal that the Angeli family is a descendent of the Emperor of Constantinople. Chronologically the facts comply with the possibility that in 1291 this family saved the bricks of the Holy House from the Muslim invasion.

This information can be found on page 181 of the collection Chartularium Culinanense. Allegedly, in 1294, Niceforo Angeli sent the bricks to Italy as a wedding gift for his daughter Ithamar (or Margherita).

Ithamar’s wedding to Philip of Angio son of Charles II, King of Naples, took place in October, 1294. The arrival of the Holy House dates to December 10, 1294. During recent excavations beneath the House of Loreto, several hundred coins have been found, two of which are connected to the Angeli family, referring to the transfer of the House of Loreto.

Spanish Air Force and Lady of Loreto

Today we talk about the Madonna of Loreto for Spanish Air Force, on December 7th, 1920, King Alfonso XIII de Borbone, King of Spain from 17th May 1886 to 14th April 1931, placed the Spanish Military Aeronautics (together Naval Aeronautics and Air Force) under patronage of Our Lady of Loreto.

The Base Aérea de Armilla/Armilla Air Base and ALA 78, Helicopter Military School in Armilla AFB, celebrated, as it likes to do, every December 10th, the Virgin of Loreto, this year even including the long-awaited recognition of military and civilian personnel who were honored for their meritorious service.

On 10th december 2022 the representatives of five municipalities on whose lands the Air Base is located, the already Centennial. The majors of Armilla and Las Gabias, the major of Ogíjares and two councilors for Alhendín. The capital was also represented by the deputy major.

They were able to enjoy the event, chaired by the Chief Colonel José Molino Martínez, who had some wonderful words and didn’t forget the military personnel on international missions.

Event guests for Lady of Loreto

An emotional morning of homage to the fallen soldiers attended by the Government Deputy Delegate, Mrs. Inmaculada López, the Development Delegate of the Board Mr. Antonio Ayllón, the Provincial Deputy Doña Adela Álvarez, as well as the Chief Lieutenant General of Madoc D. José Manuel de la Esperanza, together with Generals D. Carlos Castrillo and D. Antonio Cabrerizo, and Colonels D. Francisco Manuel García, Head of the Civil Guard Command, Mr. Federico González-Vico, Deputy Delegate for Defense, as well as representatives of the National Police, with the Provincial Commissioner D. Juan de Dios Piedra.

A day with an important presence of the Granada society, there was also the beloved association “Los Volantones”, and the Real Maestranza de Caballería, businessmen and other institutions and the Air Base personnel, who, as always, made sure that everything went perfectly.

From Armilla AFB: Ramon Martin


Gallery (photos: Ramon Martin):

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