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When was James the Apostle Canonized as a Saint? What were his miracles?

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I am busy writing a historical novel set in the year 814 about the first pilgrimage of Alfonso II to the burial site of James the Apostle. When the headless body was discovered in the Roman Cemetery in the year 814, James was not yet a Saint.
Two post mortem miracles are required for Sainthood and since his body was hidden these could not have occurred until his body was found.
Wikipedea list the Canonization date of Saint James as "Pre-Congregation" or before 1100 AD when the process was formalized by the Catholic Church. My understanding is that Bishops were naming Saints at the time. Was it Bishop Teodomiro who recorded the miracles required for Sainthood and what were those miracles? After 1100 the Pope had the final determination of Sainthood.
The other requirements are that the candidate led an "exemplary life of goodness and virtue worthy of imitation". As one of Jesus Christs' most trusted Apostles this certainly would have been the case.
The death of a martyr is also highly regarded in the question of Sainthood and James was in fact the very first martyr. All but one of the Apostles died a martyr's death. So James the Fisherman became Saint James some time after 814 but before 1100. Does anyone know more about the details?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
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Your nearest university library will have the answers you seek. Ask a reference librarian - they'll point you in the right direction.

Or failing that, a deep dive into the internet.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
Maybe apostles are saints anyway without needing to be specially canonized. When did canonizing start?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
In addition, he was martyred, and I understand that those that died for their faith as martyrs were venerated as witnesses to their faith. There was no requirement for the performance of miracles to prove their case for beatification and canonisation.

The Catholic Encyclopedia seems to suggest the doctrine on martyrdom might not have been settled until the fourth century, so how it was applied to St James isn't clear to me from a quick read.
 

daesdaemar

Camino-holic
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles - twice
I am busy writing a historical novel set in the year 814 about the first pilgrimage of Alfonso II to the burial site of James the Apostle. When the headless body was discovered in the Roman Cemetery in the year 814, James was not yet a Saint.
Two post mortem miracles are required for Sainthood and since his body was hidden these could not have occurred until his body was found.
Wikipedea list the Canonization date of Saint James as "Pre-Congregation" or before 1100 AD when the process was formalized by the Catholic Church. My understanding is that Bishops were naming Saints at the time. Was it Bishop Teodomiro who recorded the miracles required for Sainthood and what were those miracles? After 1100 the Pope had the final determination of Sainthood.
The other requirements are that the candidate led an "exemplary life of goodness and virtue worthy of imitation". As one of Jesus Christs' most trusted Apostles this certainly would have been the case.
The death of a martyr is also highly regarded in the question of Sainthood and James was in fact the very first martyr. All but one of the Apostles died a martyr's death. So James the Fisherman became Saint James some time after 814 but before 1100. Does anyone know more about the details?
Stephen is considered the first martyr in Christianity.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I have not access to a library right now, but I understand that initially there was an informal celebration and veneration of the martyrs, and this slowly evolved to became, in the IV century, a form of worshipping, promoted by bishops and public fame. And that remained so until in the XI century the popes established the formal canonization process. So, probably there was never a process and proclamation of Saint James sainthood; it was established consensually since remote times.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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@Felipe is substantially correct. Veneration of martyrs' relics appears to have been spontaneous. When it was possible, their bodies were taken from the place of martyrdom and buried in a crypt or building and services were held from that time. There are a number of Greek and Italian churches built on martyrs' tombs and where worship has been held ever since. Martyrdom itself appears to have been enough proof and no process was required.

In terms of your novel, apostles were considered saints from the first. Canonization was local and spontaneous for many centuries and did not begin to be formalized until about a thousand years ago. Accordingly, the proofs required in papal decisions, and the process involved, are all (relatively) fairly recent, and not relevant to your novel. They still don't apply in the Orthodox world.

We also need to remember that the Greek ἁγιος/ἁγια and the Latin sanctus/a were adjectives and not titles, as we use the term Saint. Historical novelists always have to be wary of anachronism, of using contemporary forms, in recreating the past. (A now-deceased clerical acquaintance was in retirement a consultant for film-makers and made a whack of money correcting mediaeval weddings etc).
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
It looks like I will have to rewrite the beginning to Chapter 23, since it is now clear to me that I was falling into the trap of an anachronism. Thank you Oursonpolaire and Felipe for your insights which made me realize that I was searching for a "formal" canonization event which likely never happened. It is why my internet search for a canonization date came up with "Pre-Congregation" and not an actual date.

Furthermore, it now is clear to me that any post-mortem miracles were more important to Alfonso II and Bishop Teomodiro as indicators of identity of the person in the unmarked grave, than as proof of Sainthood. The history I have read indicates that there was no headstone marking the site, nor was there an inscription on the cupea (barrel vault covering). There were no possessions inside the sarcophagus which might be clues as to the ethnicity or profession of the deceased. No Roman coins which might help to date the remains. However, when miraculous occurrences (sweet smell of roses opening the sarcophagus) and miracle cures of those touching the relic began to occur, King Alfonso and Bishop Teomodiro could conclude that the identity of the relic, had to be a Saint. Only a Saint could perform such miracles from the grave.

As a historical novelist the "detective story" of determining who it was buried in the Roman Cemetery is something I want to play up, since it provide literary suspense!

Of course the biggest clue is that King Alfonso and Bishop Teomodiro have found a be-headed skeleton. How many Saints were beheaded and then buried in Galicia? This pretty much narrows it down to the final determination that it was Saint James as I try to re-create the logic the two men must have considered.

Of course it all may have been a foregone conclusion for the two men, since the tenuous political situation of the Christians in Galicia/Asturias/Leon/Kingdom of Pamplona vis-a-vis the Caliphate of Cordova demanded this "patron Saint".

The fact that Romans cremated their dead and that interments were rare in the first century was not considered by the King and the Bishop and they likely would not have even know this fact.
It wasn't until the end of the second or the beginning of the third century that burial in the Roman Empire became the more common practice. Nor was the fact that the barrel-shaped cupea was more typical of a third or forth century burial in Iberia at the time. A modern archaeologist would say the grave site as described would have been most typical of a third/forth century grave and not likely one from the time of Christ.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
However, when miraculous occurrences (sweet smell of roses opening the sarcophagus) and miracle cures of those touching the relic began to occur, King Alfonso and Bishop Teomodiro could conclude that the identity of the relic, had to be a Saint. Only a Saint could perform such miracles from the grave.
I don't think there are any contemporaneous accounts of this happening, are there?
Of course the biggest clue is that King Alfonso and Bishop Teomodiro have found a be-headed skeleton. How many Saints were beheaded and then buried in Galicia?
I think that Priscillian is a strong contender. A forum member posted a lot about this in the earlier days of the forum and wrote a book about it.

Anyway, make something up long after the facts had happened 😊 - that is in the best centuries-old Jacobean and narrative tradition.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Anyway, make something up long after the facts had happened 😊 - that is in the best centuries-old Jacobean and narrative tradition.
Actually the fact that there is almost nothing recorded about Alfonso II or about his First Pilgrimage from Oviedo to the Roman cemetery has allowed me a great deal of literary license to re-create the events.

Charlemagne died in 814, the same year as the discovery of Saint James, and because he had two biographers there is a ton of information about the Frankish King - but almost nothing about the Asturian King Alfonso II.
Both men had long reigns and both oversaw much building of Churches. But there is almost no information about the personal life, likes and dislikes of Alfonso "The Chaste". The Benedictine Monastery at Samos where he was born/raised seems to have the most information, but they did not respond to my queries and I do not speak Spanish.

This is my recreation of the King:

At forty-six years old, the King was a physically imposing man in his prime. Alfonso wore his beard short and trim and his auburn hair long and flowing in the manner of Visigoth nobility. He wore linen breeches and a linen shirt covered over by a tunic fringed with embroidered silk. On his feet were banded hose and laced-up shoes of soft hand-sewn leather cured with calf’s brains. And the short seax sword that he carried on his hip had a silver inlay throughout and a large ruby embedded into the hilt.

Over his broad shoulders he wore a magnificent blue cloak. Just like Charlemagne, the man Alfonso respected and admired more than any other, he also wore an amulet with a splinter from the “True Cross” of Christ around his neck.

But he never wore a crown. And he never married. Later chroniclers of the reigns of the Kings of Asturias would refer to him as “Alfonso the Chaste”. Having been raised by the Benedictine monks at the Monastery of Samos, he would order his daily life much in the same manner as the monks, observing the ritual of the daily cycle of the Divine Office.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Both men had long reigns and both oversaw much building of Churches
Erm ... a bold guess: Charlemagne from the Frankish Empire founded a lot more churches and gave them a financial start-up push than Alfonso from the kingdom of Asturias ☺? As to the biographies: I remember that I actually looked up what Einhard wrote about the last battle and death of the guy from the North of France aka Roland. A single line or two, that's all. Very disappointing. And are Saint James and Compostela even mentioned in these two biographies? Anyway, best of luck for your novel - will Charlemagne be in it?

Asturia vs Frankish empire.jpg
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
will Charlemagne be in it?
“Emperor Charlemagne was one of the tallest men I have ever seen. He was not a robust man, but lean and strong and when I first met him presiding over his court at Aachen, he was wearing an otter coat covered by a cobalt blue cloak. He always seemed to carry a sword with a decorated silver hilt at his side.

“In the morning, he loved to take one of his many horses out for a ride and he was said to be an excellent horseman and an expert judge of equine bloodlines. Like his Frankish warrior ancestors, his favorite activity was hunting, but he also loved to swim and to visit the hot baths, sometimes with dozens of other men accompanying him.

“He always seemed to be jovial and laughed out loud a great deal. And while he was of a lofty height and slender, he had a prominent belly that jostled up and down when he laughed. His eyes were bright and large, his eyebrows were bushy and his nose was a bit long. He wore his hair long in the manner of Frankish royalty.

“Charlemagne loved to eat, particularly a roast from the day’s hunt. He did not drink very much and he showed much displeasure with some of the priests from Gascony and Toulouse who drank too much wine while at the synod in Aachen. At the diner table, he liked to either listen to music or to have a book read to him. He particularly liked the stories of the heroic deeds of olden times. It was said that his favorite book was The City of God by Saint Augustine.

“Charlemagne maintained many private estates about his kingdom. During his life, he had eighteen children with eight of his ten wives and concubines. He surrounded himself with some of the most brilliant scholars of our day including Alcuin of York who taught him astronomy. Charlemagne was fascinated by the movement of the stars and of the phases of the moon. He brought learned men into his circle from all over Western Europe, there was Paul the Deacon from Lombard, Einhart of Reichenau, Peter of Pisa an Italian and the Visigoth Theodulf from Septimania. And yet, as I have said Charlemagne himself could not write! It is such an irony.

“He was the greatest King in so many respects. He was the greatest warrior and tactician and brought territories under his control from the Danish March in the north all the way down to Rome in the south, a distance of one thousand miles. He was the greatest administrator, reforming the monetary system and creating the silver denier at 240 coins to a pound of silver. He was the greatest supporter of the Catholic Church and he expanded monastic schools and increased to production of books at their scriptoria. He protected the poor and revived hospitals all over his kingdom.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It's a completely anachronistic question, as the earliest Saints were simply accepted as being so.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
It's a completely anachronistic question, as the earliest Saints were simply accepted as being so.
Which is what I realized with the aid of folks who posted helpful comments.

It looks like I will have to rewrite the beginning to Chapter 23, since it is now clear to me that I was falling into the trap of an anachronism. Thank you Oursonpolaire and Felipe for your insights which made me realize that I was searching for a "formal" canonization event which likely never happened. It is why my internet search for a canonization date came up with "Pre-Congregation" and not an actual date.
[/QUOTE]
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
“Emperor Charlemagne was one of the tallest men I have ever seen. He was not a robust man, but lean and strong and when I first met him presiding over his court at Aachen, he was wearing an otter coat covered by a cobalt blue cloak. He always seemed to carry a sword with a decorated silver hilt at his side.

“In the morning, he loved to take one of his many horses out for a ride and he was said to be an excellent horseman and an expert judge of equine bloodlines. Like his Frankish warrior ancestors, his favorite activity was hunting, but he also loved to swim and to visit the hot baths, sometimes with dozens of other men accompanying him.

“He always seemed to be jovial and laughed out loud a great deal. And while he was of a lofty height and slender, he had a prominent belly that jostled up and down when he laughed. His eyes were bright and large, his eyebrows were bushy and his nose was a bit long. He wore his hair long in the manner of Frankish royalty.

“Charlemagne loved to eat, particularly a roast from the day’s hunt. He did not drink very much and he showed much displeasure with some of the priests from Gascony and Toulouse who drank too much wine while at the synod in Aachen. At the diner table, he liked to either listen to music or to have a book read to him. He particularly liked the stories of the heroic deeds of olden times. It was said that his favorite book was The City of God by Saint Augustine.

“Charlemagne maintained many private estates about his kingdom. During his life, he had eighteen children with eight of his ten wives and concubines. He surrounded himself with some of the most brilliant scholars of our day including Alcuin of York who taught him astronomy. Charlemagne was fascinated by the movement of the stars and of the phases of the moon. He brought learned men into his circle from all over Western Europe, there was Paul the Deacon from Lombard, Einhart of Reichenau, Peter of Pisa an Italian and the Visigoth Theodulf from Septimania. And yet, as I have said Charlemagne himself could not write! It is such an irony.

“He was the greatest King in so many respects. He was the greatest warrior and tactician and brought territories under his control from the Danish March in the north all the way down to Rome in the south, a distance of one thousand miles. He was the greatest administrator, reforming the monetary system and creating the silver denier at 240 coins to a pound of silver. He was the greatest supporter of the Catholic Church and he expanded monastic schools and increased to production of books at their scriptoria. He protected the poor and revived hospitals all over his kingdom.
I would personally suggest weaving all of that into the narrative, rather than such bland description.

example : Not "Charlemagne loved to eat, particularly a roast from the day’s hunt", but depict such events within the story.

I like your basic writing style, but for some advice, I'd suggest reading your prose aloud to yourself as a technique to see if it works in local detail. After a while, such technique becomes second nature.

Read this post of mine aloud to see what I'm getting at, maybe ?
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I would personally suggest weaving all of that into the narrative, rather than such bland description.

example : Not "Charlemagne loved to eat, particularly a roast from the day’s hunt", but depict such events within the story.
Your suggestion would require that the events of my novel take place in the Carolingian Empire perhaps at Aachen. My narrative starts in Oviedo and ends at the Roman cemetery in what would become Santiago de Compostela. The entire novel is set in Asturias and Galicia.
A priest who had gone to Aachen for the great Synod is giving the narrative and his recollection of Charlemagne who has just died in 814.
Have you written any books?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Have you written any books?
Yes.

But I will not detail that answer.

I see what you mean about the chronology ; and I'd say that Umberto Eco's Baudolino is a good model to follow for the organic weaving of histories into narrative ; even though your own narrative would seem to require some other tactics than his.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I liked your description of the king. It is clear, and it flows.
Personal narrative styles are, well, personal, so take the following comments with a grain of salt.
I am an historian (but not dedicated to anything related to your interest). Many of my colleagues try to write historical novels. This is a natural proclivity, because we know the past quite well, and writing is an ability we have by training and inclination. The problem is that we have the tendency of being too explicit and obvious about characters and situations; we don't let the reader *imagine* things. IMHO, suggestions, indirects, dropping hints here and there, make for a more interesting narrative.
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
The problem is that we have the tendency of being too explicit and obvious about characters and situations; we don't let the reader *imagine* things. IMHO, suggestions, indirects, dropping hints here and there, make for a more interesting narrative.
I have one Character who is not a Christian, who is King Alfonso's "foreign minister" and who is my skeptic about Saint James not being buried in the Roman cemetery. From the very beginning of the novel I drop hints and suggestions about how things "don't add up", have been invented about the mythology of Saint James. The King Alfonso character and his Benedictine Confessor are on the other hand totally bought into the myth.
So there is a tension there. I get what you are saying. Good suggestions - Thanks.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I liked your description of the king. It is clear, and it flows.
This is a statue of Alfonso II that I took photo of outside Oviedo's Cathedral - "The First Pilgrim"
making the journey from Oviedo (Route Primitivo) through Lugo to the Roman cemetery that would eventually become the city of Santiago de Compostela. King of Asturias. Alfonso the Chaste.
Al2.JPG
 

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