Pilgramage Routes

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Santiago de Compostela

     Santiago de Compostela is the birthplace of Christianity in Spain. St. James (Santiago) is supposed to have evangelized the area before returning to the Holy Land to die. Following his death, his disciples brought his remains back to Spain.
     “Tradition says that the disciples of St. James spirited away his dead body and set sail for Jaffa. Seven days later the ship, propelled by wind and waves, arrived on the coast of Galicia. A man was riding his horse beside the sea. As the ship neared the horse bolted and the man was carried out by the waves. Instead of drowning, the rider surfaced covered with cockleshells. Since then the cockleshell has been the symbol of St. James and the badge of a pilgrim to Compostela.”

Sr. Carol Anne O’Marie
Murder Makes a Pilgrimage
Delacorte Press, 1993, p. 11

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     The souvenir sheet was issued in 1993 to commemorate the declaration of Santiago as a World Heritage Site. The sheet shows the plan of the town of Santiago. The stamp shows "Figura sentada" by I. Diaz Pardo.

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     In 813 the remains the apostle St. James the Great were discovered. “Compostela” refers to the field of stars seen by a hermit at the site. As a place of political and religious importance it rivaled Rome and even Jerusalem. Charlemagne, St. Francis, St. Dominic, and many others made the pilgrimage. Under the name Santiago Matamoros, St. James the Moor-Slayer, he became the spiritual leader of the battle against the Moslem Moors.

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     The map above and the one following are based on Diego Ribeiro's Icara Universal, 1529. The one above shows pilgrimage routes to Santiago in Spain, while the one below shows the main pilgrimage routes in Europe.

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