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Whatever happened to...Diego Gelmirez?


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
If anyone is interesting in helping me do some "digging" in Santiago I am currently trying to find out what happened to the body of Diego Gelmirez, the first archbishop of Santiago who was primarily responsible for the building of the Romanesque cathedral.

You would think, being the enormously ambitious, powerful and influential man that he was, that he would have left wishes to be buried in "his" cathedral as was his first patron King Alfonso VI of Leon and Castilla. But no. No trace. Seemingly nothing written in any of the literature either English or Spanish.

Now I know that he was not very popular with the Burguers of Compostela, but you would think that his own Canons would have found a place for him? But it would appear they didn't.
What I would like to know is why not, and where was he buried (and by whom)?

Tracy Saunders
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Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
On the Xacobeo program for 2010:

Santiago e Europa. La Historia de Diego Xelmirez. International travelling exhibition about the Galician bishop who played a key role in building Romanesque Europe.

•Paris: Musée des Monuments Français (March to May)
•Rome: Braccio di Carlomagno, Piazza di San Pietro (June to August)
•Santiago de Compostela: (September and October)

And, a novel:
A novela da viaxe histórica que o bispo Diego Xélmirez realizou a Roma no ano 1104. A romaría de Xelmírez pertence á serie de novelas historicas que Otero publicou entre 1930 ...

And a biography (or 2)

A vida e o tempo de Diego Xelmírez / R. A. Fletcher, translation from Henrique Monteagudo and María Xesús Lama
Authors: Monteagudo, Henrique / Lama, M ª Xesús / Fletcher, R. A
Publication: Vigo: Galaxy, Cop. 1993
Subjects: Xelmírez, Diego - Biography

Diego Gelmírez
by Anselm Gordon Biggs.
Series: Catholic University of America, studies in medieval history
Language: English
Pagination: 398p. ;
Subject: Gelmírez, Diego, — d. 1140.


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
I was surprised that I was not able to find anything in my library about him. In that he died on the eve before Easter while at Santiago, I am surprised that he is not buried there. What in intriguing hunt for an answer.


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
Thanks, Sil, for the info. The Life and Times of Diego Gelmirez is available online in English at The Library of Iberian Resources and what a fascinating read it is. I am trying to find the Gordon Biggs work but so far with not much success.
Michael: I am convinced that Diego dying on Easter Eve was just another example of the stage managing that he was so good at. Only he could "one up" the resurrection!
If you think this is intriguing, just wait til you read about how he stole (um...sorry..."translated") the relics from Braga right under the bishop's nose! You gotta love the man. See blog next week...
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