The tomb of the Apostle James and his origins

December 9, 2011

The history of the Camino de Santiago begins in a summer sunset of the year 829, in a Galician forest known as Libredón, where a hermit monk belonging to San Fitz de Solovio and named Pelagio - Paio according to other writings - was fasting, praying and doing penance.

When you raise your eyes to the sky, you are amazed as with the first stars of the night, some of them are detached from the celestial vault and they fall on the ground, not far from where he is.

The monk spent the whole night in prayer, confused, thanking God, until the next morning, in the company of the inhabitants of the small village of San Fitz, he went to the place where the supernatural symbols had been produced.

Agreeing the meeting, remove the earth to find out what was under all that. They are surprised by the appearance of a white marble roman tomb.

Then, the monk Pelagius, who enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for sanctity in the region, weighed aloud the possibility that this sepulcher would keep the Remains of the Apostle Saint James the Elder, so sought by Christianity after his martyrdom.

They decide then to move it to a nearby sacred place, where there had been an ancient Roman cemetery and that was known as Compostum.

Pelagio warns the bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro, that due to the rumors that are circulating in Europe about the possible location in Hispania of the remains of the Apostle, considers that this appearance is very important and communicates it to the king Astur Alfonso II the Chaste with court in the city of Oviedo, who once represented in the place in the company of his nobles, ordered to build a small Romanesque church of adobe and bricks, where monks venerate the remains.

One year later the Pope Leo III, it orders the cult to Santiago in the distant Gallaecia, and to the modest temple it replaces another new one ordered to him to build and consecrated by Alfonso III the Great, in the year 899. Already with a ship of eight meters.

Today thirteen centuries later, with numerous extensions, reforms and mixtures of styles in its construction. With different architects, such as the first «Obrador» and creator of the Pórtico de la Gloria, Master Mateo, who can be represented on his knees as the Santo dos Coques. All this has resulted in a Universal Work: «The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela»

It has become by itself an exponent and symbol of the end of the Camino de Santiago for thousands and thousands of pilgrims throughout all times.