The new Bishop of the Orihuela-Alicante Diocese, José Ignacio Munilla, has complied with the centuries-old tradition of crossing the Puerta de la Olma on the back of a white donkey.

On a historic day for Orihuela, in front of hundreds of people, from across the municipality, the mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, welcomed the newly appointed Bishop at the city gates.

Earlier, Bishop José Ignacio Munilla had arrived at the hermitage of San Antón where he was met by councillors, Sabina Goretti Galindo, Dámaso Aparicio, Víctor Valverde and Mariola Rocamora.

After a short prayer, the Bishop got on the white mule, Bartola, and escorted by members of the council, headed for the city’s historic gate.

At the Puerta de la Olma, the mayor of Orihuela was waiting, as the two shared another historic moment. Emilio Bascuñana asked “Who is at the city gate?” To which the bishop replied ‘It is the Bishop who enters Orihuela’. Having said this, the doors were opened, to the applause and cheers of the public, and he was welcomed into the city by the mayor.

Next, the procession was flanked by the ‘Elders’ of the Cathedral as it moved towards the Calle de Arriba. At the Holy Week Museum, he was greeted by the Cofradías and brotherhoods. Next, in Calle Alfonso XIII he was welcomed by the representatives of the Association of Moors and Christians Festivals ‘Santas Justa Rufina’.

The party then moved to the Cathedral where José Ignacio Munilla formally accepted the appointment of Bishop of the Orihuela-Alicante Diocese.