The Tomb of the Apostle and the origins

The story began on a summer evening of 829, in a Galician forest known as Libredón, where a hermit monk belonging to San Fitz de Solovio and called Pelagio - Paio according to other writings - was fasting, praying and doing penance.

As he looked up at the sky, he was astonished by the first stars of the night, some of them were detached from the celestial firmament and fell to earth, not far from where he was.

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

The people gathered around the place decided to dig the soil to ascertain what was below all that. They were surprised by the appearance of a Roman tomb made of white marble.

Then the monk Pelagius, who had a well-deserved reputation for sanctity in the region, weighed up aloud about the possibility that the tomb would keep the remains of the none other than apostle James the Great, the long-awaited apostle looked for by Christendom after his martyrdom.

They decided to move it to a nearby holy place, where there had been an ancient Roman cemetery and was known as Compostum.

Pelagius warned the bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro, that due to the rumours that were running through Europe on the possible location in Hispania of the remains of the Apostle, he considered that this apparition was very important and it was communicated to the Astur King Alfonso II called the Chaste who has a court in the city of Oviedo. As soon as he arrived at the place in the company of his nobles, he ordered to build a small church of Romanesque floor made of adobe and bricks, where monks had to venerate the remains.

A year later Pope Leo III ordered the worship of Santiago in distant Gallaecia, and the modest temple was replaced by another new one built and consecrated by Alfonso III the Great, in 899. The temple already had a main nave of eight meters.

Today, thirteen centuries later, the building has numerous extensions, after reforms and mixtures of styles in its construction. Many different architects worked on it, such as the first "Obrador" and creator of the Portico de la Gloria, Maestre Mateo, who can be seen on his knees as the Santo dos Coques. All that has resulted in an Universal Work: "The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela".

It has become itself an exponent and symbol of the end of the Camino de Santiago for thousands and thousands of pilgrims through the years.