The temple is dedicated to St. Roch, but formerly it also was also dedicated to St. Sebastian. It houses numerous interesting elements such as the remains of an ancient fresco, the image of the Christ of Providence and the head of an ancient image of St. Joseph. During the Spanish Civil War, the relic of St. Joseph was desecrated while it was in the convent of the Carmelite Nuns, a nearby convent that disappeared in the 60s of the twentieth century. In addition, the hermitage had a golden altarpiece in the seventeenth century that was renovated by the Burgunyo family, and interesting elements that were lost during the aforementioned war.
The building has a single main nave. It is divided into three sections separated by large ashlar arches and rib vaults supported on angels’ heads. Marian anagrams and the cross of Jaume I decorate the keystones of the arches.
The facade of Sant Roc is simple. It has a cross in relief on the lintel of the door, on which there is a window closed by a modern stained glass and a bell gable with a bell in the ending. An inscription indicates that in 1716 works were carried out in the temple. Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a simple construction on the side of neoclassical style was added. The hermitage has undergone remodelling and restorations several times, especially in 1986 and 2012. With these works it was intended to restore the hermitage to its original state. In front of the temple there is a monolith crowned by a metallic cross, similar to the one we can find in Plaça de la Creu (Cross Square). Next to the monastery of Santa Faç there was another cross of similar characteristics.
It is believed that the hermitage of Sant Roc could have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary after the Christian conquest. There are Marian anagrams in the vaults that indicate this possibility. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the majority of Christianized mosques were consecrated to the Virgin, since kings like Jaume I felt great devotion for Mary.
Did you know?
Bendicho’s chronicles attest to an event that occurred in 1624. It seems that the inhabitants of Sant Joan heard claps attributed to St. Roch at night. The strange phenomenon was later interpreted by the inhabitants of these lands as the terrible announcement of the increase of child mortality that took place shortly after.
Formerly, the Holy Christ of Peace entered in procession to this hermitage the day of Good Friday, while it was venerated by the inhabitants of Benimagrell. The Santa Faz (Holy Face) visited the hermitage in 1989.
The remains of the philanthropist Josefina Campos and her husband José Minguilló rest in the hermitage. In 1917, this lady had a small convent of Carmelite Nuns for girls with few resources built in her summer residence of Benimagrell. In addition, the complex had a school and a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. After her death, she and her husband were buried in the convent chapel. In 1966, the building was demolished due to the construction of the N-332 road. For that reason, the bodies were exhumed and taken to the hermitage of San Roque, where they were buried without any gravestones. The sad fact is that in her will Campos had asked that her grave was marked with engraved letters so that time would not destroy them.