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Where are the apostles of Jesus buried?

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
This was a really informative and enjoyable project to undertake, researching where the remains of the Apostles of Jesus are buried. From one side of the Iberian peninsula, across Europe, into the Middle East and on into Southeast Asia, Jesus's disciples are entombed in eleven different cathedrals and churches.

 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Most of them are buried in the ground, but rarely where they are said to be buried (i.e. St. James). It is fun to trace the myths and facts of saints, relics, and sainthood. It has aspects of religion, marketing, salesmanship, plain old story telling, and history all wrapped into one big ball.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
This is from some short stories (I stress the word stories!) I am working on:
The two fishermen, along with Peter became Jesus’ closest disciples within an inner circle of confidants. All three apostles were present at the two most critical times of the Lord’s life, the Transfiguration on the mountaintop, and the night of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in preparation for Jesus’ crucifixion the following day. Some time after the Pentecost, the fifty days after Easter and the resurrection, Saint Peter gathered the twelve apostles and reminded them of Christ’s last instructions to them. Christ said to his apostles, ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.’ Peter went initially to Antioch then to Rome and Andrew traveled to Greece as did John who was the only apostle not to have a martyr’s death. Philip ministered to Greek-speaking communities, while Thomas ventured the furthest, all the way to India. Mathew was martyred in Ethiopia after preaching all over the Mediterranean. Simon and Judas Thaddeus preached together in Armenia and both were martyred in Beirut.

Saint James traveled to Roman Hispania and due to the prevailing pagan and Celtic beliefs, he was confronted with great difficulties in his missionary efforts. James was said to have converted just nine followers and he became increasingly discouraged. Then one day when he was praying for strength and faith near the banks of the Ebro River at Zaragoza a miracle occurred! The Virgin Mary who was living in Jerusalem at the time was told by God of Saint James’ distress.

A very rare miracle that the Catholic Church refers to as ‘bilocation’ allowed the Virgin Mary to be is two places at one time! The Blessed Virgin was transported from Jerusalem to Hispania by a cloud of a thousand angels, so that she could console and encourage the Apostle James. What James saw was Our Lady standing on a pillar supported by angels when she revealed to him the great faith that the people of Spain would posses in the future due to his sacrifices.

Before the Blessed Virgin bilocated back to Jerusalem, she left Saint James her effigy in a marble statue depicting her standing on a pillar holding her Holy Son and instructions to place the statue in a chapel which he was to build.

The church was to be called later, Our Lady of the Pillar and it was the first Catholic Church ever built in Spain, there in the city of Zaragossa, there on that sacred spot.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Before my first Camino one of my daughters bought me a used book about the Camino. I read some of it and learned alot of the Camino. I moved shortly thereafter to Mexico and have not been able to find the book. But I can tell you I have heard and read from many it is one of the definitive books on the Camino. It could really add to your knowledge of this subject.
The book is called "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook" written by David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Before my first Camino one of my daughters bought me a used book about the Camino. I read some of it and learned alot of the Camino. I moved shortly thereafter to Mexico and have not been able to find the book. But I can tell you I have heard and read from many it is one of the definitive books on the Camino. It could really add to your knowledge of this subject.
The book is called "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook" written by David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.
There is a kindle version.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
There could be dozens of controlled tests possible with the many relics of Santiago in Europe. Santiago wasn't the first town to claim a relic of Saint James - various relics had been around for almost 300 hundred years before he was identified in Spain. So far I have been able to find three whole bodies and fifteen heads, two pieces of heads, a number of arms, hands, fingers and other limbs.
According to Prof. Leyser, an arm of James the Great was preserved in Torcello near Venice from about the 6th Century. It passed through the hands of Bishop Vitalis, and then Germany via Archbishop Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen, the Emperors Henry 1V and Henry V. In 1125 Henry V’s widow Matilda brought the left hand of Saint James to England.
In his book “The Cult of Santiago: traditions, myths and pilgrimages” (1927) the Rev. James S. Stone writes about the many relics of St James found in Europe.
In addition to the body at Compostella, a body in St. Sernin at Toulouse and another in the church at Zibili near Milan are equally authentic. There are two of his heads in Venice - one in St. George's church, and the other in the monastery of St. Philip and St. James. A head can be found in Valencia, a fourth head at Amalfi, a fifth head at St. Vaast in Artois as well as part of a head at Pistoja. In the Church of the Apostles in Rome are preserved a piece of the Apostle's skull and some of his blood. There are bones, hands, and arms in Sicily, on the island of Capri, at Pavia, in Bavaria, at Liege and Cologne, in Segovia, Burgos and elsewhere.”
According to Armenian tradition, the head of James the Greater is buried in the church of Saint James the Less in Jerusalem and only his body is in Santiago. On the left side of the church, opposite one of the four square piers supporting the vaulted ceiling, is its most important shrine, the small Chapel of St James the Greater. A piece of red marble in front of the altar marks the place where his head is buried, on the reputed site of his beheading. (Church of St James the Less in Jerusalem)
In France alone, there were three tombs containing his body, nine heads and numerous limbs. In 1354 the Saint-Sernin basilica in Toulouse was home to the head and the body of St. Jacques le Majeur.” www.saint-jacques.info/anglais/spotlights.htm
“In 1385 the body of St. Jacques was transferred to a luxurious arch-shaped church. It was the most magnificent reliquary of the church after that of St. Saturnin.http://ultreia.pagesperso-orange.fr/toulouse.htm
Even America has a piece of the true cross and a Sant Iago relic. St James the Less Catholic Church in Wisconsin houses a great collection of relics: “The most precious relics we have are those of the true cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of St. James the Less, our Patron. Just a few of the other relics are: ….and St. James the Great, Apostle.”
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Before my first Camino one of my daughters bought me a used book about the Camino. I read some of it and learned alot of the Camino. I moved shortly thereafter to Mexico and have not been able to find the book. But I can tell you I have heard and read from many it is one of the definitive books on the Camino. It could really add to your knowledge of this subject.
The book is called "The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook" written by David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.
It is available as an ebook, so you can consult it on the way and it won't add any weight. Note that it is specific to the Camino Frances, so if you walk a different Camino, the only relevant part may the the section on Santiago de Compostela itself.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
So far I have been able to find three whole bodies and fifteen heads, two pieces of heads, a number of arms, hands, fingers and other limbs.
So it is in Asia with relics of the Buddha. If he had as many teeth as are enshribed here and there...well, that would be quite a smile. And there are hair-relic pagodas, too - which is curious, since he and his monks all shaved their heads, as is the case today.

It's all a big mystery. Regardless of the phyisical object, it's the pilgrimage that's the point - and the collective intention of a thousand years is palpable at any major pilgrimage site. Certainly that's the case in Santiago.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
So far I have been able to find three whole bodies and fifteen heads, two pieces of heads, a number of arms, hands, fingers and other limbs.
Most of these relics of Saint James (and others) are no longer regarded as relics of Saint James today. They’ve disappeared, were destroyed, are on display in the nearest museum in a reliquary of historic and artistic value or, at best, are kept in some church storage room and will never again be taken out for display as an object for veneration. Among other things, it was the reforms initiated by Vatican II that brought quite a bit of change in this respect.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
It is available as an ebook, so you can consult it on the way and it won't add any weight. Note that it is specific to the Camino Frances, so if you walk a different Camino, the only relevant part may the the section on Santiago de Compostela itself.
I remember that was the case. I think my camino last November/December on the CF was probably my last CF camino. With all the K's we have logged learning more about the history is always fun. Well being a history buff history is fun and more than a little insightful for the future, Thanks.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Some may find this article interesting: Padrón: the privilege of guarding a bone of the Apostle during the past 140 years [in Spanish].

During the rediscovery at the end of the 19th century, at least two small pieces of bones were removed and not included in the silver reliquary that is on display in the crypt of the Santiago cathedral. One fragment is kept in Padron and the other in the archbishop's palace in Santiago. The latter relic is currently touring the local parishes in Galicia in preparation of 2021.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Most of these relics of Saint James (and others) are no longer regarded as relics of Saint James today. They’ve disappeared, were destroyed, are on display in the nearest museum in a reliquary of historic and artistic value or, at best, are kept in some church storage room and will never again be taken out for display as an object for veneration. Among other things, it was the reforms initiated by Vatican II that brought quite a bit of change in this respect.
An acquaintance of mine, once a minor minion in an ecclesiastically-oriented publishing house, edited a text on the relic process and I heard much about this over dinners. It appears that the relic-cleansing (as it were) really began under Pope Leo XIII in the 1880s as he wanted to tone down the excesses of popular piety, which had become exuberant in the tensions of the mid-19th century. Diocesan commissions were established, historians and archaeologists brought in (which also resulted in the archaeological examination in Santiago, after which Leo XIII confirmed their report that the relics were those of Saint James), and an astonishing number of relics were determined not to be of use for the faithful, and were put away. This continued under the historian and archivist Pius XI, and then relics really got the boot after Vatican II. However, altar stones still get a relic of a saint to remind us of the age of persecution under Roman emperors, and there's an office in Rome which distributes them to new parishes.

Pilgrims attending services along the Camino can sometimes encounter relics, and at the church of San Miguel in Estella (the one up the many many stairs), I attended a mass after which a relic of Saint Fermin, who had evangelized the area about seventeen centuries ago, was presented for the veneration of worshippers.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
It appears that the relic-cleansing (as it were) really began under Pope Leo XIII in the 1880s as he wanted to tone down the excesses of popular piety, which had become exuberant in the tensions of the mid-19th century.
Thank you, @oursonpolaire, your comments made interesting reading for me and much of it was new to me!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
I loved attending mass in San Juan Ortega because as you ask the saint for his blessing, you can turn and physically gaze upon his stone coffin to the side of the small church! At least it’s not a long-distance call 🙏

And if you get tired of visiting the graves of the disciples, why not visit the main guy himself (IN JAPAN!!!!!):

 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
There is a village in India that claimed to be the home of Jesus, which he fled to after the ‘unsuccessful’ crucifixion. I’m not sure if it’s the same village that claimed to be his home during the missing years between childhood and his described adulthood. They also claim to be descendants.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Perhaps India was his stopover on the way to Japan.... Hmmmmm, do I sense the foundation of a really awesome new Camino route?!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
Ah the wonderful, wide world of relics! I'm not in my study and so a bit limited here, but I recall this:

On a long-ago trip to the Mother Country I visited the wee hamlet of Boveney, Bucks, UK, where some of my hobbit ancestors once lived, and was there told that the ruined medieval Reading Abbey had had the hand of St. James the Greater as its most treasured relic! And that that very hand could still be seen in the RC church in nearby Marlow. (I didn't get the chance, sigh!) I was also assured that when the long-lost relics of St. James the Greater were rediscovered in 19th C Spain a hand was found to be missing! Cool, eh?!

Well, I recall looking into it later, and finding reason to doubt the claims made for this Reading Abbey hand.... but I offer this to the curious, snatched off the 'net: https://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/blog/blood-and-bones-veneration-relics-reading-abbey

Pax
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
That hand is spectacular! Now the big question is: was James left or right-handed? 🤔
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
I have a deep devotion to Teresa of Avila, so after my first camino with my oldest son, we stopped at Avila and Alba de Tormes for two days. We were looking at some of the relics of her body, which had been rather infamously chopped up with pieces sent all over the place after her body was found to be incorrupt.

He looks at me and says, "She may have been incorruptible, but she certainly wasn't indivisible."

Also, in tribute to my son, I'll include the following silliness for the dubious edification of all . . .

 
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Camino(s) past & future
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
I highly recommend Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve by Tom Bissell, Pantheon Press, 2016.

Wonderful fun book on the subject. Author is a lapsed Roman Catholic, btw - I am not, and do not agree with everything he says -- but I get along well with just about everybody.... :)
 
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