North Western Spain is a territory rich in converting people to the Christian faith. The Romans called Spain Finis Terrace, translated to ‘end of the world.’ Santiago de Compostela was named for St. James, who was also known as Santiago.
An event in 44 A.D. forever cemented the area as a place of spiritual significance. After returning from Palestine, Herodes Agrippa took Saint James as prisoner. He was eventually tortured to death. A burial place was decided upon, however prior to being put in the ground Saint James’ disciples stole his sarcophagus, board the body onto a boat and fled to the Spanish coast. The region has since become renowned for preaching Christianity.
Saint James was laid to rest at the Roman Province of Iria Flavia at a secret location deep in the woods. The location was the sight of a miraculous sight in 813 when Pelayo, a hermit living in the woods, saw a vivid light shining in the woods.
An investigation was launched by Teodomiro to ascertain the source of the light, after the tomb was built. History recalls that after this initial investigation King Alphonse 2nd built the chapel of St. James and declared James one of the most important Patron Saints of the empire. Known as Santiago, St. James gained in popularity as his teachings came to prominence, with a large public following.
The history books record that a great number of miracles were witnessed by Saint James. It’s believed that he fought with King Ramiro 1st in battle against hordes of moors. The chapel eventually evolved into cathedral known as Santiago de Compostela thanks to the amount of religious-minded pilgrims that chose to visit the site.
Over time the amount of pilgrims that have chosen to visit Santiago de Compostela has steadily increased. In the 12th and 13th centuries Pope Alexander 3rd blessed the town as one of holy spiritual significance. Furthermore, Pope Cailxto 2nd declared that any pilgrim visiting the site in the Holy Year would be set free of all their sins.
Santiago de Compostela is one of the more spiritual places in the world, and a site where a wealth of people of faith choose to visit each and every year.