The Cathedral in Lugo, Spain claims to be the site of perpetual Eucharistic adoration for the last 1,500 years.
The custom of perpetually adoring Jesus in the consecrated Eucharistic host has a long history in the Catholic Church, and some claim it all started in Lugo, Spain.
For many centuries Christians were not able to reserve the Eucharist in their churches, as they were often persecuted and only kept enough hosts to deliver to the sick and homebound.
However, after Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, permanent churches were built, as well as tabernacles to house the consecrated hosts.
In the Roman Rite, a tradition started to develop of exposing the Eucharistic host on the altar and inviting parishioners to stay there praying in shifts before Jesus.
According to local legends and stories, the cathedral in Lugo, Spain, might have been one of the first churches ever to start such a custom. What is even more remarkable is that this custom continues to the present day.
The official website of the Cathedral in Lugo offers this explanation.
In the main chapel of the cathedral of Lugo, the Blessed Sacrament is permanently on display. Since time immemorial, day and night. Represented in the coat of arms of Galicia, it makes the Lugo cathedral a unique example of perpetual adoration of Jesus. It is a unique tradition in the world. For this reason Lugo is known as Lugo Ciudad del Sacramento. The main chapel is the spiritual heart of the cathedral, where its inhabitants go to pray almost continuously.
Author James Monti explains in the book In the Presence of Our Lord, published by Our Sunday Visitor, that in “1615 Lugo’s Bishop Lopez Gallo made a search of his diocesan archives in an effort to discover the origins of this ongoing observance of perpetual Eucharistic adoration, which was universally believed by the inhabitants of the ancient city to date from time immemorial. His investigation yielded records indications a papal privilege being granted for this custom in the sixth century — during the reign of the Suevian King Theodomiro, who converted to Catholicism in the year 550.“
It’s nearly impossible to verify the facts of his investigation, and some historians do not agree with such an early date of Eucharistic adoration.
Regardless, it is evident that adoration started in Lugo at a very early time in the Church and has continued for at least 1,000 years. It is a remarkable testament to the Eucharistic faith of the local people, who pray there because of their belief that Jesus is truly present, under the appearance of bread and wine.