The Way to Santiago has a millennial history. Every year pilgrims from all over the world travel the routes to Compostela. In this article we explain the religious reasons for this tradition. But we can say that the stars are to blame.
The Camino de Santiago: A religious history.
Let’s start at the beginning: The story of the Way to Santiago, according to the tradition of the Catholic Church, begins after the death of Jesus. The New Testament tells us that Tiago was born in Bethsaida in Galilee and was a fisherman: “And coming forward from there, he saw two other brothers, Tiago, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, on a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending nets; and he called them; They immediately leaving the boat and their father, followed him.” (Matthew 4:21 and 22). He was the fourth apostle, and was present at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor and on the Mount of Olives before Jesus’ arrest. After Jesus’ death, the apostles spread the message of their prophet throughout the world. Tiago was assigned to the region of Hispania. In particular, what is today’s Galicia.
However, the mission was not as successful as expected. Tiago’s return to Palestine brought with it his death at the hand of King Herod.
«”[…] about that same time Herod the king laid hands on some of the church, to spite them; And he killed Tiago, the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:1-2).
But the story was still to be written. In a series of adventures worthy of several stories, the disciples, Theodore and Athanasius, managed to “steal” Tiago’s body and pass the Strait of Gibraltar, climb what we know today as Portugal, and disembark in Matosinhos.
The Camino de Santiago: in Portugal.
According to the legend, Cayo Carpo, a pagan Roman lord, spots a boat by the ocean water. His horse runs into the water and enters the sea. At the bottom of the sea, Cayo Carpo enters a ship carrying the body of the Apostle Santiago to Compostela. To his wedding garments cling scallops. Overwhelmed by what he saw, the Roman expressed his intention to be baptized and converted to Christianity. Hence, the symbol of all the roads to santiago is the scallop. When they finally reached Libredón – a hill near Santiago de Compostela – they buried the apostle.
800 years later, a man named Playo, on his nightly walks observes the stars. And he notices that the stars gravitate over the hill in Libredon . Restless, he seeks to know more. Like a wizard king or a sailor, he guides himself by the stars. When he arrives at the desired location, he finds a necropolis with three tombs. Those of Santiago, Theodore and Athanasius. The Apostle and his disciples.
As all news travels fast, one of the bishops of the King of Asturias informs him of this discovery. Enveloped in faith and a spirit of adventure, King Alfonso II, the Castro, decides that he will go on pilgrimage to Mount Librédon. Upon finding out the truth of what he had reported to him, the monarch orders the erection of a chapel there and changes to a more appropriate name: Arcis Marmoricis. In memory of the chest that contained the remains of the martyred apostle.
The Camino de Santiago: Today
From that moment on, thousands of pilgrims began to make the Camino de Santiago in its many variations. Now, it is your turn to join this millennial tradition. On our website you will find the help you need so you don’t have to guide yourself by the stars.
Come discover the starting point for a Good Path!