• Missing the daily forum e-mail? Subscribe again.
  • All Wise Pilgrim Guides now come with a free Finisterre/Muxia Guide.
    Order online or pick one up at Casa Ivar in Santiago if that is easier.
A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

What can you do in the Cathedral now

peterbells

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in September 2018 (Sarria to Santiago)
#1
I know that you can no longer put your hand on the particular statute, but have also found references in the past to touching your head against a statute and also holding a statute. Are these still allowed and if so which statutes? I have tried to find answers without success so if anyone can advise or provide a link that would be much appreciated. For me this will be a pilgrimage and potentially the only time I will ever visit Santiago as a pilgrim so if there are any things that pilgrims are meant to do it would be nice to know.
Many thanks
Peter
 

Advertisment

SRutledge

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
plan to walk in 2018
#2
You are permitted to hug the statue of Saint James high up in the cathedral. I cannot speak about anything else.
 
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2018
#4
Hello @peterbells Above the high altar is a statue of St. James. Behind the altar on the right side (when facing the altar) is a small staircase. Climb the stairs and on the top landing you will find yourself directly behind the statue where you can hug it. I believe this staircase is open any time the cathedral is open - even during mass! Near the staircase to the statue is another staircase that leads down to the crypt and the silver box that is said to contain the remains of St. James.

As mentioned by @Peter Fransiscus as well, the Cathedral Museum and Roof Top tour is wonderful (also a visit to Pilgrim House pilgrimhousesantiago.com) A special place to visit at the end of your pilgrimage, for coffee and conversation in the afternoon with other forum members is Egeria House, the home of S.Yates. Information about her open house times can be found at egeria.house

The Pilgrim Museum in the Praza das Praterias (next to the Cathedral) is also worth a visit.

To really experience a special atmosphere of Santiago, walk the streets at dawn and visit the Cathedral when it first opens in the morning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#5
I know that you can no longer put your hand on the particular statute, but have also found references in the past to touching your head against a statute and also holding a statute.
@peterbells, you are referring to rituals that visitors to the Santiago Cathedral, and not just long-distance foot pilgrims, performed in the past. Not as distant a past as many assume, btw. Of these rituals, only hugging the Apostle is possible, ie touching a half statue of Saint James from behind, after climbing a few steps to reach the place. It has been described in previous replies.

Putting the palm of your hand on a specific place on a particular column, or knocking your head on another specific column or putting your hands into openings in yet another place on a particular column are no longer possible and have not been allowed for several years. These were performed in an area of the Cathedral that is known as Portico of Glory. This area is not accessible from the general Cathedral area but can only be reached through a specific door. The rules for access to this restricted area are subject to change, you will have to check upon your arrival in Santiago but you can only view not touch. Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

Advertisment

Niels

camino mi privio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte and Camino Primotivo in 2016 + Santiago to Muxia; Camino Frances in 2018.
#6
I know that you can no longer put your hand on the particular statute, but have also found references in the past to touching your head against a statute and also holding a statute. Are these still allowed and if so which statutes? I have tried to find answers without success so if anyone can advise or provide a link that would be much appreciated. For me this will be a pilgrimage and potentially the only time I will ever visit Santiago as a pilgrim so if there are any things that pilgrims are meant to do it would be nice to know.
Many thanks
Peter
Do take the rooftop tour, but be prepared, that the only language spoken might be Spanish. The three of us were the only non-Spanish speaking persons, but the guide was kind enough to give us a brief summary in English. The Portico de la Gloria has recently been restored and now has reopened to the public. But no touch and no hug. And the only way to see it, is to wait in line for 90 minutes - one month ago - but there probably won't be that many off season. It's open from 8 - 21, and you're allowed to enter in groups of 25 with 15 minutes to each group. But believe me, I've heard it should be amazing. Still, I wasn't prepared for it would be that beautiful and unique. It was closed on my first Camino, but it certainly was a highlight on my second, I wouldn't have missed for the world. It was 15 minutes of pure dazzling delight. Go for it! And buen Camino.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#7
Any one visiting London can of course still put their hand in the hand print on the tree and bump heads with Master Mateo in Gallery 46A of the Victoria & Albert Museum. OK, so its not the actual Portico de la Gloria, its just the cast taken in 1867 and reflecting medieval rather than 20th century wear & tear. Oh, and I'd probably choose a moment when the gallery attendant is distracted by a school-party, but hey.

You can also get to see Trajans column in far more detail than you ever can in Rome. That cast was also taken in the 1860's before traffic pollution started eating the marble.

As for you @peterbells if you walk as a pilgrim and arrive as a pilgrim with hope and faith in your heart you will have done all that a pilgrim has to do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in September 2018 (Sarria to Santiago)
#8
Hello @peterbells Above the high altar is a statue of St. James. Behind the altar on the right side (when facing the altar) is a small staircase. Climb the stairs and on the top landing you will find yourself directly behind the statue where you can hug it. I believe this staircase is open any time the cathedral is open - even during mass! Near the staircase to the statue is another staircase that leads down to the crypt and the silver box that is said to contain the remains of St. James.

As mentioned by @Peter Fransiscus as well, the Cathedral Museum and Roof Top tour is wonderful (also a visit to Pilgrim House pilgrimhousesantiago.com) A special place to visit at the end of your pilgrimage, for coffee and conversation in the afternoon with other forum members is Egeria House, the home of S.Yates. Information about her open house times can be found at egeria.house

The Pilgrim Museum in the Praza das Praterias (next to the Cathedral) is also worth a visit.

To really experience a special atmosphere of Santiago, walk the streets at dawn and visit the Cathedral when it first opens in the morning.
Thank you for your information, appreciated. I do also especially wish to see where the remains of St James are held as the church I attend is called St James. I have booked an extra day in Santiago after finishing the walk before flying home and will try to be out and about early!
Buen Camino
Peter
 

Camino3

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#11
I suggest going early in the morning to hug the statue which is above the altar. I saw a lot of people going there before, during, after mass but this means you have less time to spend. Obviously, it is only a statue. On the other hand, after many days of walking and arriving there in one piece, just probably slightly sore and limping, it is very nice to offer a moment of thanks to St James. We went early morning, no queue and one could spend a good minute hugging the saint if one wishes.

Even more special is the visit to the tomb. It seems that not as many people went down to the crypt and if they did during peak hours, it was usually just a procession. We visited early morning, no line and we could spend a few minutes praying before the tomb. Went there again the next day.

There is a small chapel to the Our Lady of Sorrows where English mass is celebrated every morning. If I recall correctly, facing the altar, it will be to your left, the first chapel.

Confession is available in many languages and there is an English-speaking priest available.

If the timing is right, you might be able to see the Botafumeiro swinging. It is impressive.

Also take note of the blocks forming the walls and pillars. You will see some symbols and apparently this one was carved by the masons building the cathedral, to keep track of who contributed each stone and get paid accordingly.
 
#12
Do take the rooftop tour, but be prepared, that the only language spoken might be Spanish. The three of us were the only non-Spanish speaking persons, but the guide was kind enough to give us a brief summary in English. The Portico de la Gloria has recently been restored and now has reopened to the public. But no touch and no hug. And the only way to see it, is to wait in line for 90 minutes - one month ago - but there probably won't be that many off season. It's open from 8 - 21, and you're allowed to enter in groups of 25 with 15 minutes to each group. But believe me, I've heard it should be amazing. Still, I wasn't prepared for it would be that beautiful and unique. It was closed on my first Camino, but it certainly was a highlight on my second, I wouldn't have missed for the world. It was 15 minutes of pure dazzling delight. Go for it! And buen Camino.
You are in Spain and spanish spoken in many countries
 

OLDER threads on this topic



A few items available from the Camino Forum Store



Pilgrims here right now

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

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 8 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 32 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 106 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 172 24.6%
  • June

    Votes: 51 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 14 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 201 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 85 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top