The History of St. James in Spain

The Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James, has been walked by pilgrims and hikers for nearly a thousand years. During Medieval times, the Camino was considered to be one of the most travelled and most important pilgrimages in Christendom. Pilgrims who performed this pilgrimage or made pilgrimages to either Rome or Jerusalem were to have received a plenary indulgence, which made the Camino de Santiago a particularly popular path.

According to legends and ancient texts, it is said that his relics were transported via boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain and it is believed that the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela is the burial place of St. James. This is because one night, before the Cathedral was built, a Shepherd saw a mysterious bright light in the night and when the Archbishop found out about this and learned that this was the burial spot of St. James he commanded that a Cathedral be built there and that an Altar be placed over the spot that the shepherd saw the light.

The people of northern Spain are very much devoted to St. James. During the time of the Moors, the people made a pact and said that if they were successful in driving out the Moors from their lands, they would all give a certain percentage of their wealth to St. James. The Moors were eventually defeated and forced out of northern Spain and it is believed that St. James was there in the battle fighting along side the Spanish with his sword drawn and on horseback. They believed that this victory was because of their belief in St. James and hapilly fulfilled their honour and paid tribute to St. James, which allowed for the construction of the cathedral.

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