Cristo del Mar Chapel
San Pedro Church in Benicarló, known by all as Cristo del Mar Chapel, is located near the harbour. Cristo del Mar was traditionally an object of profound worship in Benicarló. In fact, legend says that in 1650 a felucco boat from Tunisia arrived on Benicarló beach, and that César Cataldo got off carrying a statue of Christ on the cross. This arrival was described as extraordinary just like the miracles carried out by the holy statue protecting the people when the plague reached the town. The hermitage deteriorated with the passing of time and the movement of the sea until it was left in ruins and then pulled down.
In 1921 the relevant authorities got together and unanimously agreed to build a new chapel, naming a committee to choose the location. The site chosen was occupied by half ruined houses belonging to Juana Arnau, who handed over the properties and also made a donation to buy the rest.
The cost of the chapel was 50,000 pesetas, and the committee, trying to collect funds, started up a voluntary subscription among people from Benicarló, to bring donations, personal loans or just to help by leaving their carts to transport material.
In 1922, the houses where the new hermitage was to be built were pulled down, and in the same year, it was decided that due to the bad state of the Santa María hermitage the statues should be moved or they could end up being buried. The church ceased to be a place of worship and the statues were taken in procession to the parish church.
On 8th December of the same year, the first stone of the church was blessed, and in 1924, work on it was finished. Festivals were organized in honour of the church opening, the streets were decorated and there were parades.
Every year the Holy Christ of the Sea procession takes place. The statue is moved from San Pedro church for the procession on the last Thursday of Lent, and taken to San Bartolomé church, where novena prayers take place. On Palm Sunday, in the evening, there is a procession to return the statue San Pedro church. There are always lots of townspeople as well as visitors at this event, who accompany the statue to the sound of the drums and the town band.