Unusual Parishioners

Geese at Barcelona Cathedral

For the past five centuries, the Barcelona Cathedral has housed an unusual guest within its cloisters. As a matter of tradition, the church maintains a gaggle of 13 geese in honor of Barcelona’s patron saint Eulalia, who according to legend died at the age of 13 after enduring 13 different tortures at the hands of roman soldiers. 

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13 Comments on “Unusual Parishioners”

  1. unpackedwriter.com July 16, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    Great photo! Thank you for story of the saint these ducks honor.


  2. UnderAnAfricanSun July 16, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Interesting, I have seen the geese there but didn’t know the story, thanks.


  3. Debra Kolkka July 16, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    What a great story. It doesn’t make any sense at all, but who cares?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian July 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      Yup. It makes even less sense when you learn that a dove allegedly flew from Eulalia’s neck after her head was removed by the Romans.


  4. digger666 July 16, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666.


  5. milesdontmatter July 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    That picture just made my day!


  6. Marie July 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Your photo made me smile. It looks like the goose is auditioning for and Aflac commercial. Is Eulalia the patron saint of geese?


    • Brian July 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      Martin of Tours is the patron saint of geese (yes, there really is a patron saint of geese 😉 ) I’m not 100% certain that anyone even remembers why they’re harboring geese in Eulalia’s honor. The most I can glean from the church is that it is done out of tradition. How it started, or why, seems like a bit of a mystery.


  7. Jason July 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    Love the photo Brian. Did you have the idea that, as geese are inquisitive, one may look at the camera, and so waited for it or were you framing the shot of the geese and church when this one decided to photo bomb the shot? Either way it is a classic 👍


    • Brian July 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi Jason. I waited, crouched, contorted and waited a bit more to get this shot. Although I like the story that he photo bombed me better. :-O


  8. Ship's Cook July 17, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    I don’t know about the geese at Barcelona, but in the UK geese (along with many other water birds) were classed as fish by the church and therefore could be eaten of a Friday according to Catholic tradition. Naturally every monastery had a flock of geese


  9. maryshoobridge July 18, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    The cathedral at Wells in Somerset has a flock (?) of swans who pull a cord to ring a bell when they want food. Love the geese – the one in the foreground looks like he is just about to attack!


    • Brian July 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      We somehow missed the ones in Wells. 😦


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