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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Confused

Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#1
As someone who done the camino frances too see new places and enjoy the experience of people just walking travelling together as one etc i am aware of course of the religious importance of the pilgramage and st james remains!!
Strictly speaking , you can then start youre journey from wherever you want in mainland europe??
Are there alberques in holland, germany italy etc?
And are most people doing the camino because of st james remains and reverance within christianity?
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
A lot of questions but just wondering!!
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#2
I can answer just your first question. Yes, you can start wherever you want. The crew of a ship from the Spanish navy started their pilgrimage from its base in Deception Island, Antarctica. After arriving at Cartagena, they did the "land section". Just imagine the "certificate of distance" given to them.
Traditionally, pilgrims started from the door of their homes. The logistical aspect is, obviously, another issue. As you go far from Spain and France, there can be a signposted way, and albergues, or not.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#3
I think a lot of people do the pilgrimage for 'mixed reasons'. Ie spirituality, wanting to spend time outdoors and get fitter, time for prayer and reflection, getting out of normal life for a while, getting over some bad thing that happened. And people's reasons can change while they are on pilgrimage. I think a good proportion do it for reasons of Christianity, but I am not sure how important the actual remains of St James are to this. I have never actually heard anyone say they came to revere the relics. Some people do it purely for sport reasons, and they are supposed to get the distance certificate instead of the Compostela.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#6
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
Actually, there were many places of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. Einsiedeln in Switzerland, Conques in France, Cologne in Germany, Canterbury in England are but a few, and of course Rome. there was some competition among the cities for the "best" holy relics, even to the point of some "midnight requisitions" going on. Santiago became popular when Jerusalem fell, and so it became the longest-distance destination.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#7
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
There are many saints, perhaps you just mean the apostles? There are numerous reasons why James and Compostela became so popular both in the past and again in the last few decades but overall Rome was and is the number one Christian pilgrimage destination. Rome has the largest collection of (real or presumed) burial places of apostles (see below). Apostles were the saints with the closest connection to Jesus and were considered as powerful intercessors.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Marian veneration and pilgrimage sites dedicated to the Virgin Mary gained in popularity and that's the case today, too. Long distance pilgrimage on foot isn't such a big thing in the religious world of today, although it may appear so to us here on the forum. They travel long-distance by bus or go on short pilgrimages on foot (1 day to several days), certainly in Spain, Italy and Germany, also in France and in numerous other countries.

Apostles.jpg

There are 14 apostles in this overview but Judas Iscariot got excluded for obvious reasons and was replaced by Matthias, and Paul was not among the initial 12 named in the Bible.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#9
Links are to Wikipedia.

Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Shortly later he was made a saint and pilgrimages we're made to Canterbury. I noticed that Burgos Cathedral had a relic of his hand in the treasury and I saw paintings of him along the way.

Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is set in a company of pilgrims on their way from Southwark to the shrine of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#10
Thats very informative of yous all thank you!
Just wondering why st james got so much reverance above others!!
Did anyone actually hold st james in high regard before they embarked on his/hers journey or did they just see it as an opportunity to get away socially and also have a spiritual goal!? I.e st james is not one of the many saints us catholics would follow on a well known basis !?
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#12
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
I think for me the question is: why did the Caminos to Santiago survive past the middle ages, while the other routes fell into disuse?

The original 1993 UNESCO evaluation has some interesting points that help answer this. They write that the pilgrimage to Santiago was on par with the pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome; however, it was the only one where a formal pilgrimage route evolved.

I suspect that a lot of this has to do with geography. All roads lead to Rome, but there are only two passes that lead from France to northern Spain!

The document also notes that pilgrimages were an essential part of European spirituality and cultural life in the Middle Ages and the routes they took were equipped with facilities for the spiritual and physical well-being of pilgrims. What is unique about the pilgrimage to Santiago is how intact the Spanish portion still is. Other routes have been lost, or fragmented. Also from the document: There is no comparable Christian pilgrimage route of such extent and continuity anywhere in Europe.

However ... in 2015 UNESCO reevaluated that last statement, and admitted that they hadn't actually done a comparative assessment of other routes. They found that four other northern Caminos also maintained their integrity: the Coastal Route , the Interior of the Basque Country - La Rioja Route, the Liebana Route , and the Primitivo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#13
Why so much more popular? Only in recent times has it become more popular. People state many reasons for the steadily increasing popularity of the Camino. My personal opinion and belief is that Pope John Paul II put the Camino de Santiago back into people's consciousness during the Fourth World Youth Day in 1989. But that's just my Catholicism showing. According to official statistics only about 40% of the pilgrims walking the Camino today claim that they are motivated primarily by religious reasons. The popularity of the Camino really took off in 1993 when the Routes of Camino de Compostella was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rise in popularity is quite a phenomenon.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#14
Thats very informative of yous all thank you!
Just wondering why st james got so much reverance above others!!
Did anyone actually hold st james in high regard before they embarked on his/hers journey or did they just see it as an opportunity to get away socially and also have a spiritual goal!? I.e st james is not one of the many saints us catholics would follow on a well known basis !?
An extremely good history to explain why some pilgrimage routes became more centrally important than others, but also their ebbs and flows is explained in the book "Miracle Cures: saints, pilgrimage, and the healing powers of belief" by sociologist Robert A Scott. The book is a sociology of religion and of medicine/health and as such it explains the rise of hospitals as institutions built on the needs of pilgrimage routes, and explains the place of faith in processes of healing. There is also a certain level of economy that comes into play -- with larger cathedrals providing economic centres for surrounding populations, but also an economy of miracles (i.e., miracles are always most numerous at the founding or discovery of a miraculous site; over time the miracle fall off -- explained by the relative power of the saint in question and the finite number of intercessions a saint can make within the belief system. In other words, bigger problems were taken to more powerful saints who were perceived to have a more direct line to God than had the smaller village saints and little patron saints. But what is most interesting is that we also know that when contemporary medicines are released, they are most effective in the first decade following their release and then fall off in their efficacy; this applies not only to things to which populations can develop a resistance, but also to the psychotropics and analgesics that ought to remain as effective over time as on release and yet do not (for reasons not clear).

The book is an excellent starting point for understanding not only the answers to the question you are asking, but also to understanding how medicine and healing intertwine as institutions with religious institutions and beliefs. I will be adding the book to my syllabus the next time I teach the sociology of health and illness.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#15
Why so much more popular? Only in recent times has it become more popular. People state many reasons for the steadily increasing popularity of the Camino. My personal opinion and belief is that Pope John Paul II put the Camino de Santiago back into people's consciousness during the Fourth World Youth Day in 1989. But that's just my Catholicism showing. According to official statistics only about 40% of the pilgrims walking the Camino today claim that they are motivated primarily by religious reasons. The popularity of the Camino really took off in 1993 when the Routes of Camino de Compostella was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rise in popularity is quite a phenomenon.
Certainly at different points in the last thousand years other pilgrimage routes were more powerful and more routinely followed: Canterbury to Rome, anywhere in England to Canterbury itself, Lourdes (although it is really just a destination and how one gets there is irrelevant)...
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#16
Before the Christian pilgrimage, there is evidence that the Frances route was used as a pilgrimage for Celts, ending at Finisterre. And some historians suggest that the origin of the idea that St. James' remains ended up in Iberia - and the ensuing pilgrimage of many Christians crossing northern Spain - were for the purposes of driving out the Moors during the 700 year long Reconquista. One legend has St. James miraculously appearing on a white horse during the Battle of Clavijo to help fight the Moors, giving him the moniker Santiago Matamoros (you can see paintings along the Camino of him leaning off his horse to slit the throats of Muslims). This portrayal is controversial now and St. James is more popularly depicted in pilgrim clothing (wearing sandals a lot like my Chacos, but no Osprey backpack).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept 2014)
#17
On the question about what distinguishes the Camino among pilgrim routes -

I heard an explanation from a nun early on the Frances, in the albergue at Zabalika. She referred to three great pilgrimages in the early Christian tradition. The first two were 'to' Jerusalem and 'to' Rome - ie, these were about 'the destination', and didn't involve focus on how you got there.

The third was 'The Way of St James' (El Camino de Santiago) She noted that the name of this third pilgrimage places the focus on the journey itself, ie, the pilgrims' manner of travelling, of being on the path and with others' as they go toward the end of the route.

She wasn't talking about using ancient-style sandals or sleeping on straw. It was a reference to the spiritual lessons of the gospel which directed the 'way' (ie, how) St James & the other apostles were to 'walk-the-talk' - living very simply, focusing on unselfish love, service & outreach to strangers, spreading Good News of forgiveness, trusting that (despite hardship) their needs though not necessarily their wants, would be filled by a loving God as they travelled in this 'path'.

For me her perspective revealed why it is true that the harder 'pilgrimage' begins after arrival in Santiago, ie, when taking this Way of life back home and trying to keep 'walking the path'.

It is counter-culture (and often trampled in the 'bed race' ) but one of the two big lessons of 'The Way' would in theory be to care for fellow-pilgrims as much or more than for myself.

IMHO it's easier to climb O'Cebriero backwards (or to get a camel through the eye of a needle, as the gospel says) than to give up our western secular norm of 'looking out for number one'! So going 'to' Rome or any pilgrimage destination anywhere, regardless of road or weather conditions, would seem less challenging than really achieving 'the Way of St James'.

The perspective of the nun at Zabaldika gave meaning to the small choices I faced every hour on my Camino. She never expected perfection but she honoured our effort to see that the journey is what matters.



'
 
#18
Thank you @Hobbyhorse.
Reading this, having just read Reb’s most recent post ...#75 ... here ... might help explain why so many who walk on camino to SdC many and oft, keep returning to the CF, despite its crowds and the resulting ‘commercialisation’ of its infrastructure.
The spirit of the Way is alive and well!
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#19
The first two were 'to' Jerusalem and 'to' Rome - ie, these were about 'the destination', and didn't involve focus on how you got there. The third was 'The Way of St James' (El Camino de Santiago) She noted that the name of this third pilgrimage places the focus on the journey itself, ie, the pilgrims' manner of travelling, of being on the path and with others' as they go toward the end of the route.
I think this shows very nicely how the interpretation of the Santiago pilgrimage has changed. Earlier pilgrims did say that they were going to pay a visit to "the Sir James in Galicia" and the idea of one single way (or four ways) to Santiago did not exit. In fact, I've read a number of reports of medieval and later pilgrims and got quite frustrated that they either did not mention in much detail how they got to Santiago or their journey there and back didn't match the Camino Frances (or Norte etc) at all. The miracle powers of Saint James who could raise people from the dead, even after his own death, unlike Saint Martin and other saints for example who could do this only while they were alive was a very impressive feat for earlier pilgrims. The miracle of the chickens was globally known. This has all but faded today.

I think it was in Carrion de los Condes where the pilgrims attending the evening mass stayed behind for a sort of chat with the priest and the pilgrims blessing while the other attendants left. At the very end, the priest invited the pilgrims to walk a few steps to a statue of Mary on one side of the church to sing Salve Regina. They didn't go to a statue of Saint James to sing Dum Pater Familias, a song dating back to the Middle Ages and labelled as a hymn of the pilgrims to Santiago. Saint James is no longer the focus of the pilgrimage.

The mental image that Spanish pilgrims have of Saint James is probably somewhat different from that of others in general as Saint James is the patron saint of Spain. I, for example, had never heard of Matamoros, the slayer of moors, before I got more interested in the cultural history of Spain. Outside of Spain, he is occasionally shown as a knight with sword and on a horse but usually without his (supposed) victims, and more often than that he is shown in apostle garb or pilgrimage garb.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#20
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
They did, and in many cases still do -- there are hundreds if not thousands of extremely local and very short distance pilgrimages around the world.

Some of those fell into disuse during the 18th Century.

However, the pilgrimages to Compostela and Jerusalem have always been a little bit peculiar, as they have historically been far more associated with the practice of long-distance foot pilgrimages than even the third major pilgrimage destination of mediaeval times, Rome, or the more recently established destinations such as Fatima, and Lourdes, and so on -- although the traditional routes to these major pilgrimage destinations very frequently take you to some other pilgrimage destinations along the way ; which is a major reason why the Camino Francès, for instance, just "happens" to pass through certain towns rather than some others.

A certain form of penitential practice was associated with these two pilgrimages, unlike Rome or the others, which may explain why the foot pilgrimage is more important on these than elsewhere.
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#21
...one of the two big lessons of 'The Way' would in theory be to care for fellow-pilgrims as much or more than for myself.
I think this is entirely right. I do these pilgrimages mainly to atone for my many sins, but also to get myself out of my own bad habits:-


* Being a control freak, I must nonetheless reconcile myself to the fact that I may not reach my daily destination, nor, perhaps, complete the pilgrimage.

* Being of an (excessively) solitary cast of mind, I must nonetheless engage with those around me; listen to their stories; and help them with their difficulties.

* Being quick to see the flaws in others' ways of doing things, I must nonetheless adjust myself to their procedures.

* Being congenitally impatient, I must nonetheless wait for everything to take its course.

* Being prone to over-intellectualise, I must nonetheless remember that I also have a body, and listen to it rather than bullying it into falling in with my plans.

* Being judgmental, I must nonetheless learn to forgive -- late-night plastic-bag crinklers and shower-hogs at albergues included.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#22
Actually, there were many places of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. Einsiedeln in Switzerland, Conques in France, Cologne in Germany, Canterbury in England are but a few, and of course Rome.
For years and years, I've visited the cathedrals of Canterbury and Cologne, both as a visitor and to attend a service, without being really aware that they were once important pilgrimage sites that attracted pilgrims from near and far who came on foot (or horseback) to venerate Thomas Becket in Canterbury and the Three Kings in Cologne. I'm sure the pilgrimage aspect was in the guidebooks but it was a minor footnote for me before I developed an interest thanks to the revival of the pilgrimage to Santiago. :cool:
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#23
Developing rapport with and caring for other pilgrims walking to Santiago is not the big challenge for me. Whatever our reasons or our experience, we are all on the same path together at that moment. Trying to keep this spirit the rest of the time, in the mess of humanity, all of us crashing different directions down separate rivers at the same time.. that's the challenge.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2002/3 and 2004/5)
Camino Ingles. (2008)
Camino Portuguese. (2009)
Camino del Norte (2008 and 2014)
Ruta de la Plata (2004)
Camino Primitivo. (2015)
Camino Mozarabe (2007)
"Tunnel" route (2016)
Camino del Salvador (projected: 2017)
#25
Go for the spirit of the journey - for each individual it is a unique experience.
Increasing number of well marked routes in other European countries with wide selection of local guidebooks - some online - and consider taking v small tent.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#26
I think that those of us who have walked the Caminos in recent years sometimes have an unrealistic and romantic idea of the continuity of this pilgrimage from medieval times onwards. By the 1960s and 1970s pilgrimage on foot to Santiago had all but died out. There was no "Camino Frances" in the sense that we understand it now: a clearly defined and recognised path with dedicated pilgrim facilities. Those few who still walked to Santiago mostly did so from a starting point of their choice and by a route of their own devising. In the case of Spanish pilgrims that often meant from their homes. Very much an individual 'ad hoc' exercise rather than a mass movement. There was no network of "official" Caminos or albergues. The modern Caminos are the product of a very deliberate and considered effort to recreate the practice of pilgrimage on foot rather than a simple continuation and expansion of the earlier practice. The Camino Frances in its modern form is a fairly recent invention: the vision of a dedicated priest and scholar and many other enthusiasts drawn into sharing his hopes and his pioneering work.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#27
During a vacation in Spain in the late 80s, I heard for the first time of a pilgrimage in Spain: not to Santiago in Galicia but to El Rocio in Andalusia. According to Wikipedia:

The Romería de El Rocío is a pilgrimage to the hermitage of El Rocío with a procession on the second day of the Pentecost in honour of the Virgin Mary. The pilgrimage dates from 1653. Pilgrims come from throughout Andalusia and, nowadays, from throughout Spain and beyond, and typically travel an additional one to seven days beforehand, either on foot, on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages, generally sleeping outdoors. Many count this travel as the most important part of the pilgrimage.​


The French Wiki says that this pilgrimage has turned nowadays into a phenomenon that is situated between religion and folklore. It attracts a million participants during Whitsun and several thousand during the rest of the year. And we think 300,000 pilgrims annually on foot and bicycle to Santiago is a lot? :cool:
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#28
In Galicia it is very popular the pilgrimage to San Andres de Teixido There is a saying 'Vai de morto o que non foi de vivo' Go dead who didn't go alive.
It is sure that Teixido was a place for Prechristian worship because it has cairns and a holy fountain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#29
Not a very informative fact but being irish i also just remembered that our national drink , guinness ( or certainly my national drink ☺) is brewed at st james gate dublin !!
And after a quick search i discovered it was named this due too that part of the south quays of dublin being the traditional starting point for the santiago de compostela in the middle ages!!
Ile drink too that
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#31
And are most people doing the camino because of st james remains and reverance within christianity?
I do not know about most people. I know that I had an opportunity to try out walking from Roncesvalles to Santiago with a very good friend, as a once off experience. i knew that it was a pilgrimage, and I was a bit sceptical about the origins of the story of St James... but I parked that and said: as a pilgrimage, in the ‘true’ Christian sense, let me try! So off we went from Roncesvalles. One step at a time, one day at a time. First three days were gentle, with lifts to and from starting points. After that, on our own. Although, not quite, we were already walking along with a loose group of folks who generally stayed in same albergues. And so, each day brought its challenges and its blessings. And it was an offering, in honesty, of the aches and pains of the physical effort, simply as an experience of doing something voluntarily that I had never done before, and of its essence, have never done again. Even if I do the French Camino again, that first time was unique. I chose to let that be something truly special. Each day was basically offered up in my heart for different people - not that they would ever know. It was a way of expressing my deep gratitude for being alive, for all of my life and everyone who had been in it up till then. It was a joy at times, and a hardship at other times. But hey! Here I am, 12 years older, and still half thinking of repeating the whole thing...
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#32
There are many saints, perhaps you just mean the apostles? There are numerous reasons why James and Compostela became so popular both in the past and again in the last few decades but overall Rome was and is the number one Christian pilgrimage destination. Rome has the largest collection of (real or presumed) burial places of apostles (see below). Apostles were the saints with the closest connection to Jesus and were considered as powerful intercessors.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, Marian veneration and pilgrimage sites dedicated to the Virgin Mary gained in popularity and that's the case today, too. Long distance pilgrimage on foot isn't such a big thing in the religious world of today, although it may appear so to us here on the forum. They travel long-distance by bus or go on short pilgrimages on foot (1 day to several days), certainly in Spain, Italy and Germany, also in France and in numerous other countries.

View attachment 47611

There are 14 apostles in this overview but Judas Iscariot got excluded for obvious reasons and was replaced by Matthias, and Paul was not among the initial 12 named in the Bible.
Thats amazing, never knew so many were in the Vatican. Always thought that the location of the remains of Thomas was unknown and possibly somewhere in Asia. You learn something new everyday so thanks for this bit of information
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#33
Thats amazing, never knew so many were in the Vatican. Always thought that the location of the remains of Thomas was unknown and possibly somewhere in Asia.
I tried to keep the message short. The story of medieval/earlier relics is complicated and fascinating. There are many other places that lay claim to important relics of these saints, for example for Saint Andrew it is also Patras in Greece and Edinburgh in Scotland. For Saint James it's Santiago and Jerusalem.

And let's stick to the places of special veneration of apostles that have endured until today and let's not enumerate all those that claimed to have their relics and played an important role for the pilgrims of the Middle Ages but lost this role eventually. Messages about these places have already been posted on the forum. :cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#35
I walked through villages where I was told that I was the first pilgrim they'd seen in 40 years.
Wouldn't that fit the description of "by the 1960s and 1970s pilgrimage on foot to Santiago had all but died out"? :cool:

Anyway, I think the question is why the pilgrimage to Santiago was revived/recreated/started to blossom again and why did this not happen with other once important long-distance pilgrimages on foot, to Rome, to Wilsnack (who has ever heard of it - we know that Margery Kempe went there), to Cologne, to Tours .... Some of these places are trying to follow Compostela's example now, with varying degrees of success.

I think one thing that hasn't been mentioned are the efforts that Galicia in particular invested in promoting the Camino de Santiago from about the Jacobean Holy Year 1993 onwards, both nationally in Spain and internationally abroad. And their investments into the infrastructure. This is perhaps one of the most decisive factors when one tries to explain the current large numbers of people walking to Santiago in some kind of pilgrimage spirit or the other instead of walking on foot to some other historical pilgrimage destination. How come that it became a mass phenomenon again?
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#36
Wouldn't that fit the description of "by the 1960s and 1970s pilgrimage on foot to Santiago had all but died out"? :cool:

Anyway, I think the question is why the pilgrimage to Santiago was revived/recreated/started to blossom again and why did this not happen with other once important long-distance pilgrimages on foot, to Rome, to Wilsnack (who has ever heard of it - we know that Margery Kempe went there), to Cologne, to Tours .... Some of these places are trying to follow Compostela's example now, with varying degrees of success.

I think one thing that hasn't been mentioned are the efforts that Galicia in particular invested in promoting the Camino de Santiago from about the Jacobean Holy Year 1993 onwards, both nationally in Spain and internationally abroad. And their investments into the infrastructure. This is perhaps one of the most decisive factors when one tries to explain the current large numbers of people walking to Santiago in some kind of pilgrimage spirit or the other instead of walking on foot to some other historical pilgrimage destination. How come that it became a mass phenomenon again?
Yes, the president of Xunta Manuel Fraga was who took the initiative.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#37
Saint James is no longer the focus of the pilgrimage.
I believe that I understand what you mean by this. But even so... How do you reconcile this assertion with the phenomenon of the vast increase of traffic on Santiago de Compostella "Holy Years?" If Saint James is no longer the focus as you suggest, then it wouldn't make any difference if July 25 was on a Sunday or not. Clearly, those years when Saint James Feast Day lands on a Sunday seem to be very important to a lot of people. Maybe this phenomenon is not completely due to Saint James, but there seems to be something "Saint James-ish" going on during these years, don't you think?
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#38
How do you reconcile this assertion with the phenomenon of the vast increase of traffic on Santiago de Compostella "Holy Years?" [...] Maybe this phenomenon is not completely due to Saint James, but there seems to be something "Saint James-ish" going on during these years, don't you think?
You raise an interesting point and I've been thinking about this. But I need to do something else than type long posts right now. So I just hope that no religious or historically motivated skirmish will break out in the meantime that will lead to the closure of the thread ... :cool:.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#39
You raise an interesting point and I've been thinking about this. But I need to do something else than type long posts right now.
Oh yes... these discussions are more suited to sitting around the table with coffee than they are quickly typing in a few comments when I really ought to be busy doing something else..;)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#40
Wouldn't that fit the description of "by the 1960s and 1970s pilgrimage on foot to Santiago had all but died out"? :cool:
Not really, no -- that 1994 was right on the heels of my 1993 along the Francès in that crazy crowded Holy Year ... :p ... I also walked through villages where they hadn't seen a pilgrim for 40 not years, but seconds :cool:

Anyway, I think the question is why the pilgrimage to Santiago was revived/recreated/started to blossom again and why did this not happen with other once important long-distance pilgrimages on foot, to Rome
yeah, but it has -- and a long time ago, as well

My foot pilgrimage to Rome in 2000 was by no means a lonely and radically solitary one.

That particular foot pilgrimage does seem to be as important as the Camino, religiously, only in the Roman Jubilee years (next one most likely 2025, then very probably 2033) --- but since 2000 that extent of the Camino between Rome and Santiago has been extensively described and waymarked by the local Associations.

There were quite a few very welcoming pilgrim refuges along the Way even back then in 2000 ...

How come that it became a mass phenomenon again?
Through the Graces of the Holy Spirit, and the indefatigable love and work of the Apostle in his zealous desire for help to our souls.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#41
Considering the whole camino no matter where it starts, the whole journey if ime right ends in santiago, therefore st james remains is obviously the focus point and end destination! Apart from finnisterre of course!
Maybe the fact he was the first disciple or because of his martyrdom he was revered more than otheres and it just grew!! Just a guess!
Thanks for all replies tho very well informed members
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#42
Yes, the president of Xunta Manuel Fraga was who took the initiative.
His name is familiar to me, mainly through this forum, but I had to look up details: President of the regional government of Galicia 1990-2005 and Spanish Minister for Information and Tourism 1962-1969, among other functions. Xacobeo 92 campaign!

Two tiny snippets of information concerning the promotion of the Camino de Santiago that I had not suspected:
  • In 1992, American journalists (and probably from other countries) were invited officially by Spanish Tourism to travel along the Camino de Santiago, with expenses paid, so that they would write articles about it.
  • Xacobeo 2010 subsidised the making of Sheen's movie "The Way" with 262 500 €.
I guess that's the secret of good promotion: to address not only the target groups directly but also through multiplicators.:)
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#43
Some posts, and those referring to them, have been deleted. Please try and have a discussion on the OP without being rude to other posters, it is unnecessary and against the forum rules.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#44
Were many people here actually raised with the awareness of what a 'pilgrimage' was? Or that things like the Camino de Santiago existed?

I was raised Catholic in a small northern US town, and I don't recall learning anything about modern-day pilgrimages for any saints. We knew about Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe - but these were all Marian apparitions, not tombs or relics. I remember lots of bake sales for groups raising funds for a "pilgrimage to Rome" or a "pilgrimage to the Holy Land" - but mostly these seemed to me to be standard tours, just with more praying involved.

Guaranteed, though, we had never heard of Santiago de Compostela, or of any of the Caminos that led there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#45
Were many people here actually raised with the awareness of what a 'pilgrimage' was? Or that things like the Camino de Santiago existed?

I was raised Catholic in a small northern US town, and I don't recall learning anything about modern-day pilgrimages for any saints. We knew about Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe - but these were all Marian apparitions, not tombs or relics. I remember lots of bake sales for groups raising funds for a "pilgrimage to Rome" or a "pilgrimage to the Holy Land" - but mostly these seemed to me to be standard tours, just with more praying involved.

Guaranteed, though, we had never heard of Santiago de Compostela, or of any of the Caminos that led there.
You raise a good point, sir! All experience is indelibly integrated in us. Hearing about realities is interesting or attractive or fascinating or... but experiencing them is literally life changing, and none more so than the imprinting within us of the fact of walking consciously as a pilgrim. I am not referring in this little thought above to people who have no pilgrim dimension in their caminos. I have no quibble at all with walking for other reasons. You say “We knew about Lourdes...” walking on pilgrimage changes information into knowledge...
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#46
Were many people here actually raised with the awareness of what a 'pilgrimage' was? Or that things like the Camino de Santiago existed?
I think I had some vague notion of what they are growing up, but the first I heard about the Camino de Santiago as on ongoing thing that you can actually go out and do would have been in late 1992 or early 1993.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#47
Were many people here actually raised with the awareness of what a 'pilgrimage' was? Or that things like the Camino de Santiago existed?
As a kid, I occasionally heard adult family members and friends mention local or regional pilgrimages and I have one clear memory from childhood: visiting a tiny chapel not far away from home where I saw ex-votos for the first time, in the form of tiny body parts like arms and legs made from clay or wax and other items that pilgrims had brought to the chapel. I don't remember to whom the chapel is dedicated.

Memories of long-distance pilgrims of the past with shell, staff and pilgrim garb were absorbed by seeing statues and paintings in mainly Gothic churches in the region. I was aware of the "pilgrim's shell" and "Jacob (James) pilgrims" but didn't associate them with Spain. In contrast to pilgrimage to Lourdes or Rome for example, I, too, had not heard of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela until late into adulthood (perhaps 1990s when it became more widely known).

There were no signposts pointing to Santiago or to ways of St James, as there are now, and no statues of pilgrims in the public space. Nowadays, both signposts and contemporary pilgrim statues pop up in many places all over Europe and not just only along the Chemin de Tours and the Camino Frances for example.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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#48
Thank you, @MichaelC, for jogging my memory! There's a song from the 19th century, popular in the region where I grew up. I heard and sang it often. It mentions that pilgrims travel through the valley; names saints and regional sites that are pilgrimage destinations and dedicated to these saints; describes a priest leading a group of walking pilgrims; drinking good wine at a hermit's place and much more about how great it is to walk through the countryside with your walking staff and typical garb.

I sang this song to myself in a loud voice along that long road in the middle of Northern Spain when nobody else was in sight. I usually remember only the first verse so I never get to the line about the pilgrims. It came back to me now after googling for the whole text. I finally know what shaped my idea of pilgrimage :cool:.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#49
I remember lots of bake sales for groups raising funds for a "pilgrimage to Rome" or a "pilgrimage to the Holy Land" - but mostly these seemed to me to be standard tours, just with more praying involved.
By the very nature of this group we tend to be fixated on the idea of pilgrimage and walking/cycling as being inextricably linked. But the reality is that for most of the world's major pilgrim destinations pilgrims arrive by train, bus or airplane. For example: it is a huge culture shock to arrive in Rome after a long walk along the Via Francigena and discover that the impressively named Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is in fact a huge religious tour operator and although they are happy enough to hand over a Testimonium to a walking pilgrim on his or her arrival they are clearly a novelty and an interruption of the serious daily business. The "100km rule" for receiving a Compostela is a very recent innovation linked to the 1993 Holy Year and I think it has distorted our understanding of what the essence of pilgrimage is. Far more people visit the Cathedral and the shrine of the Apostle annually using transport than arrive on foot having walked 100km or more. Is pilgrimage defined by the method of travel or by the object of devotion? Walking pilgrimages are only one part of the whole far wider picture.
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#50
...The "100km rule" for receiving a Compostela is a very recent innovation linked to the 1993 Holy Year and I think it has distorted our understanding of what the essence of pilgrimage is. Far more people visit the Cathedral and the shrine of the Apostle annually using transport than arrive on foot having walked 100km or more. Is pilgrimage defined by the method of travel or by the object of devotion? Walking pilgrimages are only one part of the whole far wider picture.
Yes! Put another way.... if one is lucky enough to live in the lee of the Cathedral(s), then traditionally, one did not need to worry about making a pilgrimage; one was already blessed and protected.... (and as regions close to cathedrals were, as a consequence, more prosperous the result was a better life and better health for inhabitants close to the powers of the saints than for those from afar. A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.)

I live across the street from a small Catholic church considered a pilgrimage site. Not sure why as I've not gone in. Interestingly, I live literally in its lee, and so my house is blessed with lower heating bills in winter, and better protection in wind storms the fell trees in our neighbourhood. Like the inhabitants of villages in a symbiotic economy with the cathedral, I don't have to concern myself with *going in* in particular. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that this has always been similar for those who live near pilgrimage sites. Their blessedness is not measured by distance travelled, but by their fortunate proximity.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#51
By the very nature of this group we tend to be fixated on the idea of pilgrimage and walking/cycling as being inextricably linked. But the reality is that for most of the world's major pilgrim destinations pilgrims arrive by train, bus or airplane... Is pilgrimage defined by the method of travel or by the object of devotion? Walking pilgrimages are only one part of the whole far wider picture.
I think a large part depends on who we are, or what our backgrounds are. For the farmers I grew up with, their trip to Italy with a Church group might have been the only overseas trip they took in their lives. For them, I think it really was a 'pilgrimage.'

For me, a trip to Italy is a vacation, even if I visit the exact same sites.

Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them? A lot of questions but just wondering!!
I didn't think of this before, but I think the Via Francigena di San Francisco is slowly growing in popularity - it attempts to trace the routes that St. Francis of Assisi walked in Italy. I think the "why" for this one is fairly straightforward: it's in beautiful country (Tuscany and Umbria), and St. Francis feels far more well known and relevant in the modern world than some of the other more esoteric saints.

Every thought seems to be leading to another thought this Wednesday morning. Back to Bradypus: By the very nature of this group we tend to be fixated on the idea of pilgrimage and walking/cycling as being inextricably linked.

My first thought was, "well, I know the difference." But obviously I don't, because a pilgrimage site has developed right here at home, and I've been there, and it's a spiritually and emotionally powerful experience, and yet ... whoosh ... I didn't even think about it in any of the discussions on other pilgrimage sites ...

 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#52
Well considering most of the apostles remains are in many places , mostly in rome!! As gladly a fellow pilgrim has informed me!! Then why is the pilgrimage too rome etc nowhere near on the same scale as santiago and st james?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#53
Then why is the pilgrimage too rome etc nowhere near on the same scale as santiago and st james?
I think that pilgrimage to Rome is far more popular than to Santiago. There are vast numbers of pilgrims in Rome each year. But they arrive by plane and often in large groups rather than on foot and alone.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#54
Yea but thats sort of what i mean!! Theyre not doing a 5 week journey on foot!! I know its complicated ☺ st james musta had some reverance for a reason! Or else there would be a similair camino throughout the centuries leading too rome!? And wede alll be doing that one instead
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#55
Yea but thats sort of what i mean!! Theyre not doing a 5 week journey on foot!! I know its complicated ☺ st james musta had some reverance for a reason! Or else there would be a similair camino throughout the centuries leading too rome!? And wede alll be doing that one instead
I think that in most of western Christianity long distance pilgrimage on foot almost died out by the latter half of the twentieth century. In earlier centuries pilgrimage to Rome on foot was also massively popular but like the Spanish Caminos it declined and effectively ended over time. The modern Camino revival was not accidental - it was planned very deliberately and gained support from the Church, local fraternities and local government at different levels along the way. It was the first long-distance pilgrimage to be actively revived and its success and high-profile has been an inspiration and a model for the creation or recovery of pilgrim routes elsewhere. Including the Via Francigena between Canterbury and Rome which does not rival the Caminos in numbers and public awareness yet but which grows in popularity very rapidly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#56
You could be right rab☺ i know in irelan theyre really pushing the knock shrine etc hence the airport etc
Why do you think the camino was revived and upheld over others?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2008), Via de la Plata (2011), Portuguese (2014), Le Puy (2016-2017)
#57
As someone who done the camino frances too see new places and enjoy the experience of people just walking travelling together as one etc i am aware of course of the religious importance of the pilgramage and st james remains!!
Strictly speaking , you can then start youre journey from wherever you want in mainland europe??
Are there alberques in holland, germany italy etc?
And are most people doing the camino because of st james remains and reverance within christianity?
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
A lot of questions but just wondering!!
Yes, you can start anywhere you wish in Europe, as the original Pilgrims did when they stepped out of their front doors. There are of course established routes. I met a woman who walked from her home in Koln, Germany! There are various degrees of infrastructure (Albergues) so you might want to go with some of the more established routes. If you begin in Le Puy, France there are tons of Gites (Albergues) at reasonable distances all the way to St. Jean Pied de Port where the Camino Frances officially begins. This would give you a nice long walk of about 950 miles! For lodging in France pick up the "miam miam do do" book to see maps, prices, gites, etc. Plan to book demi pension (half board) so that you are assured of breakfast and dinner as there are many places with no restaurants or grocery stores available. The food is fantastic! You need to phone ahead just 1 day for a reservation so they know how many to expect for dinner, and the number of beds in each Gite is usually much smaller than in Spain. Most people I have met are not doing the Camino for religious reasons, but I will say that your heart changes as you go. It is a very individual journey that is at the same time shared with amazing people from around the world! How is that for a miracle? And the answer to why St. James: He went to Spain to spread Christianity just after the Crucifixion. When he returned to the Holy Land King Herod beheaded / Martyred him. His followers took his body back to northern Spain and entombed him at the site of what is now Santiago de Compostella. Happy Pilgrimage!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#58
I'll go very carefully here. I'm sensitive of Forum rules and the sensitivities of many members. Within my own tradition, within the heart of my "tribe" is the necessity, the importance, of undertaking a long journey as a part of becoming one who has earned and is offered respect. That journey should be by foot. The undertaker should be dependent on none but themselves. They should make their way without support from friend, family or tribe. The destination can be of their own choosing and need have no significance other than to themselves but it should have some meaning or value. (Nipping down the pub doesn't count). A shrine might do; or a mountain; a disemboguement; an ending. And the true part of the journey is the return - to friends family and tribe.
I know I'm not entirely responding to the OP here; or indeed many members who have posed their own reasons and resolutions but my heart tells me that the purpose of pilgrimage is pilgrimage. It is the journey not the destination. It is the effort not the gain.
When we walk on the old roads roads to Santiago's bones, or to Finis Terre and the sundering sea we are making a journey that has much more to do with ourselves than with any other order of existence.

@Antomuchacho asked: Strictly speaking , you can then start your journey from wherever you want in mainland europe?? Nope. You can start your journey from wherever you like on this poor benighted planet. Even Brooklyn.
Are there alberques in holland, germany italy etc? Yes. They just call them something different and they run under different rules.
And are most people doing the camino because of st james remains and reverance within christianity? Probably not, but many are. To be, perhaps, with the remains of one who touched the Divine drives even the unbeliever to hope. (A poorly remembered quote from a source I can't recall)
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them? Oh, but they have. They just haven't achieved World Heritage status yet.

Give them time. My old guys have been around forever and yet there are still but few pilgrims who remember to sprinkle a little salt and spill a little wine before a journey. Fewer still offer a coin to the water as they cross a river or put a little herb or tobacco in the fire for the wind. But my lot don't mind. They know we are all, mostly, confused. And they think we will all be a little less confused when we stop asking for the answer to everything and start asking ourselves what the question really is.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#59
Why do you think the camino was revived and upheld over others?
Thinking back to my first Camino in 1990 one of the things that made it very different from today is that the pilgrim support that existed then was almost entirely voluntary and non-commercial. A lot of refugios were provided by religious fraternities or groups of Amigos and maintained by volunteers. In comparison with the UK these groups are remarkably numerous and active in Spain. Although the numbers of pilgrims in the first few years of the Camino revival were far too small to make commercial accommodation viable support for pilgrims was being given as an act of generosity and commitment. Most refugios were donativo and some even refused donations because they saw their work as an act of service. It was not uncommon for bars and restaurants to refuse payment by pilgrims. It was only when pilgrim numbers grew much larger that the Camino could become financially self-supporting or even a money generator for the villages along the way. Unless there is a core of altruistic supporters willing to provide labour and infrastructure free or at low cost while a route grows in popularity then it falls to local organisations and private individuals to gamble by investing in building albergues and such facilities in the hope that "build it and they will come". A risk they may be unwilling to take.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#60
His name is familiar to me, mainly through this forum, but I had to look up details: President of the regional government of Galicia 1990-2005 and Spanish Minister for Information and Tourism 1962-1969, among other functions. Xacobeo 92 campaign!

Two tiny snippets of information concerning the promotion of the Camino de Santiago that I had not suspected:
  • In 1992, American journalists (and probably from other countries) were invited officially by Spanish Tourism to travel along the Camino de Santiago, with expenses paid, so that they would write articles about it.
  • Xacobeo 2010 subsidised the making of Sheen's movie "The Way" with 262 500 €.
I guess that's the secret of good promotion: to address not only the target groups directly but also through multiplicators.:)

One of those American journalists was ME.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#61
The modern Camino revival was not accidental - it was planned very deliberately and gained support from the Church, local fraternities and local government at different levels along the way. It was the first long-distance pilgrimage to be actively revived and its success and high-profile has been an inspiration and a model for the creation or recovery of pilgrim routes elsewhere.
I've read about the efforts of the early Friends of the Camino associations in France and Spain, of Don Elías Valiña and the yellow arrows of course, but very little actually about national and regional government efforts. Without the latter, I wonder whether the foot pilgrimage to Santiago as we know it today would have materialised and grown to such a large scale or whether it would have remained a "niche" activity?

The Holy Year 1993 was apparently a major turning point. Galicia's Xacobeo invested 120 million euros to create albergues and to "recuperate" the caminos leading to Santiago as well as fountains, churches, monasteries, hermitages, resting areas, and the Monte Gozo complex. I'm quoting from an interview, the number means nothing to me. They invested only 29 million euros for the following Holy Year in 1999 so 1993 must have been a major effort. I suppose the other regions in Northern Spain followed suit. Galicia wanted to attract visitors - other parts of Spain had already been more successful in this respect. All this is not the only factor for the successful revival but I'm convinced it is one reason why "it's Santiago and not others". They had a historical-cultural asset and they wanted to use it for their economic benefit. I don't view this as naked exploitation, btw. For a long time, Galicia was one of the poorest regions of the EU, I think.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#63
Camino(s) past & future
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#64
Its keeping the failing economy going
I'm not an economist but I think that's too easy as an explanation. I'm thinking for example of Alpine villages that were very poor compared to other regions until they were able to attract visitors. Their asset is the natural beauty of the landscape and the options for outdoor activities. Border regions, however one defines them, are often less prosperous in comparison to other regions. If I'm not mistaken, Santiago also prospers as a university town - a quality that attracts more than just students. But I don't really know much about all this.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#65
That's not true. Pilgrims sometimes like to think they're saving Spain by just showing up, but the Spanish economy is MUCH bigger than one pilgrim tourism sector, the Gallego likewise.
It would be nonsense to suggest that pilgrims to Santiago are propping up the whole Spanish economy. But the huge growth in numbers seems to have had an astonishing effect for the villages and small towns directly along the Camino Frances. When I first passed through Foncebadon there was only one occupied building with a single resident. The Gronze website now lists 6 albergues or hostals in the place. A similar story in other places which were near dead and largely abandoned in 1990. Of course it is difficult to say how much other factors have contributed to such regeneration over the years but it is stunningly visible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
#66
No i understand completly of course!! But it would be niave too suggest that the thousands of pilgrims every year arent supprting cafes, bars, alberques, private hotels , shops etc
Considering spain has one of the highest youth unemployment in europe ime sure the pilgrims annual expenditure must help!! Thats a good thing
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#67
It would be nonsense to suggest that pilgrims to Santiago are propping up the whole Spanish economy. But the huge growth in numbers seems to have had an astonishing effect for the villages and small towns directly along the Camino Frances. When I first passed through Foncebadon there was only one occupied building with a single resident. The Gronze website now lists 6 albergues or hostals in the place. A similar story in other places which were near dead and largely abandoned in 1990. Of course it is difficult to say how much other factors have contributed to such regeneration over the years but it is stunningly visible.
It's a major reason why the locals in those pueblos seem never to tire of all these strangers walking past their front doors ... ;)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#68
I tried to keep the message short. The story of medieval/earlier relics is complicated and fascinating. There are many other places that lay claim to important relics of these saints, for example for Saint Andrew it is also Patras in Greece and Edinburgh in Scotland. For Saint James it's Santiago and Jerusalem.

And let's stick to the places of special veneration of apostles that have endured until today and let's not enumerate all those that claimed to have their relics and played an important role for the pilgrims of the Middle Ages but lost this role eventually. Messages about these places have already been posted on the forum. :cool:
As I said, you learn something new everyday so thanks for your original post
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#69
As I said, you learn something new every day
Before I got interested in this thread, I had barely been aware of the apostle Matthias and didn't know that his remains are said to be interred in an abbey - a Romanesque basilica - in the German town of Trier. I read up on it a bit. The pilgrimage dates back to the 12th century (at the same time the Codex Calixtinus was written). There are a number of so-called Saint Matthias brotherhoods in various parishes who still organise pilgrimages, typically a group of a few dozen pilgrims who walk for example over a distance of 150 km or over a long holiday weekend, so two days for going there and 2 days for returning. I think this is still quite typical: you walk to the pilgrimage site and you walk back.

And the Cathedral of Trier keeps a Holy Robe or Seamless Robe of Jesus relic. Same story, same timeframe: the pilgrimage dates back to at least 1196. The relic is shown at irregular intervals, the last exhibition of the relic was in 2012. About 550.000 pilgrims and visitors came, many on foot. It's not certain when the relic is shown again, perhaps in 2033 (ie two thousand years after Crucification and Resurrection).

So the pilgrimage to Santiago is certainly not the only one that survived for a good one thousand years.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#70
@Kathar1na Thanks for the information about Matthias and Trier. I read the Wikipedia article and was not surprised to see that the Orthodox have a different tradition that the saint's remains are in Georgia. Par for the course to have competing legends - competition between churches over their relic collections could be very fierce. The foreskin of Jesus was a specially prized item since bodily relics of Christ were bound to be scarce after his ascension. According to the Wikipedia article on it "Depending on what you read, there were eight, twelve, fourteen, or even 18 different holy foreskins in various European towns during the Middle Ages."[6] In addition to the Holy Foreskin of Rome (later Calcata), other claimants included the Cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay, Santiago de Compostela, the city of Antwerp, Coulombs in the diocese of Chartres, as well as Chartres itself, and churches in Besançon, Metz, Hildesheim, Charroux.[9] Conques, Langres, Fécamp, and two in Auvergne." Matthias gets off quite lightly in comparison! It might be interesting to cover both bases by walking from Trier to the alternative location in Georgia :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#71
@Bradypus, I think the foreskin relics have totally disappeared today but have of course not lost any of their fascination. The Holy Robe relic is interesting as the Bishopric of Trier allowed it to be scientifically tested. It's possible that the original material is 2000 years old but there's no way to proof it, due to ill-fated protection and conservation methods throughout the centuries. Like other relics, the original material is wrapped in or covered with several layers of tissue so what one sees and what looks like a robe is actually the reliquary and not the relic itself. There are several layers of tissue, like a sandwich, and the oldest material is in the middle layer. I think there is no dispute today that the authenticity of many - even more famous - relics does not matter much. They are precious because of their history and their intrinsic symbolic value.

Although they usually don't show the Holy Robe (Heilig Rock in German) relic, they have an annual event called Heilig-Rock days. In the past, I sometimes fleetingly noticed headlines about the huge number of people flocking to this Heilig-Rock event. I thought it was a rock music festival. :cool:

Rock.jpeg
 
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#72
@Bradypus, if it's not too indiscrete, I'd be curious to know how you got to learn about the Camino de Santiago as you appear to be one of the very few active posters who walked before the monumental Holy Year 1993 and the years immediately preceding it. I can't help remembering that you mentioned a family member. So how did that family member learn about it. I think one feature that distinguishes the Camino Frances from all other routes is the fact that so much of its historical cultural heritage, dating back to the Romanesque period in particular but also the Gothic period, is preserved in such excellent form. Is it comparable in this respect to the via Francigena on the Italian side?

One can of course find traces of roads used by medieval travellers everywhere in Europe if one looks hard enough, both the material structure and the course of the road as well as ancient buildings along it, but in my mental image at least there is nothing of the same density along a 800 km stretch as can be found along the Camino Frances.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#73
@Bradypus, if it's not too indiscrete, I'd be curious to know how you got to learn about the Camino de Santiago as you appear to be one of the very few active posters who walked before the monumental Holy Year 1993 and the years immediately preceding it. I can't help remembering that you mentioned a family member. So how did that family member learn about it.
It is not a deadly secret ;-) In the early 1980s when Don Elias and his friends were busy painting yellow arrows over northern Spain a man called Kosti Simons had a religious experience at Lourdes which led him to walk barefoot from Paris to Santiago. He then felt called to actively promote the pilgrimage and created a project called Pilgrims International: he would gather an international group of prospective pilgrims and lead them from SJPDP to Santiago, stopping every day for prayers and spiritual discussions. The idea gained quite a lot of publicity and was mentioned in UK newspapers and on BBC radio. My mother-in-law heard about this and decided to take part. So she walked in one of these groups in 1985. That was around the time I first met her and it was how I came to hear of the Camino. I then started studying for ordination and church history proved to be the most interesting of my subjects and pilgrimage featured in my courses. With a better knowledge and understanding of Catholic church history and of pilgrimage than I had before I decided that the Camino was something I would like to experience for myself. So I walked from SJPDP to Santiago myself in summer 1990. I am a fairly solitary person and the idea of a group walk did not appeal. Besides which Pilgrims International did not last long and only made a few pilgrimages. Kosti moved to Australia and began to stage passion plays Oberammergau-style instead :)

I think one feature that distinguishes the Camino Frances from all other routes is the fact that so much of its historical cultural heritage, dating back to the Romanesque period in particular but also the Gothic period, is preserved in such excellent form. Is it comparable in this respect to the via Francigena on the Italian side?
Very much the case on the VF in Italy too. There are sections of the route where you actually walk on the Roman flagstones of the Via Cassia. The Italian section begins at the Grand Saint Bernard Pass at the monastic hospice which has provided shelter for travellers continuously for almost 1000 years. All along the way there are places of interest from pre-Christian Rome up to the present day. It is a very diverse and fascinating route both in its geography and in its cultural heritage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#74
@Bradypus, wow, I'm glad I asked :). Thank you.

I had never heard of Kosti Simons and Pilgrims International before. Google let me read about an encounter between E. Stanton who wrote a book called The Road of Stars to Santiago and Kosti himself and one of his groups in Rabanal, and I have discovered now that he's also mentioned in a book I own, only partially read, in the section on Australians on the Camino, straight after Reanimation and The Internationalization of the Camino.

And Oberammergau on Lake Moogerah - who would have thought it. :cool:
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#75
@Kathar1na I made the mistake of mentioning my once-removed connection with Kosti Simons when I met the famous Madame Debril in SJPDP to ask her for a credencial. She was already annoyed that I had disturbed her at lunchtime. When I mentioned Kosti's name the air around her froze in disgust! She was very disapproving of him and that may have been part of the reason why she refused to give me a credencial and told me to go away. She did unbend enough to say that the canons at Roncesvalles were not so picky and would probably give me one when I got there ;)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#76
Before I got interested in this thread, I had barely been aware of the apostle Matthias and didn't know that his remains are said to be interred in an abbey - a Romanesque basilica - in the German town of Trier. I read up on it a bit. The pilgrimage dates back to the 12th century (at the same time the Codex Calixtinus was written). There are a number of so-called Saint Matthias brotherhoods in various parishes who still organise pilgrimages, typically a group of a few dozen pilgrims who walk for example over a distance of 150 km or over a long holiday weekend, so two days for going there and 2 days for returning. I think this is still quite typical: you walk to the pilgrimage site and you walk back.

And the Cathedral of Trier keeps a Holy Robe or Seamless Robe of Jesus relic. Same story, same timeframe: the pilgrimage dates back to at least 1196. The relic is shown at irregular intervals, the last exhibition of the relic was in 2012. About 550.000 pilgrims and visitors came, many on foot. It's not certain when the relic is shown again, perhaps in 2033 (ie two thousand years after Crucification and Resurrection).

So the pilgrimage to Santiago is certainly not the only one that survived for a good one thousand years.
Until I walked the Camino, I knew little and cared less about what happened to the apostles and where their remains were. After I got home, I wondered why and how James got to Spain so started to study it and found the whole subject completely fascinating so every little bit of extra information is gratefully devoured. I even found myself watching programs about their lives on History channel. Suddenly regretted not paying more attention in my schooldays to the book on the history of the early church. Cathedral of Trier has now been added to my bucket list :)
 

F100

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
NONE
#77
Not a very informative fact but being irish i also just remembered that our national drink , guinness ( or certainly my national drink ☺) is brewed at st james gate dublin !!
And after a quick search i discovered it was named this due too that part of the south quays of dublin being the traditional starting point for the santiago de compostela in the middle ages!!
Ile drink too that
And St James’ Church in Dingle, Co Kerry was the start point by sea to Ferrol or Coruña, the start of Camino Ingles
 

Mike T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Carcassonne-Santiago via Camino Frances 2011
Mary/Michael Way Avebury-Bury St Edmund 2012
Camino Portuguese Lisbon-Santiago 2013
Tochar Phadraig Ballintubber-Croagh Patrick 2013
Mary/Michael Way Glastonbury-Avebury 2015
St Kevin's Way 2017
#79
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?

As other contributors have noted in relation to this question: a whole lot of saints DID have this legacy befall them. In the pre-Reformation British Isles there were many sites more popular than Santiago. The tomb of (and shrine to) St Thomas Beckett at Canterbury being but one (though probably the most important in the eyes of the locals: please read Geoffrey Chaucer's Prologue to "The Canterbury Tales" , for evidence of this). The problem is that in these geographical British lsles the then ruler, King Henry VIII, outlawed pilgrimage on pain of death and had all shrines demolished. This is why, if you go to Canterbury cathedral today you only see a (perpetual) candle alight on the tiled floor behind the high altar. This is the spot where the tomb/shrine of St Thomas stood after it had been moved from its original position (which was the place where the saint was actually murdered) until King Henry's agents destroyed it.

The same fate befell the remains of St Swithin in Winchester cathedral (a pilgrimage route is still in operation between these two sacred sites today) but in 1962, one thousand years after his death, the cathedral community erected a new and modern shrine to him (without the remains, obviously).
 

Barbara06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Pamplona (2011-14)
VDLP (2015)
Portuguese (2015)
Francigena (2016)
Primitivo (2017)
#80
...
And are most people doing the camino because of st james remains and reverance within christianity?
Why did other saints not have the same pilgrimage legacy befall upon them?
A lot of questions but just wondering!!
No, most people do not do the camino because of St James remains, nor to do with christianity. They do the caminos de Santiago mainly because :
- It is the only place in the world where you can walk for many days on and have every night a very cheap place to sleep.
- You have the opportunaty to meet many people and make friends. Many even crave for a "camino family". (That is why the Camino Frances is the most popular)
- There exists many guide books and waymarks, so you just need to follow easily your guide with the comfort of not getting lost

The caminos or other ways which have less cheap albergues, less fellow people to meet and less or no guide books attract much less people.
The other saints do not attract pilgrims as for many there has not been these cheap albergues put on the way so you must spend more money or carry a heavy tent.

The question still remains to why did these albergues etc.. pop up for Saint James and not for the other saints. Is it because St James established the Christian religion in the Iberian Peninsula, and thus maybe stopped the Moorish religion from spreading in Europe and we are very grateful for this or is it because the Spanish people realised that it was commercially interesting to have many people walking, sleeping and eating in their towns and villages ?...
 

F100

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
NONE
#81
I walked for religious reasons and when I completed the form to receive my certificate, I was 2nd from bottom on the list. Just 2 others had ticked ‘religious reasons’
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#82
most people do not do the camino because of St James remains, nor to do with christianity.
i respectfully disagree with you. Last year 43% cited religious reasons for their pilgrimage. I think that means they were motivated by St. James whether they were Catholic or not. With 44% of the pilgrims coming from Spain, I am betting on a Catholic motivation. Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Brazil contributed another 36%, and I am betting they, too, were Catholic. That add up to 80% of the pilgrims, and many of the others may have been motivated by St. James. Only 9% of the pilgrims listed athletic or other secular reasons for their undertaking. A bit larger than the religious group, the "religious and spiritual" group was 47% of the pilgrims.

A poster often found in French churches says (approximately): 90% of the French are baptized in the Catholic Church; 90% are married in the Catholic Church; only 10% go to church. The poster ends with a plea to go to church...

So it would not be surprising if the French listed "religious or spiritual" as their motivation rather than "religious" keeping the statistics from being mathematically reconcilable.

Regardless, I think St. James has a lot to do with the motivation of pilgrims.

The question still remains to why did these albergues etc.. pop up for Saint James and not for the other saints.
Albergues are frequent on all the routes ending at the Cathedral. Other feeder routes have gites and albergues in proportion to the demand. I am not aware of other saints as an end point for a pilgrimage. I think they get their adoration by religious folks with cars. Without backpacking pilgrims, there would be no need for albergues!!:)
 

Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
#83
Frankfurt acquired the top of St. Bartholomews skull around 1150 and amazingly his birthday matched up well with their autumn market at the end of August. Funny how that worked. It is on display rather often. I would say most churches in the middle ages had some sort of relic and these items were a hot commodity at markets. Many archbishops prided themselves on their collections. They are rather macabre when you see all of them together. Hands, feet, legs, skulls, or whole bodies. Highly decorated with gold cloth, jewels and lace.

Because one of the major trade routes in Germany runs through Frankfurt, it also attracted a lot of pilgrims walking to Jerusalem and to Santiago. They recently found an altar in St. Leonhards church with scallop shells behind it and there is a St. Jakobs portal and a Jerusalem portal, all dating from about 1219. Pilgrim statues in front of the church indicate its' importance on the route through Germany. There are 3 other churches here that are part of the route.

There are other smaller, shorter pilgrim routes here, that seem to be increasing in popularity. The Bonafatious route and the Elizabethan (St. Elizabeth of Thuringen) route, as well as the Luther route which was popular last year with lots of marketing.
Books are rapidly being written about the Jakobsweg in Germany and the sports stores usually have a whole shelf dedicated just for those. There certainly are not the albergues here, but youth hostels are widely available. I find way markings in the most random places sometimes. In churches, by castles, in small towns. It has piqued my interest in this portion of the way. German groups are working on getting the way marked through cities.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#84
St. Leonhard's church with scallop shells behind it and there is a St. Jakob's portal and a Jerusalem portal, all dating from about 1219. Pilgrim statues in front of the church indicate its' importance on the route through Germany.
Fascinating, thank you. I'll certainly try to visit when I'm in the area.

What I find funny bordering on weird is the current attitude to reduce medieval pilgrimage history to the pilgrimage to Santiago and ignore the fact that France and the South of today's Germany were dotted with churches dedicated to Saint James and many more pilgrims travelled to these sites than to Santiago. Of course Frankfurt, a major trade centre bang in the middle, was on the road to Santiago! Frankfurt was on the road to pretty much everywhere :).

And a Luther Pilgrim's Path ... oh-oh ;); but I know how the EKD justifies it and understand that they, too, want to jump on the camino bandwagon and so they've taken yesteryear's pilgrimages to the site of relics that were frequently attacked and criticised by their founder and remodelled them into today's "praying with your feet" exercises. The "Pilgrim's Portal" of Saint Leonhard's is now renamed to "Saint James' Portal". The pilgrims who went to Rome don't even get a mention in the official blurb. And so some people wrongly believe nowadays that the medieval charity institutions (hospitals, also known as albergues) were invented in Spain and served only the pilgrims on their way to Santiago.
 
Last edited:

Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
#85
It has always been called the "Jakobs Portal" in St. Leonhards as St. James is depicted in it, with scallop shells.
 

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Barbara06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Pamplona (2011-14)
VDLP (2015)
Portuguese (2015)
Francigena (2016)
Primitivo (2017)
#87
... Regardless, I think St. James has a lot to do with the motivation of pilgrims.

....I am not aware of other saints as an end point for a pilgrimage. I think they get their adoration by religious folks with cars. Without backpacking pilgrims, there would be no need for albergues!!:)

You are maybe right, but when I walk on caminos I discuss with pilgrims about St James and most don't even seem to know what he has done so it's difficult to imagine that they have come from so far and are walking for weeks just in worship for him


You could also say the reverse : Without albergues the backpacking pilgrims don't go that way

Also in discussing with pilgrims I have heard many times some say that they would like to go on another way but they don't go because there are no albergues, they also say that if one day more albergues will get built, then they might go.. and they are right, it is so much easier to travel with a backpack when you know you will have a well located and cheap place to sleep every night
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#88
IMHO it´s not the albergues that make the Camino so popular. It´s the people who run them, especially the non-profit, low-cost albergues staffed by volunteers.
The tradition of donativo is a bizarre notion to Capitalists, but this "something for nothing" ideal is a living example of Grace, the linchpin of Christian belief. People who give their time and labor to help other pilgrims make the trip are what makes the albergue system work, and makes the Camino unique. Sacrifice, selflessness, even suffering are all considered quaint or somehow neurotic among "up to date" hikers, but after a period of contemplating, you will see how they´re part and parcel to the pilgrimage experience -- and the Christian ethos that built these pathways.
Volunteer hospitaleros are the beating heart of the Camino de Santiago. Without them, it´s just another pretty hike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#89
The tradition of donativo is a bizarre notion to Capitalists, but this "something for nothing" ideal is a living example of Grace, the linchpin of Christian belief. People who give their time and labor to help other pilgrims make the trip are what makes the albergue system work, and makes the Camino unique. Sacrifice, selflessness, even suffering are all considered quaint or somehow neurotic among "up to date" hikers, but after a period of contemplating, you will see how they´re part and parcel to the pilgrimage experience -- and the Christian ethos that built these pathways.
Volunteer hospitaleros are the beating heart of the Camino de Santiago. Without them, it´s just another pretty hike.
How do I love this? I cannot count the 'likes.' [Apologies to EBB for plagiarism, it just came out...]
Generosity and kindness are subversive these days. And the Camino is a hotbed of the resistance.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#90
and most don't even seem to know what he has done so it's difficult to imagine that they have come from so far and are walking for weeks just in worship for him
I was actually once praying (kneeling) to St James when someone actually tapped me on the shoulder.... ‘What are you doing this for’ , who is he? What is all this about?’
I was so shocked.
 

Barbara06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Pamplona (2011-14)
VDLP (2015)
Portuguese (2015)
Francigena (2016)
Primitivo (2017)
#92
IMHO it´s not the albergues that make the Camino so popular. It´s the people who run them, especially the non-profit, low-cost albergues staffed by volunteers.
The tradition of donativo is a bizarre notion to Capitalists, but this "something for nothing" ideal is a living example of Grace, the linchpin of Christian belief. People who give their time and labor to help other pilgrims make the trip are what makes the albergue system work, and makes the Camino unique. Sacrifice, selflessness, even suffering are all considered quaint or somehow neurotic among "up to date" hikers, but after a period of contemplating, you will see how they´re part and parcel to the pilgrimage experience -- and the Christian ethos that built these pathways.
Volunteer hospitaleros are the beating heart of the Camino de Santiago. Without them, it´s just another pretty hike.
Of course that a low-cost albergue would not be one without the staff volunteers.
Yes, the tradition of donativo is a bizarre notion to Capitalists but they seem to appreciate it a lot...
There is often a confusion concerning donativos, it is not "something for nothing" it is "something for what you can give in exchange" : donativo does not mean "free", it means you give a present of your appreciation in exchange. Unfortunatly many (capitalists ?) with this confusion have used these albergues for free without realising they have a cost. Even if the staff are vonlunteers, someone has to pay for the sheets, electricity, water, maintenance, etc.. (who pays ?) That is why many donativos have become now with a fixed price (which still remains low) because too many people have abused of this system.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#93
most don't even seem to know what he has done
No one knows what he has done! Anecdotes abound, but the evidence that he even traveled to Spain is sketchy. Beyond being decapitated by Herod, almost everything is speculation. Almost no one still argues that the bones in the Cathedral crypt are those of St. James.

Unfortunatly many (capitalists ?) with this confusion have used these albergues for free
Do you have evidence that the freeloaders are capitalists? While it is possible that the owners and operators of the commercial albergues could be described as capitalists, to do so you would have to describe all non-government businesses as capitalist, even farmers and clergy. That seems to be a rather large group to disparage by using the loaded term "Capitalist." So so if you want, but you may not get a lot of support. After all, many of these hospitaleros are homeowners operating the albergue in unused portions of a home that may have been in the family for generations.
 

Barbara06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Pamplona (2011-14)
VDLP (2015)
Portuguese (2015)
Francigena (2016)
Primitivo (2017)
#94
..... Do you have evidence that the freeloaders are capitalists? While it is possible that the owners and operators of the commercial albergues could be described as capitalists, to do so you would have to describe all non-government businesses as capitalist, even farmers and clergy. That seems to be a rather large group to disparage by using the loaded term "Capitalist." So so if you want, but you may not get a lot of support. After all, many of these hospitaleros are homeowners operating the albergue in unused portions of a home that may have been in the family for generations.
If you want to understand you must take time to read the post to which my message was replying, ( that is the one I quoted from Rebekah Scott). The term Capitalist, as you will see, was not applied to the hospitaleros but to the pilgrims, but as I am not sure that this term can really be used for all pigrims, that is why I used a "?" just after the term in the parantheses
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#95
On the question about what distinguishes the Camino among pilgrim routes -

I heard an explanation from a nun early on the Frances, in the albergue at Zabalika. She referred to three great pilgrimages in the early Christian tradition. The first two were 'to' Jerusalem and 'to' Rome - ie, these were about 'the destination', and didn't involve focus on how you got there.

The third was 'The Way of St James' (El Camino de Santiago) She noted that the name of this third pilgrimage places the focus on the journey itself, ie, the pilgrims' manner of travelling, of being on the path and with others' as they go toward the end of the route.

She wasn't talking about using ancient-style sandals or sleeping on straw. It was a reference to the spiritual lessons of the gospel which directed the 'way' (ie, how) St James & the other apostles were to 'walk-the-talk' - living very simply, focusing on unselfish love, service & outreach to strangers, spreading Good News of forgiveness, trusting that (despite hardship) their needs though not necessarily their wants, would be filled by a loving God as they travelled in this 'path'.

For me her perspective revealed why it is true that the harder 'pilgrimage' begins after arrival in Santiago, ie, when taking this Way of life back home and trying to keep 'walking the path'.

It is counter-culture (and often trampled in the 'bed race' ) but one of the two big lessons of 'The Way' would in theory be to care for fellow-pilgrims as much or more than for myself.

IMHO it's easier to climb O'Cebriero backwards (or to get a camel through the eye of a needle, as the gospel says) than to give up our western secular norm of 'looking out for number one'! So going 'to' Rome or any pilgrimage destination anywhere, regardless of road or weather conditions, would seem less challenging than really achieving 'the Way of St James'.

The perspective of the nun at Zabaldika gave meaning to the small choices I faced every hour on my Camino. She never expected perfection but she honoured our effort to see that the journey is what matters.



'
I loved the sisters at Zabaldika! And I got the same history lesson there, most likely from the same sister ( but in Sept of 2015 ) ...and she made me sing How Great Thou Art during their evening payer service in the loft...it wasn't pretty, I can't sing...lol
 

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