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Oldest known statute of Santiago the pilgrim, in danger

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you have walked the Camino Sanabrés you have probably gone to visit the Romanesque church in Santa Marta de Tera. It is lovely inside, but the showstopper is outside — the oldest known carving of Santiago as a pilgrim. (Even if you haven’t seen the original, you have undoubtedly seen lawn ornament type reproductions all along many different caminos).

Various camino associatios are raising an alarm, that the statue is at risk of serious harm. Here’s hoping the authorities will take action to preserve this irreplaceable piece of art.

 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
Aragones
Elizabethpfad
No Spanish here, so what is the serious harm that is threatened?
 

Frances Bat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP (June 2017)
Camino Frances Sarria (June 2018)
Camino Ingles (July 2018)
The short article posted by OP does not explain the source of the threat.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have found another article or two, both saying that there is threat of serious harm but not describing it. I assume it is the effect of centuries of being exposed to the weather, with no protection. And to my unsophisticated sculptural eye, the right hand of Santiago in that picture looks like it has lost some of its mass.

I remember when I was there, in the Casa Anita albergue (now closed I believe) about 800 m away, I could only find one other peregrina interested enough to walk over in the afternoon and see the church and the statue. What? You’d rather drink a beer downtown than walk to a 12th century church with the oldest known statue of Santiago the pilgrim????? Don’t miss it. The architecture of the church itself is amazing, though “remodeled” in places. Inside I remember a capital that was thought to be Christ ascending with several angels on both sides.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
We had a guided tour. The lady spoke Spanish and French and a little English so she gave a commentary in a mix of all three languages. :D It was lovely, and I wouldn't have missed it!
 

Jeff Titelius

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
If you have walked the Camino Sanabrés you have probably gone to visit the Romanesque church in Santa Marta de Tera. It is lovely inside, but the showstopper is outside — the oldest known carving of Santiago as a pilgrim. (Even if you haven’t seen the original, you have undoubtedly seen lawn ornament type reproductions all along many different caminos).

Various camino associatios are raising an alarm, that the statue is at risk of serious harm. Here’s hoping the authorities will take action to preserve this irreplaceable piece of art.

Incredible! I am with you as well. Do you the age of the statue?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Doing a little more searching, I have found a description of some of the damage.

https://viadelaplataelcamino.blogspot.com/2019/01/el-santiago-peregrino-de-santa-marta-de.html

In this blog post from January of this year, the author describes how the Bishop of Astorga has been calling out for repairs for more than three years now. Calls have fallen on deaf ears. Apparently what has given rise to the most recent clamor has been the discovery of about 6 holes filled with insects building their nests inside the statue. You can see little pieces of rock that they bring out of the statue to enlarge their nest space. These growing holes will capture water, and in connection with the low temperatures the destructive work is on auto pilot. (I assume that refers to the problem with multiple sequences of freeze and thaw, sort of like the pothole problem I have in my town).

I surely hope that steps are taken, this must be a pretty high priority in Camino circles!
 

p_mci

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Inglés, Portugués (2014) Norte, Primitivo (2015) Vía de la Plata (2017) Mozárabe (2018)
Santa Marta de Tera is a very memorable stop with a pristine albergue de peregrinos! I remember feeling very productive that evening because we saw the statue, visited the church and took the tour too. Surely they can remove the statue and display it safely inside so it can be viewed as part of the tour.
 

Frances Bat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP (June 2017)
Camino Frances Sarria (June 2018)
Camino Ingles (July 2018)
This thread has got me thinking - what if when we collect our compostelas, maybe we could be asked if we want to make a voluntary donation to some kind of National restoration fund, suggested sum 5 eur. This is the moment when a lot of people would be happy to make a contribution that could be used in areas that get less pilgrims or need urgent restoration work.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
Lets find out who actually owns this church repairwise and see what is needed for this statue to be safer and maybe then we could think about contributing to it?

Peregrine do you speak Spanish sufficient to make a contact os is there some one out there willing to help language wise?
I wrote the alcalde and asked if this is true and if he has an idea how I could support his community with preserving this pilgrim. I will post if he replays.
 

Paul J W

Member
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)
Sad situation to read of the deterioration of this iconic statue.
Well remember seeing, in Santa Marta de Tera, the C12th Romanesque church, with the famous C11th Santiago statue in the south portal - pictured on the front cover of Alison Rahu’s excellent guide.
Before crossing the Rio Tera wife and I had stayed, as the only pilgrims, at Casa Anita’s (in Santa Croya de Tera) very shortly after it had opened in April 2004. We were made exceptionally welcome and her husband insisted on taking us to his bodega to “sample” his wine!
So sorry to hear also of the closure of this accommodation.
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : Levante Sept 2019
That was statue on the picture on the guide (ciccerone by Alison raju, ) i believe I took when I did the vdpl in 2014, I remember looking forward to seeing it I person. I hope it gets the attention it needs.
 

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