Santiago de Compostela

views updated May 08 2018


Pilgrimage shrine and metropolitan see (Compostellanus ) since 1120 in Galicia, northwest spain. The discovery of relics of the Apostle St. james (son of zebedee), caused the Roman-Visigothic See of Iria to be moved to Santiago.

Shrine. The oldest certain document for the tradition that the Apostle St. James the Greater preached in Spain is the Breviarium apostolorum, a 6th7th century Latin translation of debatable historical value. Earlier, didymus the blind (Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, 271 v., indexes 4 v. [Paris 187890] 39:488) and theodoret of cyr (Patrologia Graeca, ed. J. P. Migne, 161 v. [Paris 185766] 83:1010) spoke of an Apostle who reached Spain but did not say who he was. Other testimonies, certainly based on the Breviarium, are from aldhelm of Malmesbury in 709 (Patrologia Latina 89:187) and from an interpolated recension of the De obitu patrum of isidore of seville (Historisches Jahrbuch 77 [1958] 467472). Modern scholars are divided on the credibility of the tradition, inasmuch as there is no mention of it in Spanish Christian literature before the 8th century.

Relics of St. James were found in Libredón (later Compostela) near the See of Iria under Bishop Theodemir (847), who concluded from the Breviarium text that disciples of the Apostle had brought his body there from Jerusalem. The event was of major importance in the later history and culture of Europe and the world, as St. James became the battle cry and patron of the reconquest of Spain from the Moors. Recently, however, endless interpretations, theories, hypotheses, and controversies have arisen about the tradition, including a claim that the cult of the saint is a continuation of that of the pagan gods Castor and Pollux (Ciencia Tomista 88[1961] 417474, 559590). Some scholars deny that the Apostle ever came to Spain. The best explanation seems to be that the relics discovered in the 9th century were relics of the Apostle, of greater or lesser importance, brought to Galicia in antiquity. The nature of the relics and the date of their arrival are debated. They have been identified as those mentioned in a 7th century inscription as being in the basilica of Santa Maria in Mérida, perhaps brought north with Christian refugees from the Arab invasion of 711. But cultural ties between Galicia and the Holy Land go back at least to the time of the Peregrinatio Aetheriae (c. 400), and the relics may have come to Santiago even earlier. Recent excavations beneath the basilica in Santiago have uncovered remains that date from the 1st to the 12th century, but the earliest ones may not be Christian.

At any rate, from the 9th century people began to believe that St. James had come to Spain and was buried in Santiago. King Alfonso II of the Asturias (791842) built a church over the tomb to which pilgrims came. After Iria was sacked by Northmen (c. 850), and the bishops moved to Compostela, Alfonso III (866910) built a larger church, consecrated in 899, which became a national shrine for the new kingdom of León; Bermudo II was crowned there in 982. In 997 al-Mansur of cÓrdoba destroyed Compostela, except for the tomb, and a new church was consecrated in 1003. Bishop Diego Peláez of Iria (107088) began a new church (c. 1075), but work was halted in 1087 when he was imprisoned by Alfonso VI for treason. Individual and group pilgrimages began early, from Spain, Europe, and the whole Christian world: the French bishop of Le Puy came in 950, Hugh of Vermandois (of Reims) in 961, the hermit Simon of Armenia in 983984, the bishops of Lyons and Mainz and Count Raymond of Burgundy in the 11th century; in the 12th came Matilda, widow of Emperor henry v, William of Aquitaine, Louis VII of France; and later, St. dominic, St. francis of assisi, St. Isabella of Portugal, and others. A group of German pilgrims came from the Rheingau in 1203, and crusaders to the Holy Land (Dutch and Germans in 1217) came first to Santiago, which ranked with Jerusalem and Rome as a pilgrimage center. A pilgrimage to Santiago was frequently imposed as a sacramental penance or as a punishment by judges. shrines and brotherhoods dedicated to the Apostle were established in France, Flanders, England, Germany, Russia, and even in the East. In 1195 the knights of st. james had their statutes approved by the pope.

Jubilee years were held when the feast of St. James (July 25) fell on a Sunday. Kings issued general safeconducts for foreigners; and certain routes, the Road to Santiago, were accorded special protection. From north central France, three roads from the monasteries of Le Puy, Vézelay, and Orléans joined in Saint-Jean Pied du Port and via Cise-Roncevalles entered Spain. In Puente la Reina this route joined the southern route from arles via Toulouse, Col de Somport, and Jaca. From Puente la Reina to Santiago took ten days via Estella, Nájera, Burgos, Frómista, Sahagún, León, Rabanal, Villafrance, and Triacastela. Large guest houses and hospitals cared for the pilgrims en route. In Roncevalles 30,000 meals a year were served; in Burgos 2,000 pilgrims could be accommodated it seems. Some of these buildings still survive in Roncevalles, Villarente, Orbigo, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, San Marcos de León, and Santiago itself. SS John Ortega and domingo de la calzada built bridges and repaired roads on the pilgrimage route. Documents and pilgrims' accounts mention abuses by innkeepers, the barbarity of the Basques, and robbery by thieves disguised as pilgrims, but kings and local authorities punished the abuses severely. A whole literature developed, for pilgrim guides and for edification, including the famous Liber sancti Iacobi and the Guide of the Pilgrim of Picaud in France (12th century), a 14th-century English work published by Samuel Purchas in 1625, a rhymed German account and a work by von Harf (15th century), several 16th-century French itineraries, and a 17th-century Italian one by the Dominican de Laffi. The spread of Romanesque art in Europe owes much to ties that began with the pilgrimages.

Archdiocese. Known bishops of Iria date from the 6th century. Andrew (56172) had seven or eight successors under the Visigoths and another seven under the Moors before Bishop Theodemir in 847. SS. Rosendus (96877) and Peter Mesonzo (9851003) were known for the pastoral care of their flock and of the many pilgrims who had begun to arrive. After the consecration of the cathedral in 1003, the bishops began to regard themselves as primates of Spain. In 1049 Pope Leo IX censured Cresconius for calling himself "bishop of the apostolic see"; in 1060 and 1063 Cresconius held synods to restore discipline. Urban II in 1088 revived the Visigothic primacy of Toledo, whose bishop became papal legate in 1095, the year in which Urban transferred the See of Iria to Santiago under Bishop Dalmatius (109495) and exempted it from the metropolitan authority of Braga. In 1120 Santiago became a metropolitan see with a dozen suffragans.

Archbishop Diego Gelmírez (110040), man of letters, warrior, politician, builder of churches and monasteries, and pastor, gained the good will of kings and popes, hoping to have Santiago replace toledo in primacy. Pascal II confirmed Santiago's exemption in 1101 and granted Gelmírez the pallium in 1104. Callistus II in 1120 transferred to Santiago the metropolitan dignity of Mérida, which with its former suffragans were to become suffragan to Santiago after their reconquest. He also made Gelmírez papal legate in the province of Braga and Santiago. But the prelates of Toledo and Braga, whose territory separated Santiago from its suffragans, hindered the exercise of metropolitan authority by Gelmírez, whose legatine powers were not renewed by Honorius II or Innocent II. In 1127 Alfonso VII made the metropolitan of Santiago chancellor of the Kingdom of León. Gelmírez convoked provincial synods and reorganized his cathedral chapter with 72 canons, 7 of whom Pascal II allowed to call themselves cardinals in 1101 and to use the miter in 1105.

French, especially cluniac, influence was strong in Galicia under Gelmírez, who sent clerics to study in France and obtained masters from France and Italy for his reorganized cathedral school. In time Santiago annexed the Portuguese Sees of Coimbra, Lisbon, Évora, Lamego, Viseu, and Idanha, and the Spanish Sees of Ávila, Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo, Zamora, and Coria, despite the protests of Toledo. The Historia Compostelana, an enthusiastic chronicle written to glorify the see, is of great interest for ecclesiastical history from the 9th to the 12th century. Bp. Rodrigo del Padrón (130716) stands out in the next two centuries of splendor enjoyed by the bishops of Santiago, who were among the richest and most powerful magnates of Galicia with their vast lands, vassals, strongholds, a navy, and a mint. The moral decline of the 14th century ended in the western schism. In 1393 Santiago lost its Portuguese suffragans to Lisbon but gained Lugo, Orense, and Mondoñedo from Braga.

The 16th century saw a renaissance in the archdiocese. Pope Clement VII approved the statutes of the university in 1526. Brotherhoods of the Blessed Sacrament appeared in all the parishes, and devotion to Mary increased, thanks to zealous prelates such as the learned humanist Alfonso III de Fonseca (150624), Gaspar de Abalos (154245), Cardinal Juan Álvarez de Toledo (d.1557), and Gaspar de Zúñiga (155869), who promulgated the decrees of the Council of trent. Protestantism made dangerous inroads through the pilgrimages, as did the enlightenment in the 18th century and Liberalism in the 19th. The abuses of French Napoleonic troops continued under liberal governments that suppressed the voto de Santiago (a contribution of wheat and bread from certain Spanish workers) as well as the national offering, and suppressed monasteries, exiled bishops, and confiscated ecclesiastical goods. This caused a scarcity of clerics, who in turn became lax. Alfonso XII restored the national offering in 1877. After excavations of 187879 beneath the basilica, Pope Leo XIII in 1884 recognized the legitimacy of the relics and the tomb of St. James. A provincial synod of 1887 promulgated the decrees of vatican council i, and in 1891 a synod applied the decisions of the Council of Compostela.

The cathedral, a Romanesque masterpiece modeled after St. Sernin in Toulouse, was begun in 1075 and completed and consecrated in 1211 by Abp. Peter Muñoz. The original three naves and wide transept were elaborately buried under plateresque and baroque façades and towers in the 16th and 17th centuries; and the cathedral is surrounded by the grandiose episcopal palace, the cloister, and the library. The famous Portal de la Gloria (116883) of the architect-sculptor Maestro Mateo fills a side façade with Christian, Jewish, and pagan symbolic imagery. A statue of St. James is covered with gold and silver leaf, and the huge Botafumeiro censer almost five feet high, which swings from the roof of the transept, was gold and silver in the 18th century but now is brass. The Monastery of Antealtares was once a pantheon of bishops and abbots. The grandiose 17th-century Benedictine monastery of San Martín Pinario is now a conciliar seminary. The Romanesque churches of Santa Susana, Santa Salomé, and Santa Maria la Real de Sar date from the 12th century. The Franciscan and Dominican convents, the palace of Diego Gelmírez, and the Gran Hospital Real (with a rich façade) built as a hospice for pilgrims by Ferdinand and Isabella are noteworthy monuments. Many parish churches in the archdiocese were once monastery churches.

University. The university, built in plateresque style, was founded in 1501 by Abp. Alfonso III de Fonseca with Fonseca College (15061841) and the College of San Jerónimo for 24 poor students (16th19th centuries, in classical style); it has included the College of San Clemente for boys (160219th century), the Seminary of Confessors (175072), and the college for acolytes and choir boys (1589). From the beginning, the university offered degrees in theology, arts, and law; and from 1769, theology, canon and civil law, medicine, and philosophy. In 1845 it became a state university that now has faculties of philosophy and letters, law, medicine, sciences, and pharmacy. The conciliar seminary founded in 1825 was a pontifical university from 1897 to 1932.

The cathedral archives have documents dating back to 1136. The archives of Diocesan Notaries (15th century), of the Secretariat of the Chamber (from the 12th century), of the Benedictines of San Pelayo (from the 10th century), the chapter library (16th19th centuries), and the rich library of the seminary are important, as are the museum of the cathedral and the museum of music.

Bibliography: j. guerra, "Notas críticas sobre el origen del culto sepulcral a Santiago en Compostela," Ciencia Tomista 88 (1961) 417474, 559590. a. lÓpez ferreiro, Historia de la Santa A.M. Iglesia de Compostela, 11 v. (Santiago 18981911). l. vÁzquez de parga et al., Las peregrinaciones a Santiago, 3 v. (Madrid 194849). l. huidobro y serna, Las peregrinaciones jacobeas, 3 v. (Burgos 1950). g. g. king, The Way of Saint James, 3 v. (New York 1920). a. g. biggs, Diego Gelmírez, First Archbishop of Compostela (Washington 1949). d. gelmÍrez, Historia Compostelana, Span. tr. f. m. suÁrez (Santiago 1950). a. f. g. bell, Spanish Galicia (London 1922). k. j. conant, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Cambridge, Mass. 1926). w. m. whitehill, Spanish Romanesque Architecture of the Eleventh Century (Oxford 1941). s. cabeza de leÓn, Historia de la Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, ed. e. fernÁndez villamil, 3 v. (Santiago 194547). j. filgueira valverde, Santiago de Compostela: Guía de sus monumentose itinerarios (La Coruña 1950). a. chamoso lamas, Santiago de Compostela (Barcelona 1961). z. garcÍa villada, Historia eclesiástica de España, 3 v. in 5 (Madrid 192936) 1.1:27379. t. d. kendrick, St. James in Spain (London 1960). y. bottineau, Les Chemins de Saint-Jacques (Paris 1964). Annuario Pontificio (1964) 400401, 1417.

[a. g. biggs/

m. rios/

j. vives]

Santiago de Compostela

views updated May 23 2018

Santiago de Compostela a city in NW Spain, capital in Galicia, named after St James the Great (Spanish Sant Iago), whose remains, according to Spanish tradition, were brought there after his death. According to later accounts, the relics were rediscovered in 813, when a hermit named Pelayo noticed a star hovering above the previously hidden tomb. The story gave rise to a popular folk etymology, in which Compostela was seen to mean campus stellae ‘field of the star’, rather than being related to compostum ‘burial place’.

From the 9th century, when the relics were discovered, the city became the centre of a national and Christian movement against the Moors and an important place of pilgrimage.

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Santiago de Compostela

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