A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Camino Forum Store

Advertisement

Making one's own Credential

W

Walter1407

Guest
#1
In 2015 I plan to walk from Zurich in Switzerland to Santiago and to the Atlantic coast, and then back. I expect to spend about 200 days walking.
I want to use a single credential, i.e. have all my stamps in a single booklet. As far as I know nothing like this is available. So I would like to make my own credential. I can have it stamped and I think "authorised" by a Camino organisation in Zurich (their own credentials are the folding type and provide space for 40 stamps only).
In recent months I have seen several claims online that credentials must be issued by authorised organisations, and they need to have certain features to be accepted in Santiago. I want to avoid not getting a Compostela after three months of walk, or discussions on the issue.
Does anyone know with certainty what the practice at the Santiago pilgrim office is? Has anyone in 2014 been able to use a self-made credential to obtain his/her Compostela?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Advertisment

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
Hi, walter,
What I can say is based on my own experience working at the pilgrims office as a volunteer, which was last May for two weeks. We gave compostelas to people with all sorts of credenciales, in fact we every now and then gave a compostela to people who had lost their credencial but had lots of independent corroboration of their walk. I think the recent talk about "unofficial" compostelas being rejected has to do with some tour operators who handle large groups and have been making their own and thus avoiding a contribution to the cathedral. But I have never seen anyone with any kind of credencial, official or unofficial, being told that his/her credencial was invalid for purposes of the compostela. So, no I don't have total certainty on this question, but I can also say that knowing the office staff, I would be totally stunned and incredulous if someone with proof of walking for 200 days were to be told, sorry, no compostela for you. I'm as close to certainty as I can possibly be on this without having any actual statement from the pilgrims' office itself. But if you are still concerned, the pilgrims' office does have a telephone (I know because I received a phone call there from a forum member while I was volunteering :)), so you might try that. Or, of course, when JohnnieWalker returns from Japan, if he comes back onto the forum, he can tell you with certainty.
 
W

Walter1407

Guest
#3
Hi, walter,
What I can say is based on my own experience working at the pilgrims office as a volunteer, which was last May for two weeks. We gave compostelas to people with all sorts of credenciales, in fact we every now and then gave a compostela to people who had lost their credencial but had lots of independent corroboration of their walk. I think the recent talk about "unofficial" compostelas being rejected has to do with some tour operators who handle large groups and have been making their own and thus avoiding a contribution to the cathedral. But I have never seen anyone with any kind of credencial, official or unofficial, being told that his/her credencial was invalid for purposes of the compostela. So, no I don't have total certainty on this question, but I can also say that knowing the office staff, I would be totally stunned and incredulous if someone with proof of walking for 200 days were to be told, sorry, no compostela for you. I'm as close to certainty as I can possibly be on this without having any actual statement from the pilgrims' office itself. But if you are still concerned, the pilgrims' office does have a telephone (I know because I received a phone call there from a forum member while I was volunteering :)), so you might try that. Or, of course, when JohnnieWalker returns from Japan, if he comes back onto the forum, he can tell you with certainty.
Thanks a lot, Peregrina!
This is good enough for me. I will get some sort of authorisation for my pilgrim pass from the pilgrim office of the Zurich "Jakobskirche" (German for Santiago Church). Should this still not be good enough, I'll go on hunger strike in front of Santiago Cathedral.o_O But basing on your reply I am highly confident that this won't be necessary.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#4
I'll go on hunger strike in front of Santiago Cathedral.o_O
The credential also gets you into albergues, so you might starve long before Santiago!:)

The Credencial
The Credencial (pilgrim’s passport) is the successor to the “documents of safe conduct” given to medieval pilgrims. Nowadays there is only one official Credencial issued and recognised by the Pilgrims’ Office. It is available by applying in person from the Pilgrims’ Office or from other organisations authorised to distribute the official Credencial, such as Churches, Amigos groups, albergues etc. In some countries other than Spain voluntary organisations such as Confraternities who support the pilgrimage to Santiago have been permitted to supply their own Credenciales.



The Credencial issued by the Cathedral is printed on card and consists of 14 panels which open out for ease of use. Above is an illustration of the first and last pages. The first page functions as a letter of recommendation and should be filled in with the pilgrim’s details by the organisation issuing it.

The Credencial also clearly states that pilgrims should obtain at least two sellos per day. You must ensure that you do this at least in the last 100 kms from the Cathedral of Santiago if you are walking or on horseback and 200 kms if you are travelling by bicycle.

There is a special space for the final stamp of the Cathedral on arrival in Santiago.

The Credencial then has panels with boxes in which sellos should be collected. These are usually collected by pilgrims in the place where they sleep such as an albergue. They can also be obtained in Churches, hostales, ayuntamientos and many other places along the routes to Santiago.

Finally, one of the pages contains the following directions for use:

  • This Credencial is only intended for use by those pilgrims who will walk, go on horseback or cycle and who desire to make the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation or at least in the spirit of searching. It is intended to identify the pilgrim. Therefore the issuing organisation must be a parish, a confraternity, Association of the Amigos of the Camino to Santiago and the like. The Credencial bestows no rights on the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: admission to those albergues which offer Christian hospitality along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.
  • The Compostela is only issued to those who have made the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation: devotonis affectul vel voti pietatis causa – motivated by devotion, a vow or piety.
  • The Compostela is also only issued to those who arrive at the Tomb of the Apostle having travelled on foot or on horseback the last 100kms, or 200kms by bicycle.
  • The Pilgrim Credencial can only be issued by the Church through its own structures: Dioceses, parishes, confraternities or other bodies authorised by the Church. This is the only way the Credencial can be obtained from the S.A.M.I. Cathedral of Santiago (Jornadas sobre el Año Santo: noviembre 1993).
  • Albergues provide simple accommodation. They do not receive grants for their upkeep and need to be sustained, cleaned and maintained. This is achieved through the contributions of pilgrims.
  • Organised groups with a support vehicle or on bicycles are asked to find alternative accommodation from the pilgrim albergues.
  • The bearer of the Credencial accepts these conditions.
Pilgrim Blessing - printed on the back of the Credencial there is a Pilgrim Blessing:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, receive this rucksack, the habit of your pilgrimage, so that, having atoned, you hasten to prostrate yourself at Saint James’ feet, where you yearn to arrive and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the help of God, who rules over the world without end. Amen.Receive this staff as support for the journey and your efforts during your pilgrimage so that you are able to overcome the hoards of enemies and thus arrive safely at Saint James’ feet and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the assent of the same God, who lives and reigns forever and ever.Amen.

(Codex Calixtinus Sermón “Veneranda dies” Li, 17 Century)

Pilgrim Prayer - printed on the map in the Credencial there is also a Pilgrim’s Prayer:

St James, Apostle, chosen among the first, you were the first to drink the cup of the Master and you are the great protector of pilgrims. Make us strong in faith and happy in hope on our pilgrim journey, following the path of Christian life, and sustain us so that we may finally reach the glory of God the Father. Amen

Where to obtain the official Pilgrims’ Credencial

From Confraternities of Santiago, from approved Associations in Spain and from approved Associations in other countries.
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
#5
Maybe this method will satisfy both sides.

1. Get an official credential.
2. Extend it into a small booklet that can accommodate 200 or more stamps.

This way it is an official credential that you would not be denied at the albergue and also the compostela and you get every stamp in one booklet.
 

Advertisment

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#6
Hola Walter - from the two replies by Falcon and Peregrina I think that "making your own" Credencial is not a problem. Just buy an exercise or note book - A5 (say 180x150mm) - then just cut out and paste in the required information page of the credencial the Camino organisation in Zurich produces. If you booklet has 25 sheets (50 pages) then there should be sufficient space for the 200 stamps. If you want to carry something larger (200x180 mm) and 100 pages (50 sheets) you could also use it as a diary. The organisations providing the stamps wont care if its a book or a folded sheet. Buen Camino.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#7
My interpretation is:

You need a credencial that is issued by a legitimate organization authorized to issue credencials. As stated in Falcon's post it gives admission to albergues and is needed to obtain the compostela.

I don't think it matters how you collect sellos. You only need sellos to prove that you have walked the distance you claim to have walked. The fact that most credencials give pages for sellos is a convenience like your passport has pages for officials to stamp as proof you have identified yourself at the border while the actual purpose of the passport is identification.

This Credencial is only intended for use by those pilgrims who will walk, go on horseback or cycle and who desire to make the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation or at least in the spirit of searching. It is intended to identify the pilgrim. Therefore the issuing organisation must be a parish, a confraternity, Association of the Amigos of the Camino to Santiago and the like. The Credencial bestows no rights on the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: admission to those albergues which offer Christian hospitality along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.
 
W

Walter1407

Guest
#8
Maybe this method will satisfy both sides.

1. Get an official credential.
2. Extend it into a small booklet that can accommodate 200 or more stamps.

This way it is an official credential that you would not be denied at the albergue and also the compostela and you get every stamp in one booklet.
Great idea! Thanks.
 
W

Walter1407

Guest
#9
My interpretation is:

I don't think it matters how you collect sellos. You only need sellos to prove that you have walked the distance you claim to have walked. The fact that most credencials give pages for sellos is a convenience like your passport has pages for officials to stamp as proof you have identified yourself at the border while the actual purpose of the passport is identification.
I want to collect stamps from every place where I stay, as a record of my pilgrimage. But my only question was how I can make sure that I get a Compostela at the end without hassles. And that has been answered nicely for me. I will make my own pass, with 10 sheets for a maximum of 240 stamps. As cover I'll use that of a recognised pilgrim pass.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#10
The credential also gets you into albergues, so you might starve long before Santiago!:)

The Credencial
The Credencial (pilgrim’s passport) is the successor to the “documents of safe conduct” given to medieval pilgrims. Nowadays there is only one official Credencial issued and recognised by the Pilgrims’ Office. It is available by applying in person from the Pilgrims’ Office or from other organisations authorised to distribute the official Credencial, such as Churches, Amigos groups, albergues etc. In some countries other than Spain voluntary organisations such as Confraternities who support the pilgrimage to Santiago have been permitted to supply their own Credenciales.



The Credencial issued by the Cathedral is printed on card and consists of 14 panels which open out for ease of use. Above is an illustration of the first and last pages. The first page functions as a letter of recommendation and should be filled in with the pilgrim’s details by the organisation issuing it.

The Credencial also clearly states that pilgrims should obtain at least two sellos per day. You must ensure that you do this at least in the last 100 kms from the Cathedral of Santiago if you are walking or on horseback and 200 kms if you are travelling by bicycle.

There is a special space for the final stamp of the Cathedral on arrival in Santiago.

The Credencial then has panels with boxes in which sellos should be collected. These are usually collected by pilgrims in the place where they sleep such as an albergue. They can also be obtained in Churches, hostales, ayuntamientos and many other places along the routes to Santiago.

Finally, one of the pages contains the following directions for use:

  • This Credencial is only intended for use by those pilgrims who will walk, go on horseback or cycle and who desire to make the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation or at least in the spirit of searching. It is intended to identify the pilgrim. Therefore the issuing organisation must be a parish, a confraternity, Association of the Amigos of the Camino to Santiago and the like. The Credencial bestows no rights on the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: admission to those albergues which offer Christian hospitality along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.
  • The Compostela is only issued to those who have made the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation: devotonis affectul vel voti pietatis causa – motivated by devotion, a vow or piety.
  • The Compostela is also only issued to those who arrive at the Tomb of the Apostle having travelled on foot or on horseback the last 100kms, or 200kms by bicycle.
  • The Pilgrim Credencial can only be issued by the Church through its own structures: Dioceses, parishes, confraternities or other bodies authorised by the Church. This is the only way the Credencial can be obtained from the S.A.M.I. Cathedral of Santiago (Jornadas sobre el Año Santo: noviembre 1993).
  • Albergues provide simple accommodation. They do not receive grants for their upkeep and need to be sustained, cleaned and maintained. This is achieved through the contributions of pilgrims.
  • Organised groups with a support vehicle or on bicycles are asked to find alternative accommodation from the pilgrim albergues.
  • The bearer of the Credencial accepts these conditions.
Pilgrim Blessing - printed on the back of the Credencial there is a Pilgrim Blessing:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, receive this rucksack, the habit of your pilgrimage, so that, having atoned, you hasten to prostrate yourself at Saint James’ feet, where you yearn to arrive and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the help of God, who rules over the world without end. Amen.Receive this staff as support for the journey and your efforts during your pilgrimage so that you are able to overcome the hoards of enemies and thus arrive safely at Saint James’ feet and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the assent of the same God, who lives and reigns forever and ever.Amen.

(Codex Calixtinus Sermón “Veneranda dies” Li, 17 Century)

Pilgrim Prayer - printed on the map in the Credencial there is also a Pilgrim’s Prayer:

St James, Apostle, chosen among the first, you were the first to drink the cup of the Master and you are the great protector of pilgrims. Make us strong in faith and happy in hope on our pilgrim journey, following the path of Christian life, and sustain us so that we may finally reach the glory of God the Father. Amen

Where to obtain the official Pilgrims’ Credencial

From Confraternities of Santiago, from approved Associations in Spain and from approved Associations in other countries.
I obtained a credential from the American pilgrims confraternity, only to find it was too small for all of my stamps! I had to get a second credencial in Leon. My husband got his credential in SJPP and it was bigger and had plenty of room.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#11
Five of us this year walked La Voie de la Nive, Camino Baztan, Camino Frances as far as Leon, Camino San Salvador, Primitivo and out to Fisterra. We had credencials I had made at home for the same reason that you want to - all stamps in one booklet. We were never denied entry into an albergue and very often people were intrigued at our unique credencials and loved the fact that we had photos on them from our first pilgrimage. My advice is to make it a bit bigger than you think you will need - we ended up finishing ours and then marking little arrows backwards through the page to empty spots where we could insert another stamp. I used card for the cover and heavy brown paper folded into sections so it can pull out like a "real" credencial for the stamps. I also pasted a map into the inside and included the usual information too.
We also collected sellos in our journals.
Special treasures.
 
W

Walter1407

Guest
#12
My advice is to make it a bit bigger than you think you will need - we ended up finishing ours and then marking little arrows backwards through the page to empty spots where we could insert another stamp. I used card for the cover and heavy brown paper folded into sections so it can pull out like a "real" credencial for the stamps.
Special treasures.
Thanks for your advice, good to know how it worked for you. I expect 200 walking days or a bit more, will have 240 or 246 spaces for stamps in my pilgrim pass.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#13
Five of us this year walked La Voie de la Nive, Camino Baztan, Camino Frances as far as Leon, Camino San Salvador, Primitivo and out to Fisterra. We had credencials I had made at home for the same reason that you want to - all stamps in one booklet.
We also collected sellos in our journals.
Special treasures.
Hi Kiwi - any chance you can post a photo of your Credencials?? I am returning to the Camino next year and am thinking that a home-made pilgrims passport and diary (all in one) is a great way to record the journey. Cheers
 

julie

Active Member
Donating Member
#14
A couple of years ago I used a hand-made credential. The person I saw at the Pilgrim Office would not put their stamp in my credential because it was not an "official" one. I don't know whether I would have been denied a Compostela because I was actually carrying two credentials, my own which was more meaningful to me and one from an organisation. I would suggest you do the same.

You can have your hand-made one stamped along the way and have both it and the official one stamped on the last 100km. That way you'll be in no doubt of being able to receive your Compostela.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#15
image.jpg front image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg back image.jpg image.jpg

If I were doing it again I would use heavier paper/card for the stamp portion - and as I say, leave enough room for two stamps every day (we ended up getting stamps at bars and churches etc along the way too)
 

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#16
I expect 200 walking days or a bit more, will have 240 or 246 spaces for stamps in my pilgrim pass.
Walter, my question is whether you would like to have all your stamps on "official" credenciales (you'll need quite a few booklets at the rate you'll be going:eek:), or whether you are worried about getting the Compostela at hand of a hand-made "credencial".
You could make up your own listing for stamps of all the places on your Camino, from beginning to end.:)
When at the required minimum distance before Santiago in order to obtain a "Compostela", you could organize an official "credencial" from a recognized institution (church, albergue, etc.) and obtain the necessary number of stamps on both this "official" document and your own listing from there onwards into Santiago.;) Honi soit qui mal y pense!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès 2012
Camino Finisterre 2012
#17
Do you really think the Lord has a problem with where you stamp is in or on?
If He accompanied you for 200 days , he will also ensure that you receive your credential in Compostella ...
And if you don't believe me, believe Him ;-)
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#18
A couple of years ago I used a hand-made credential. The person I saw at the Pilgrim Office would not put their stamp in my credential because it was not an "official" one. I don't know whether I would have been denied a Compostela because I was actually carrying two credentials, my own which was more meaningful to me and one from an organisation. I would suggest you do the same.

You can have your hand-made one stamped along the way and have both it and the official one stamped on the last 100km. That way you'll be in no doubt of being able to receive your Compostela.
Sorry, I don't mean to beat this to death, but here is a little bit more information. I know that the Pilgrims' Office will not put the cathedral stamp in something like your diary, on a postcard you want to send home, etc. (once when I was there, a pilgrim wanted a stamp in his US passport and they said no). So Julie's experience doesn't surprise me too much. That means there is a chance that the pilgrim's office staff would say that your home made credential is more like a diary than a credential and not stamp it, but I think the odds are still in your favor. In general, I would say the staff has become much more "customer oriented" in the last few years, so that also works in your favor. Kiwi family, did you get the cathedral stamp on your beautiful home-made credentials?

Whether or not they will put one stamp in your hand made credential, though, I am virtually certain you will not have a problem getting the compostela. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#19
If you are a member of CSJ UK they have official credencials. The largest has about 94 spaces and they will provide extra sheets if asked, or you can photocopy spares which you can staple into the main booklet. We have usually carried a few spare photocopied sheets as we like to collect more than the obligatory sellos - especially from churches etc that we pass. Each page has 6 good sized spaces with a line under each to record the date etc. You do not have to live in the UK to join - see details here.
 
#20
In 2015 I plan to walk from Zurich in Switzerland to Santiago and to the Atlantic coast, and then back. I expect to spend about 200 days walking.
I want to use a single credential, i.e. have all my stamps in a single booklet. As far as I know nothing like this is available. So I would like to make my own credential. I can have it stamped and I think "authorised" by a Camino organisation in Zurich (their own credentials are the folding type and provide space for 40 stamps only).
In recent months I have seen several claims online that credentials must be issued by authorised organisations, and they need to have certain features to be accepted in Santiago. I want to avoid not getting a Compostela after three months of walk, or discussions on the issue.
Does anyone know with certainty what the practice at the Santiago pilgrim office is? Has anyone in 2014 been able to use a self-made credential to obtain his/her Compostela?
Hi Walter

Take several with you. That way you will never run out an be assured that you will be honoured for you Compostela. Or, start with an official one, and then add to it with a small note book / diary, which you carry or purchase along the route.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#21
Sorry, I don't mean to beat this to death, but here is a little bit more information. I know that the Pilgrims' Office will not put the cathedral stamp in something like your diary, on a postcard you want to send home, etc. (once when I was there, a pilgrim wanted a stamp in his US passport and they said no). So Julie's experience doesn't surprise me too much. That means there is a chance that the pilgrim's office staff would say that your home made credential is more like a diary than a credential and not stamp it, but I think the odds are still in your favor. In general, I would say the staff has become much more "customer oriented" in the last few years, so that also works in your favor. Kiwi family, did you get the cathedral stamp on your beautiful home-made credentials?
Buen camino, Laurie
Yes, Laurie, we did get cathedral stamps in our credentials......(and I will even whisper that they allowed us to pop the stamp in our journals too)
 


Advertisement

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 5 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 3 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 22 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 76 16.0%
  • May

    Votes: 131 27.6%
  • June

    Votes: 37 7.8%
  • July

    Votes: 12 2.5%
  • August

    Votes: 6 1.3%
  • September

    Votes: 122 25.7%
  • October

    Votes: 53 11.2%
  • November

    Votes: 5 1.1%
  • December

    Votes: 3 0.6%
Top