Tomb of the Apostle Santiago and its origins

December 9, 2011

The history of the Camino de Santiago begins on 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.

Raising his eyes to the sky, he sees astonished as with the first stars of the night, some of them detach from the celestial vault and fall on the earth, not far from where he is.

The monk spent all 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 assembled, remove the earth to find out what was under it. They are surprised by the appearance of a Roman white marble tomb.

Then, the monk Pelagius, who had a well-deserved reputation for holiness in the region, weighed out loud the possibility that the tomb kept the remains of the very apostle Santiago the Elder, so sought after by Christianity after his martyrdom.

They therefore decided to transfer it to a nearby sacred place, where an ancient Roman cemetery had existed and which was known as Compostum.


Pelagio notifies the bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro, that due to the rumors that are circulating throughout Europe about the possible location in Hispania of the remains of the Apostle, he considers this appearance to be very important and communicates it to the king Asturian Alfonso II el Casto with court in the city of Oviedo, who once personified in the place in the company of his nobles, ordered the construction of a small church with a Romanesque plan of adobe and bricks, where monks venerated the remains.

A year later on Pope Leo III, orders the cult of Santiago in the distant Gallaecia, and the modest temple is replaced by another new orderly 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 "Worker" and creator of the Pórtico de la Gloria, the Master Mateo, who can be seen on his knees as the Santo dos Coques. All this has resulted in a Universal Work: “The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela"In which rests the tomb of the Apostle Santiago, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.

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

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