Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pilgrim’s progress

The Camino de Santiago is one of Christendom’s most sacred pilgrimage routes, ranking third after Jerusalem and Rome. In effect, it comprises several itineraries, with take-off points scattered across Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and northern Europe. Each has its name, its own pathways and characteristic scenery, all converging on Santiago de Compostela, the ancient city of St. James the Apostle, in the far northwestern corner of Spain.

In the past two decades this medieval pilgrim trail has undergone an amazing revival, making it one of Spain’s biggest tourist attractions.

Legend has it that the body of St. James – Santiago in Spanish – was beheaded in 44 CE by King Herod and brought by boat from Palestine to the Iberian peninsular, to be buried there and then forgotten. The cult of the saint dates from the mid-ninth century, when he made a miraculous appearance and defeated the Moors in the battle that led to the Reconquista of Spain by the Christians. The great cathedral in his name was erected and his remains reburied in the crypt.

Click here to read this article from the Jerusalem Post