The current appearance of the temple stems from 1765, although already in the XIII century (there is a written document from 1245) there is proof of a hermitage in this location. The architecture is baroque in style, both inside and outside. The church is built with cutstones and the ground plan is in the shape of a Latin cross. You can access the church through the porched atrium, with a triangular frontal and semicircular arched hollows on each side. This church is home to the patron saint of Ejea de los Caballeros: the Virgin of the Olive (Virgen de la Oliva).
From the architectural point of view, the most noteworthy element on the inside is the Latin cross-shaped ground plan. Over the transept there is an octogonal cupola, resting on pendentives. These rest their weight on a line of pillars, while the rest of the building’s cover rests on transverse arches and lunette vaults.
There is a well-defined central nave with ample arms stemming from the transept. At both sides of the central nave, you will find two small chapels opened through hollows. The front is flat.
Most of the furniture of this church comes from disentailed ejean convents and from churches and hermitages already gone. Starting from the entrance and following the right side we can see:
- First chapel. An altarpiece by Jose Luzán, in whose workshop was trained Goya, dated in the year 1781 and dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua.
- Second chapel. Here you will find the altarpiece dedicated to Saint Casilda. The wooden polychrome carving, with late rococo influences (XVIII century) is dated in the second half of the XVIII century. There are also two other icons: Saint Quiteria and Saint Anton.
- Right arm of the transept. On the front side of the right arm we find another huge painting by José Luzán. The Inmaculada, 1781, coming from the former convent of the Capuchins. On one side we can also see an altarpiece representing the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús a neoclassic piece from between the XVIII and XIX centuries. The painting of the Virgen de la Caridad (late XVII century) is on the other side.
- Main altar. The main altarpiece has strong neoclassical art influences. It may be dated in the late XVIII century. The titular image, La Virgen de la Oliva, is in the middle. It is a Gothic carving of French-Burgundian style from the XIV century. The name comes from the Cisterciasn Monastery of la Oliva, in Carcastillo (Navarra), where this image was brought from in the year 1600. The friars from la Oliva – we can see two Cistercian saints next to the Virgin: Saint Benito and Saint Bernard- have made their presence in Ejea known since the XII century. They already owned land back then. At the top of the altarpiece is John the Baptist who, along with the Virgin of la Oliva, is one of the two patron saints of Ejea de los Caballeros.
Two paintings on both sides of the main altar represent scenes from the ejean tradition. They were painted by Fraustaquio in the year 1804 and they are: The Battle of Luchán (right) and Moving of the Virgin of la Oliva to Ejea (left). Both paintings represent the structure of the historic neighborhood of Ejea and, also, the existence of some of the fourteen hermitages in our village. On the right side of the altar there is a sculpture dedicated to the Dream of Saint Alejo, from the XIX century, placed on a crystal urn.
- Left arm of the transept. The first thing we will see is the altarpiece of Saint Joseph (neoclassical style and dated between the late XVIII century and early XIX century).
On the front side of the left arm there is a baroque altarpiece from 1726. Dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary, whose carving we can see in the middle, accompanied by Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua on each side. This altarpiece used to be in the church of the former Market Hospital, on Ramón y Cajal street, where the Brotherhood of the Rosary had its headquarters.
The painting of Saint Frances of Rome (XVIII century) is on the left side.
Before we leave the transept area we must stop to raise our eyes and watch the paintings on the four pendentives. Luis Muñoz, the author, painted them between May and October, 1792. These paintings represent the four heroines in the Old Testament: Deborah, Jael, Judith and Esther. The style in these paintings shows an academic classicism.
- Fourth chapel. Altarpiece of Saint Roch (first third of the XVIII century), between Saint Isidore and Saint Christopher. In the attic we see a baroque painting of Elizabeth of Hungary, flanked by two sculptures representing Saint Dominic of Guzmán and Saint Charles Borromeo.
- Fifth chapel. We can see a baroque Santo Cristo from the first third of the XVIII century, beautifully executed and very realistic.
By the end of this itinerary we will find ourselves beneath the choir, from the same age as the construction of this church. In it there are some other baroque paintings to contemplate: Coming of the Virgin of the Pillar, the Virgin of Charity and Saint Fidelis Sigmaringen.