SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SPAIN by Sara E. Morrow Santiago de Compostela’s name and notoriety both come from Saint James the Apostle. It is most famous for being the site where the remains of St. James were found, where religious pilgrimers flock to each year. coque iphone 8 “St. James of the Starry Field” is the local translation for this small, charming city, set in the hills of the north-western province of Galicia, Spain. It’s believed his remains are buried there under the Cathederal’s altar. The history behind the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is interwoven with the story of Christianity. Saint James became the leader of the church of Jerusalem after Jesus’s resurrection. Tradition states that he also traveled to Spain to share the blessed news, then returned to Jerusalem where he was made a martyr. After his death, his body was taken by his followers to the coast and then put on a ship that came ashore in Spain. The body of St. James and two of his disciples were then buried without much notoriety or fuss. In 1813, a Spanish hermit named Pelayo got a vision – a bright light shining over a spot in the forrest. An investigation led to the uncovering of St. James’s tomb in a field, along with two of his disciples. A church was built on top of the tomb site and around this the city of Santiago de Compostela began to grow. Monuments, churches, monasteries, towns and other cities grew along the route to and from there, as well. Also known as the “Way of St. James”, this trek is thought of as the first great Christian thoroughfare and for many centuries drew both the rich and the poor. Hundreds of pilgrims make the journey each year to the Cathederal St. James, in the heart of the city. coque iphone 8 Regarded as a reenactment of the journey to Christ, the hardships along the way welcomed as tests of faith. coque iphone xs max Every year around ten thousand make this arduous journey, which is not easy. It’s a beautiful trek, yet rugged. This ‘camino’ is done by many different religious, including Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists – even those with no religious affiliation but a spiritual desire and curiosity. The trek is done by walking, biking or horseback on the paths of the historic Camino de Santiago. Each year St. James’s day is celebrated on July 25 and when this is on a Sunday, it’s considered an especially special year. coque iphone 2019 What to See: Plaza del Obradoiro – The cathedral’s facade forms part of an extended architectural composition on the a grand square surrounded by public buildings. To the north and south, and in a line with the west front, are dependent buildings of the 18th century, grouping well with it. Those to the south contain a light and elegant arcade to the upper windows, serving as a screen to the late Gothic cloisters. Built in 1533 by the future archbishop of Toledo, the cloisters are said to be the largest in Spain. Obradoiro façade – The spectacular Baroque facade of the cathedral, known as the was added between 1738 and 1750 by an obscure local architect, Fernando de Casas. Made of granite, it is flanked by huge bell towers and adorned everywhere with statues of St. James as the pilgrim, with staff, broad hat and scallop-shell badge. The ground rises to the cathedral, which is reached by a magnificent quadruple flight of steps, flanked by statues of David and Solomon. Access to the staircase is through fine wrought-iron gates marked with a seashell. Romanesque chapel – In the centre, on the level of the Plaza, is the entrance to a the Iglesia Baja (Lower Church), constructed under the portico and contemporary with the cathedral. Pórtico de la Gloria – Entrance to the cathedral is through the magnificent, carved in 1188 by Maestro Mateo and considered one of the finest works of medieval art. The shafts, tympana and archivolts of the three doorways are a mass of sculpture depicting the Last Judgment. On either side of the portal are Prophets of the Old Testament, including Daniel, who seems to be smiling. The arches over the side doors represent Purgatory and the Last Judgment, with Christ in glory presiding in the center. Statue of St. James – This status is below the Christ figure on the central column. coque iphone Since the Middle Ages it has been the custom of pilgrims to pray with their fingers pressed into the roots of the Tree of Jesse below Saint James, and five deep indentations have been worn into the marble as a result. The altar – A blend of Gothic simplicity and 18th-century Churrigueresque exuberance. A bejeweled medieval statue of the saint stands at the altar, which pilgrims greet with a hug upon arrival at the shrine. Those who have travelled over 100km on foot are handed a certificate in Latin called a Compostela. Relics of St. James – The sacred lie beneath the cathedral’s high altar in a silver coffer; they can be viewed from the crypt. Capilla del Relicario (Chapel of the Reliquary) is a gold crucifix, dated 874, containing a piece of the True Cross.
Many religious people pray to the Virgin Mary, regarding her as the blessed Mother who helps us through life’s tough times. coque iphone According to the Bible, she was the mother of Jesus, son of God, thousands of years ago. But what if Mary chose to reappear – where would she do so? According to legend, it would be Lourdes, France in 1858 and this sighting would put Lourdes on the map for both pilgrimers and tourists, alike. Lourdes is a small town in the Hautes-Pyrénées département in southwest France, home of the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines in the world – Our Lady of Lourdes. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes incorporates 128 acres of property and 22 places of worship, including a sacred grotto, two basilicas, and a variety of buildings for pilgrims and the sick. Outside the sanctuary, many pilgrims also visit the home of the young visionary, St. Bernadette. coque iphone 8 The small town of only 17,000 inhabitants receives more than 5 million pilgrims and tourists each year due to visions of the Virgin Mother Mary reported by a young girl named Bernadette on February 11, 1858 at what is now called the Grotto of Massabielle. As the story goes, Bernadette had been walking along the River Gave de Pau and got separated from her sisters. Upon seeing Mary, she was initially frightened and grabbed her rosary and began to pray. coque iphone Mary prayed with her. At first, Bernadette was too scared to respond to Mary’s beckoning gestures. coque iphone Three days later, Bernadette returned to the same spot and began a series of what would turn out to be 18 sightings within the next weeks. Mary began to communicate with Bernadette, created a stream from a puddle Bernadette drank from and eventually healed her paralyzed arm. Thus was the first of now many said ‘miracles’ of this spot in Lourdes, France. On Bernadette’s 16th sighting, Mary asked her to request that local priests build a chapel on the site where she and Bernadette had been communing. coque iphone By the final 18th apparition, Bernadette had around 8000 followers who believed, as she did, that indeed Mary, Mother of God, had appeared. coque iphone 8 Finally, in 1871, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was established and a chapel built on the site where Bernadette had her visions. Since then, visitors and religious pilgrimers flock by the millions every year. When the crowds of pilgrims get too much, you can take refuge on the rocky 94m-high pinnacle of the Pic du Jer, which offers panoramic views of Lourdes and the central Pyrenees.