For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Story Of Saint James

Saint James, one of the disciples of Jesus, travelled to Spain but had little success in spreading the Holy Word. He returned to Jerusalem but was beheaded by Herod in AD44. Following his martyrdom, according to the legend, his body was transported by his followers from Jaffa back to Spain, landing at present-day Pádron, 20 km from the place today called Santiago de Compostela. This journey was considered a miracle as it apparently took only a week - and was done in a boat made of stone. Saint James' body was buried nearby and forgotten about for 750 years. Then in the 9th century a hermit called Pelagius dreamed of a bright star, surrounded by other stars, shining over an isolated spot in the hills. 3 bodies were discovered there - purportedly those of Saint James and 2 of his followers. King Alfonso II (791-824), King of the Asturias, built a church and monastery over the site of the tomb and a town grew up around it - known as campus de la stella, or campus stellae, later abbreviated to compostela.

I took this photo of a statue of Saint James, standing aloof from the modern-day traffic, in Molinaseca, much further along the route.

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