Since the heyday of the Camino de Santiago in the Middle Ages, pilgrims from all over Europe take the routes that lead to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and hence to the tomb of the Apostle. To learn about the history of the Miracle of O Cebreiro, you must begin your Camino de Santiago from O Cebreiro.


Said Miracle of O Cebreiro and the subsequent legend of the Galician Holy Grail took place in the Benedictine Church of Santa María do O Cebreiro. Today, Cebreiro remains a small village. Its great treasure is precisely the Church of the Eucharistic miracle, of pre-Romanesque construction from the 9th century, with three simple naves with rectangular apses and a tower. A Gothic Christ image presides over the presbytery. It is very important to note that in this Miracle of O Cebreiro, the Church of Santa María is the oldest of all the Jacobean heritage, preserved in its entirety except for the facade.

The Benedictine monks built and guarded this temple from the year 836 to 1853, for more than a thousand years! The monks from Aurillac, called by Alfonso VI, remained in Cebreiro from 1072 to 1487, when the Catholic Monarchs obtained their annexation to San Benito el Real de Valladolid from the Pope. The monks left Cebreiro in 1853 as a consequence of the disentailment of Mendizábal.

A very strong tradition, corroborated by various historical and archaeological sources, maintains that a Benedictine priest was celebrating Mass on the altar of the side chapel of the church. It is believed that this celebration took place in the 14th century.

The priest thought that on that harsh winter day, when the snow piled up and the wind was unbearable, no one would come to Mass. But he was wrong. A countryman from Barxamaior, named Juan Santín, ascends to Cebreiro to participate in the Holy Mass. The celebrating monk, of little faith, belittles the peasant’s sacrifice.

But at the moment of the Consecration, the priest perceives how the Host becomes flesh visible to the eye, and the chalice becomes blood, which boils and stains the corporals. The corporals with the blood remained in the chalice and the Host on the paten.

Jesus wanted to strengthen not only the faith of that monk but of all men. News of the miracle spread everywhere, fostering a great devotion to Christ in the Eucharist.

Despite the time, wars, and fires, the miracle reaches our century so devoid of faith, as a powerful sign of truth: Christ is alive, resurrected, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharist.

The protagonists of the story, the monk and the peasant, have their mausoleums in the church, near the place of the Eucharistic miracle.



In 1486, the Catholic Monarchs, journeying to Santiago de Compostela, lodge with the monks, contemplate the miracle, and then donate the reliquary where the Miracle has been kept to this day.

In the early years of the 17th century, Father Yepes wrote: “I, though unworthy, have seen and adored this holy mystery, I have seen the two ampoules, in one of them is the blood, which seems barely coagulated, red like that of a freshly sacrificed kid, I have also seen the flesh, which is red and dry.”

The Chalice and the Paten are famous Romanesque pieces from the 12th century. This chalice presides over the coat of arms of Galicia. Cebreiro and the Miracle have influenced Wagner’s work.

As we see, the French Way of St. James from O Cebreiro is considered the cradle of myths and legends, and from here one can start the Way to Santiago de Compostela.