Origin of the pilgrimage to Sant Jaume of Galicia
The history of the Way of Sant Jaume goes back at the beginning of the IX century (year 814) moment of the discovery of the tomb of the evangelical apostle of the Iberian Peninsula. A Galician shepherd called Pelayo sees a star that indicates a place of the hill where more ahead Compostela would arise. The news arrives quickly to the bishop of the Iria Flavia´s diocese, Teodomiro, who orders to clear the hill. The tomb of the Apostle is discovered and Teodomiro, by divine inspiration, announces solemnly that the found remains belong to the apostle Sant Jaume.
From the discovery, Santiago de Compostela becomes a peregrination point of the entire European continent. It satisfied all the necessary requirements: a tomb with the relics of an Apostle, the use of a Saint as an emblem against the unfaithful ones, the location of the tomb to the proximities to the end of the Earth, difficult conditions to walk and sacrifice towards the West, the decline of the sun.
The way was defined then by the net of Roman routes that joined the neuralgic points of the Peninsula. The impressive human flow that from very soon went towards Galicia made quickly appear lots of hospitals, churches, monasteries, abbeys and towns around the route. During the XIV century it began to decay the pilgrimage, fact brought by the wars, the epidemics and the natural catastrophes.
The recovery of the route begins in the end of XIX century when the archbishop Payá Rico rediscovers the remains of the Apostle and Pope Leon XIII confirms its authenticity. But it is during the last quarter of the XX century when the authentic contemporary resurge of the peregrination takes place. There is no doubt that the social, tourist, cultural or sport components have had a great importance in the “jacobea” revitalization but we can´t forget that the route has gained its prestige thanks to its spiritual value.
In 1987 the Way of Sant Jaume was declared First European Cultural Itinerary and in 1993 Patrimony of the Humanity by UNESCO.
* Guide "El Camí de Sant Jaume de Montserrat a Alcarràs".
Who was Sant Jaume?
Sant Jaume was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ who, according to the Christian tradition, preached in Hispania before dying beheaded in Jerusalem in year 44 aC. The legend says that its body was transferred in boat until the end of the known world, where it was buried. Eight centuries later, towards year 812, Pelayo, a hermit of the zone, saw miraculous lights similar to a star rain that brought to the tomb of the apostle. Still today is discussed if, etymologically, the name of Compostela comes from the “field of stars” (camp d´estels) that saw the hermit or from “compostum”, cementery in Latin.
* Guide El Camí de Sant Jaume del port de la Selva – Sant Pere de Rodes i de la Jonquera a Montserrat
The Way of Sant Jaume and Catalonia
There is the sensation that Catalonia has stayed out of the “jacobeo” movement and the peregrination to Santiago de Compostela, but the reality is really different. Historically, ours it is a country that, from the first moment, it connects with the “jacobeo” fact. The cult to Sant Jaume in Catalonia was very frequent since the beginning of the peregrinations. A tradition very extended affirms that the Apostle preached in Barcelona, Lerida and Saragossa. In some of these places it´s still celebrated his passage with celebrations and specific popular traditions. In addition, some of the first documented pilgrims were Catalan, like the abbot Cesareo of Santa Cecilia of Montserrat.
Catalonia, by its geographic location, has always been a privileged front door of all the military, ideological and cultural currents that came from the other part of the Pyrenees. If it´s looked from a purely geographic logic, through Catalonia should have passed one of the more important European branches of the Way of Sant Jaume; however, over the years it was limited to be a smaller route between the ways that lead to Santiago de Compostela and, in addition, fragmented, because through catalonian lands there was various itineraries that were frequented unequally by the pilgrims. So, we cannot say that there was a unique route in Catalonia there was many, although some of them were more transited than others.
During the XI century, the kings of Navarre, Aragon and Castile and Leon initiated a politic of construction of infrastructures to take care of the pilgrims that walked through their lands. This politic was not developed in Catalonia and for that reason we do not have a route similar to the French Way. In addition, until the second half of the XII century, Catalonia didn´t complete the reconquest of his territory, so during the three first centuries of the pilgrimage to Santiago the travelers had to adapt themselves to the repeated oscillations of the border zone between the Muslims and the franc-catalans. This difficulty invited the majority of the pilgrims of that time to move towards the western side of the Pyrenees to accede to the Peninsula. The Pyrenean passage in the Eastern part was less difficult but more uncertain to find the connection with the main route that goes to Compostela. There were pilgrims, for sure, but there were very few those who decided to cross our lands. It also influenced the smaller amount of sacred places with important relics that made the pilgrims to move towards the places where there were more relics. So, in resume, the Way of Sant Jaume in Catalonia existed, although it could not compete with those that already existed during century XI and were consolidated in the XII century.
Meanwhile, the cult to Sant Jaume extended through the geography of the Principality as shows the abundant churches and populations dedicated to him. We can´t also forget that the unique kings called Jaume of the Hispanic monarchies are the arisen ones from the barcelonan dynasty, although the influence came to us from Occitania, as it was Maria of Montpellier the one that gave to her son the name of Jaume, consequently a familiar tradition in the royal family of Aragon and “condal” family of Barcelona began.
* Guide "El Camí de Sant Jaume de Montserat a Alcarràs".
The Catalan routes to Sant Jaume of Galicia
We don´t have to understand the Way of Sant Jaume as a unique prefixed route, the routes are multiple although the destiny is always the same; for that reason from the associations and the official organizations the existence of a plurality of Ways of Sant Jaume is defended.
We know that in the XIII century, it started a certain pilgrim movement in Catalonia, but we don´t know the routes that followed these walkers, as there were diverse alternatives and there are no itineraries and stories of pilgrims conserved describing them. The stories of pilgrims that are conserved are later. It seems quite logical to think that in the Middle Age the main ways leaned in the old Roman network. Among them, the safest and the most transited were those that connected to the big urban centers, neuralgic focus that combined political and religious capital. Barcelona and Vic competed in centrality and Perpignan, Tortosa and Lerida were access doors to other territories. The city of Lerida, particularly, was the departure point towards the western kingdoms and, therefore, towards Santiago. From the Pyrenees to the valleys of the Segre and the Ebro, different ways allowed to go to Compostela. In no case that means that the impulse of the peregrination determined the coordinates of the routes; just the contrary, the ways preexisted.
So, we can´t talk, in strict sense and as already told, about a unique itinerary of the Catalan pilgrimage as it was the French Way that penetrates in the Iberian Peninsula by Roncesvalles. In any case, there are some routes that the experts consider like the most habitual for the pilgrims that crossed Catalan lands:
1. Narbonne, Perpignan, the Junquera, Gerona, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Montserrat, Cervera and Lerida; following in its first section, a great part of the August Route.
2. Narbonne, Perpignan, Camprodon, and from there to Ripoll, Vic, Sant Cugat del Vallès and Montserrat, Cervera and Lerida.
3. Narbonne, Perpignan, Camprodon and towards Besalú and Gerona where we connect with route 1.
4. Narbonne, Foix, the Seu d' Urgell and Lerida following the course of the Segre river.
5. Narbonne, Saint Gaudens, Vielha, Huesca, Jaca. The less concurred route that only passed through the most western part of the Principality.
There is no doubt, that among the five listed itineraries, the most concurred were the first and the second. There are, nevertheless, many more ways like the route of the “Pallars” that came from Vielha and Salardu, following the “Noguera Pallaresa” or the “tarraconense” route that from Barcelona went towards Tarragona or Tortosa to overcome the course of the Ebro. It would be almost impossible to detach them all because many towns and cities of Catalonia keep the memory of the passage of pilgrims through their streets and ways.
The pilgrims that wanted to go to Montserrat from Barcelona left the city through the door of San Antonio and, along the left margin of the Llobregat, they went towards Martorell, crossed Masquefa, Piera, Vallbona d' Anoia, Capellades, then Vilanova of the Camí and Igualada and then visited the sanctuary, where they used to arrive by Collbató. Since XVI century the route through Martorell, Esparraguera and Collbato is also documented.
From Igualada, the pilgrims continued the way through Jorba, Santa Maria del Camino, Montmaneu and Cervera, where there was a hospital. From Cervera, the route continued through Tarrega, Vilagrassa, Mollerussa, Bell-lloc d' Urgell and Lerida, where converged another route that came from Tarragona.
With the passage of the pilgrims, Catalonia saw harnessed its own sanctuaries, especially the monastery of Montserrat and perhaps also the sanctuary of San Pedro de Rodes, which could be visited by the ones that passed near the coast coming from the Rosellon. In Gerona, some pilgrims visited the tomb of San Narciso and, in Barcelona, many prayed in the tomb of Santa Eulalia or to the relics of Saint Galderic.
* Guide "El Camí de Sant Jaume de Montserat a Alcarràs"
What is the credencial for?
The Credential, serves to obtain the Compostela.
Is a document that credits that the pilgrimage to Santiago has been done.
This certificate, that is issued by the Cathedral of Santiago, is given to those pilgrims who declares having done the pilgrimage "pietatis causa", that is for religious or, at least, spiritual reasons.
On the contrary, you can always keep the Credential like accrediting document.
For more information on this subject, you can consult advice/credential
Inauguration of the way
Last 27 of March the section that goes from the Port de la Selva to Montserrat was inaugurated.
Port de la Selva - Montserrat
Section from the Port de la Selva to Montserrat.
Montserrat - Alcarràs
Section from Montserrat to Alcarràs.
The culture is the sign of identity of Catalonia, a country of artists and entrepreneurs that looks it the past for the essence of its innovating spirit and opened to the world. All inside a kaleidoscopic landscape that has been a reference and an inspiration for architects and sculptors, musicians and painters. The symbiosis between nature and culture, between the landscape and the work of the creators of all the times constitutes one of main attractiveness that our country offers to the people who visit us.
For further information: http://cultura.catalunya.com
From the highest summits of the Pyrenees to the most recondite coves of the Mediterranean, passing through the interior plains or the natural reserves of the Delta of the Ebro and the lands of Lerida, Catalonia is placed in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, in the confluence of two large European biogeographic regions, the Euro-Siberian and the Mediterranean, that confers it an particular and attractive natural wealth. The numerous parks and natural reserves and the more than twenty spaces of ornithological interest that extend throughout the country are a sample of its great biological diversity.
For further information: http://actiunatura.catalunya.com
Catalonia has many excellent spaces to practice leisure activities in contact with the nature, in which the conservation of the nature and the security of the tourist are the main priorities. The extraordinary biodiversity of the catalan landscape makes the visitor to be able to go hiking or to practice cycle-tourism, rafting or hydro-sledge, to sail in kayak in the sea or the river, to go down gullies, hang-gliding, paragliding, balloon or helicopter, to jump in parachute, to ride horse or to climb.
The gastronomical recognition of Catalonia comes guaranteed not only by the centuries of tradition, their predisposition for the vanguard and the international prestige of 45 Catalan restaurants, it also comes by the important task that its 17 collectives of kitchen make, this entities groups more than 200 restaurants committed to offer a rooted in the territory kitchen. This great "know how" in the burners and the great quality of the production, transformation and native elaboration (with 16 denominations of origin of products like the wine, the sparkling wine and the olive oil) have positioned Catalonia among the main gastronomical destinies of the world.
For further information: http://gastronomia.catalunya.com
At the moment with 21 accessible destinies distributed along the territory, the handicapped persons can enjoy our history, our natural resources, etc. The way of Sant Jaume in Catalonia tries to provide information and tools so that the people with reduced mobility or some type of incapacity will also have access.
For further information: www.camidesantjaumeperatothom.cat