Holy Door Opening

The last Holy Years were those of 1999, 2004, 2010 and the next will be the "Xacobeo 2021 and 2022"


The first Holy / Jubilee / Jacobean Year was established by Pope Callisto II in 1122 for the year 1126. The Holy Years have been celebrated, since then, when the feast of Santiago (July 25) falls on Sunday. Periodically, as a general rule, these years occur in a sequence of 6, 5, 6 and 11 years. The pnext holy years will be in 2027, 2032 and 2038, and Viajes Mundiplus and the rest of the organizing companies of the Camino de Santiago will continue helping to bring thousands of pilgrims closer and facilitate the route.


The Holy Year and for the first time in history the Holy Year will last 2 consecutive years, ending on 31/12/2022. The Papal Nuncio in Spain made the announcement at the Opening of the Holy Door on 31/12/2020, motivated by the Covid Pandemic situation.

In these years the Catholic Church grants full or plenary Indulgences. This full indulgence reaches the same rank of importance as that obtained by pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem.


Since the XNUMXth century, the highest authority of the Christian church establishes the plenary indulgence (forgiveness of sins) to all repentant devotees who visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela during the Holy Year.


The three requirements that are required to receive this plenary indulgences, or forgiveness of sins (Jubilee) granted by the Church, are:

  1. Make confession and communion, before the fifteen days before or after the visit of the Cathedral.
  2. Visit the Cathedral of Santiago.
  3. Pray for the Pope's intentions (for example, an Our Father, Hail Mary, etc.)

On the other hand, if you want receive the Certificate of "La Compostela" you must complete on foot at least the last 100 km of the Camino, for example you can do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. If you prefer to do the Camino by bike, you must prove that you have ridden the last 200 Kms, for example the Cycling route from León.

** It is not necessary to carry out the pilgrimage, properly speaking, to Santiago de Compostela, although it is a good excuse to make a trip to one of the different Camino de Santiago itineraries.




One of the peculiarities of the Holy Years and especially of the next Xacobeo 2021, are the opening of the so-called Holy Doors or Forgiveness, from the different Cathedrals or churches. The Jacobean Year it only happens 14 times every centuryIt is true that the Camino de Santiago is a social phenomenon that does not need a specific year to be carried out, where the number of pilgrims grows exponentially whether it is Holy Year or not.


Puerta del Perdón / Puerta Santa, is the very common name for one of the access doors to cathedrals and churches around the world. It is not mandatory to cross the Holy Door to get indulgence, but the tradition is still maintained by the pilgrims, so large queues originate If we look at the Camino de Santiago, specifically, we can find two of these doors with an important meaning . The most important, obviously in the first place, would be the one found in the Cathedral of Santiago as well as in the Church of Santiago, located in the Leonese town of Villafranca del Bierzo, being the only ones, in this millenary itinerary that can grant plenary indulgences in these Jubilee or Holy years.

It symbolizes the end of the Camino de Santiago and gives way to a new life.

In the Cathedral of Santiago, this door of forgiveness is located in the Plaza de la Quintana (east facade of the Cathedral, at the bottom of it or also called "Quintana dos Mortos", to differentiate it from the upper "Quintana dos Alive ”

It deserves a special note the Santiago church, with its Puerta del Perdón (XNUMXth century) located in Villafranca del Bierzo which, as we pointed out previously, is the only one that has the privilege of granting, next to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, full indulgence to pilgrims who are making their Way Pilgrimage, for physical reasons or illness, cannot end their journey until Santiago de Compostela, in the Holy Years. For all of them, Villafranca del Bierzo is known by the nickname of "Little Compostela."



On 30/12/2020 the transfer was carried out (translation) symbolic of the remains of the Apostle Santiago, which was carried out from Palestine (port of Haffa) to Santiago de Compostela, in the year 44 of our era.

The event, which was attended by numerous civil and military authorities, begins with the transfer in procession, through the interior of the Cathedral, of the locket-image of a Pilgrim Santiago of the fourteenth century, known as Merrick, to the rhythm of the shawms, being transported on a small covered throne, from the Chapel of the Relics to a place near the High Altar, where it is finally located.

Before the beginning of the religious act, it could be seen in how the Botafumeiro works, for the first time, after two years without working, due to the works carried out inside the Cathedral, where the dazzling restoration carried out could be seen.

With the celebration of the Eucharist on the Feast of the Translation, the Cathedral of Santiago reopened its doors to public worship after the restoration works.


For the Holy Year 2021 The opening took place on December 31, 2020, in the afternoon, with a solemn ritual in which an entourage, led by the Bishop of Santiago de Compostela, who accesses through a beautiful baroque portico or portal where we find, in a preferential place, the figures of the Apostle Santiago and his two disciples Theodore and Athanasius, as well as on both sides of it, we observe 24 stone figures of prophets and apostles, which were transferred from the choir of the Cathedral.


holy door


At 16:30 p.m., on December 31, 2020, the acts for the celebration of the opening of the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago began, with which the Xacobean Year 2021 and 2022 will begin.

The religious procession, chaired by the Archbishop of Santiago Monsignor Julián Barrio, goes in procession, from the door that gives access to the Plaza de Platerías, to the Plaza de la Quintana, where the Holy Door is located. The “Pincerna o Pertigueiro” opens the march, followed by the corps of acolytes and canons from the Cathedral of Santiago, as well as a representation of pilgrims.

One of the canons carries, on a silver tray, the key with which the Holy Door will be opened and the holm oak hammer, embossed in silver that, on this occasion, has been donated by a German couple who provide their services, as volunteers at the Santiago Pilgrim Service Office

At 17:00 p.m., the Archbishop of Santiago makes the first hit with the hammer, at the gates of bronze, pronouncing the following words…

"Open for me the doors of Salvation", then he will make a second blow, pronouncing the following words…

"I will enter your House, Lord", to finish, he will make the third blow, pronouncing the words "Open the doors that our Lord is with us"...

He then goes on to say “This is the day the Lord acted” and inserting the key into the lock, he opens the door, followed by "Blessed are the people who know how to acclaim you", opening a door leaf, continues with the sentence "This is the Door of the Lord", opening the other leaf of the door.

Finally, he kneels before the Door and then enters the Cathedral, followed by the religious procession.



As a curious fact, the whitish light of the "lantern" existing at the top of the Clock Tower or "Berenguela" is turned on and that only remains lit during the Holy Years, as a symbolic "spiritual" guide for all the pilgrims who arrive in Holy Year to Santiago de Compostela. It indicates to the pilgrims where the remains of the Apostle Santiago are found.

With this exciting and highly anticipated act, the Holy Year 2021 and 2022 is started.



After going through the barred door on the façade of the Plaza de la Quintana, a narrow corridor leads us to the interior door of the Cathedral, where he proceeds to strike three times, with a silver hammer, on the stone wall , placed expressly for this commemorative act, and that closes the access to it, until it gently falls.

The "real" door that gives access to the Cathedral of Santiago, consists of two bronze leaves in which we observe different scenes of the life, apostolate, pilgrimage and death of the Apostle Santiago. Next to this door, on the interior sides, there are, on both sides, the figures of the apostles Ezequiel and Saint Jude Thaddeus and two marble basins of water as well as on the upper part, one of the Cathedral's consecration crosses .

We are waiting for you in the next Xacobeo 2021-2022 with the addition that, after the reforms of the Cathedral of Santiago, the botafumeiro once again furrows its naves. Do not forget to stop by the recently restored Pórtico de la Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago. Its varied polychrome of the time will not disappoint you!

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