While the image garners much religious devotion and Mexican patriotism, scholarly criticism on the image is also notable, considering the artistic disproportion of the image, the similarity of the image to Spanish pre-colonial artwork closely related to the Aztec colony at the time, the alleged relationship of Marcos Cipac de Aquino in either inventing or amending the tilma cloak, and the public declaration of the abbot of the Guadalupe shrine pertaining to the false existence of the Marian apparitions.A relief of the Madonna and Child installed in the year 1499 within the chapel of the choir in the Monastery of Guadalupe, in Caceres, Extramadura, Spain, allegedly serving as inspiration for Marcos Cipac de Aquino's invention of the Mexican image.The basilica is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, and the world's third most-visited sacred site.Official Catholic accounts state that the Virgin Mary appeared four times before Juan Diego and one more before Juan Diego's uncle.On December 26, 1531 a procession formed for taking the miraculous image back to Tepeyac where it was installed in a small hastily erected chapel.In course of this procession, the first miracle was allegedly performed when an Indian was mortally wounded in the neck by an arrow shot by accident during some stylized martial displays executed in honour of the Virgin.
The Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan's tilma, or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Based on her words, Juan Diego then sought out the archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to tell him what had happened.
As the bishop did not believe Diego, on the same day, Juan Diego saw the Virgin Mary for a second time (the second apparition); she asked him to keep insisting.
Historically the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe did not lack clerical opponents within Mexico, especially in the early years, and in more recent times some Catholic scholars, and even a former abbot of the basilica, Monsignor Guillermo Schulenburg, have openly doubted the historical existence of Juan Diego, referring to the devotion as merely symbolic, propagated by a sensational cult.
Nonetheless, Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, under the name Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.