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The seeing eye in the catheral in Santiago

I took a pic of the ceiling in the catheral in Santiago - the part almost directly over the butafumerio. Does anyone know/understand the significance of the "eye" ? I had not seen this in any of the catherals I had visited.



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Hi Restlessrose - the "all seeing eye of God" represented by the Eye is a common feature in religious art and iconography and appears in many Christian churches and images. In some traditions it is the Eye of Providence and appears on the back of the Great Seal of the United States - it is also associated with Freemasonary. It can also be traced back to Egyptian mythology and the Eye of Horus.It also appears in Buddhism, where Buddha is also regularly referred to as the "Eye of the World".

Had to dredge up knowledge from 30 year old Fine Arts course - thank goodness we have Google!


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I´m fascinated by the the cathedrals and the mosques, too.


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Thanks JohnnieWalker, PeterRobins

The symbol of the eye seems to be widely used :
1) in Egyptian Mythology,
2) as the Greek evil eye,
3) the eye of Bodhnath,
4) the concept of the Third Eye in Hinduism/Buddhism/martial arts
5) the Eye of Providence (which can be within a triangle, or in a pyramid)

From wiki The Eye of Providence is refered as being assicoated with Freemasonary (Knights Templar). A further search highlighted that

"The original medieval Order of Knights Templar was established after the First Crusade, and existed from approximately 1118 to 1312. There is no known historical evidence to link the medieval Knights Templar and Masonic Templarism, nor do the Masonic Knights Templar organizations claim any such direct link to the original medieval Templar organization. Though its affiliation with Masonry is based on texts that indicate persecuted Templars found refuge within the safety of Freemasonry." ... reemasonry)

From this I wonder if I may assume the symbol in the dome of the catheral in Santiago does not imply an association the medieval Knights Templar, and is simply, the eye christian symbol ... symbol.htm

There is so much to know/learn about the camino ! I feel like I am barely scratching the surface. Each time I pour over the photos, I have more questions.

Anniethenurse, I will add hindu temples too. Attached is photo taken in the Ranakpura Jain Temple in Udaipur. Arent they all fascinating and awesome ? Thank you for sharing the photo on Istanbul. A city on my list of 'must visit'.



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Was the Eye always there or was it added later? Perhaps by the architect of the cathedral Fernando de Casas?
RestlessRose said:
From this I wonder if I may assume the symbol in the dome of the catheral in Santiago does not imply an association the medieval Knights Templar, and is simply, the eye christian symbol
yes, I can't see any reason to think the Templars had anything to do with it. Offhand, I can't think of any Templar associations in Santiago itself, tho there are plenty along the Camino Frances.

I've also just had a quick look through my numerous books on Compostela and can't find any mention of this Eye anywhere, so, no, I don't know when it was put there either, tho I think the symbol is more likely to be baroque than medieval.

The German wikipedia page has a picture of an Eye in Aachen cathedral.


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I think that Peter is right and that it isn't part of the original plans drawn up by Diego Pelaez and added to by Diego Gelmirez. Certainly the cupola doesn't appear on any of the plans for the 11th/12th century Romanesque building that I have seen. Romanesque buildings were intended to be dark inside and it was a later idea to let in the light. It probably dates from the time of the installation of the Botefumeiro (?)
Fascinating though. I can't believe I never noticed it!
Trac Saunders

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