History of Saint James’: El Camino de Santiago

Saint James, aka Saint James the Greater, Saint James the Elder, and James, son of Zebedee

Fellow parishioner Jim Timberlake is now on a walking pilgrimage – the route is called “El Camino de Santiago,” or “The Way of Saint James” as its often called in English – to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, believed to be the burial place of Saint James.  One of the Twelve Apostles, James was distinguished as being in Jesus’ innermost circle and the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:2).  Born in Galilee, Palestine, he died 44 CE in Jerusalem by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea

Medieval Christian legends tell us that Saint James had traveled widely on the Iberian Peninsula, bringing Christianity to the Celtic peoples.  Following his martyrdom, his relics were supposedly taken back to Spain and enshrined. During Roman persecution, however, the early Spanish Christians were forced to abandon the shrine and with the depopulation of the area following the fall of the Roman Empire, the location of the shrine was forgotten.  In 813 CE, so the legend goes, a hermit led by a beckoning star and celestial music discovered the location of the buried relics.

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