Sunday, February 21, 2010

Santiago de Compostela

In April I'm off to Europe again. One stop on the pilgrimage will be the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The cathedral holds the tomb of the apostle St. James the Greater (feast day: July 25). St. James son of Zebedee was the brother of St. John the Evangelist and a relative of Our Lady. By reason of their fiery zeal the two brothers were called by Our Lord "Boanerges," meaning "Sons of Thunder."

After the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, James boldly preached the Gospel in Judea and Samaria before traveling to distant Spain. He was the first apostle to drink the chalice of the Lord, being beheaded with a sword in Jerusalem in 44 AD by Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the first Herod who had the Baptist decapitated. When the guard who led the apostle to execution saw the firmness of his faith, he also converted, and they were led together to death.

James' remains were carried to Spain after his martyrdom. There his relics came to rest at Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the province of Galicia, which belongs beside Rome and Jerusalem with the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in all Christendom.

This year is a Holy Year for the visit because the saint's feast day falls on a Sunday, Deo gratias.


churchmouse said...

Did I hear that this cathedral was built on the site of an old mosque and the local moslems want it back now?

Sean said...

The town was established by Germanic pagans. Then the Romans conquered it. Then the Visigoths conquered it. Then the Arabs conquered it. Then the Visigoths re-conquered it, and the place has been Christian ever since.

If the Muslims want the spot back on the grounds that it was theirs before the Christians retook it, then they have to give back the holy spots in Jerusalem.