The apostle St. James
The beginning of Christianity in the Iberian peninsula and much of Europe was due to the action of a man, an apostle of Christ, who was in this region a few years after the death of Jesus Christ. It was thanks to this impulse that Christianity grew in this area and in Garabandal. Centuries later, the Christian reconquest began in the region of Asturias and Cantabria, region where Garabandal is inserted.
2. The Holy One
The saint who gives name and consequence to the Way of Saint James, was born Ia'aqob, about 12 years before Christ. Son of the fisherman Zebedee and elder brother of John, James lived with the family in Bethsaida, near the lake of Generasé, where Jesus found them in one of his preaching in the region.
In the year 31, Jesus Christ, walking along the Sea of Galilee called the two brothers (Matthew 4:21), admitted them in the group of the twelve apostles and gave them the name of Boanerges which means Children of Thunder (Mark 3: 17), because of the inexhaustible energy of both, well expressed in the episode in which Christ arrived with his followers in the land of the Samaritans and these interdicted the entrance to him; James and John, seeing in this event an affront, asked the Lord if they wanted to send fire from heaven to consume the city (Luke 9:54), to which Jesus replied: "You do not know what spirits you are! he came to lose, but to save souls "(Luke 9: 55-9: 56).
James was called "Greater" (Santiago el Mayor), to be distinguished from another homonymous apostle, known as James the Less, for being younger. He enjoyed special trust and relationship with Jesus as a basic disciple standing out with Peter and John from the rest of the group and witnessing the important moments in Jesus' life such as the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8: 51-8: 56 ) and that of the transfiguration (Mark 9: 2).
Shortly after the death of Christ in the year 33, the Apostle was sent to the region where the kingdoms that form present-day Spain were located, to preach Christian doctrine, probably the only apostle who went to preach in the West. James did a lot of work in the region, but the word of Christ was not readily accepted, because of the ingrained histories and traditions of the region's population. He returned to Jerusalem in AD 43, a time when persecution of Christians in Palestine was at its peak and as one of the most influential preachers of Christianity, was imprisoned and killed by order of Herod Agrippa, King of the Jews, in this way, the first apostle to shed blood for Christ. As he was led into execution, James performs two miracles: the conversion and baptism of his guard, a Pharisee named Josiah, and the healing of a paralytic.
In order to avoid the worship of his followers, his body was shredded and the parts scattered over several places, so that there was no physical reference of the Saint and the remembrance would fade more quickly among the faithful. With his death began one of the most interesting sagas of Catholicism, in the face of the hardships that he faced without ever denying his faith and being absent from his ideals and, mainly, because of the immense Christian movement that impelled after his death: pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which brings together every year thousands of people, of all types and religions, in an admirable Christian movement, with deep religious appeal.
5. Union by Faith
At that time, the Christians of the Iberian Peninsula were engaged in a long struggle against the Moorish invaders, which extended from 711 to 1492. Disunited and divided into rival kingdoms, they encountered difficulties to confront the enemy and became easy prey for the conquerors, who went overcoming, even with certain ease, the disarticulated kingdoms of the region, gradually increasing its dominion in the region.
The discovery of the body of the apostle in the area of conflict was highly beneficial for the Christian people of the region, as well as generate a great popular curiosity and increase the flow of the faithful to the Peninsula, starting a cycle of pilgrimage with the consequent strengthening of Christianity in the region , endowed the Christian hosts with an emblematic figure, reason enough to unify them, making them more consistent, stronger and therefore less vulnerable to the Arabs.
6. Strengthening of Christianity
The first and greatest manifestation of the importance of the discovery and annunciation of the body of the Apostle, already called Saint by the population, occurred during the unfolding of the famous battle of Clavijo, near Logroño, in 844. In this battle Ramiro I, king of the catholic Asturias, with a smaller and less prepared army, faced the numerous and trained troops of Abderraman II, fourth emir of Cordova, in the region then known as Muslim Spain. The Christians were clearly at a disadvantage when, they say, the Apostle appeared on a white horse (the same thing happened in Garabandal, there are reports of people on this event that occurred on 25 July in Garabandal), and led the Christian army to a victory overwhelming over the Moors. From that fact, also happened to be known like Santiago "Matamoros". The myth grew stronger and became increasingly famous. The movement of pilgrimage and worship of the remains of the Apostle spread throughout the West.
With the increase of the pilgrimage to the tomb of the saint, the king of Asturias Afonso III promoted, in the year 899, the expansion and improvement of the chapel erected originally to house the remains of the Apostle, in order to meet the increasing demand of the pilgrims. A proof of the strength that the Saint already acquired and that it was no longer restricted only to the region, reaching other parts of the world was the case when the Muslims led by Captain Almanzor, ruler of Cordoba and leader of the Moors of Spain, who overcame the Christian forces, sacked and destroyed the city and the chapel, but respected the tomb of Santiago, leaving it intact. As the basilica needed to grow to meet the demand of the faithful, in 1075, Bishop Diego Pelaez, with the support of Afonso VI, King of Leon and Castile, promoted the construction of what would be the third basilica in the holy site, Romanesque style.
James, or St. James, one of the twelve apostles of Christ and brother of the apostle and evangelist John, has one of the most beautiful and fruitful life stories. Santiago is the reason for being of the "Way in Santiago", one of the three Christian paths, traveled by hundreds of thousands of people of diverse parts of the world every year, in pilgrimage to its tomb that is in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in the city of the same name, in Galicia, Spain. These people walk the Path in the name of faith, in search of inner peace and the encounter of God.
It was the same Apostle James who "was seen" at Garabandal on the day of his feast (25 July) in the year 1961. His manifestation was performed riding through the sky for about ten minutes around midnight. This supernatural event was witnessed by several people who were there that day in Garabandal, among them the parish priest of the village, Don Valentin Marichalar.
The best mentions on Santiago are found in the book Liber Sancti Jacobi "Codex Calistinus", which tells the life and work of Santiago, composed of 5 books and written in the 12th century by the French cleric Aymeric Picaud at the request of Pope Callisto II. In Book 3 there is a very interesting quote about its qualities:
"After the Passion of our Savior and the glorious triumph of his Resurrection, and after his admirable Ascension, when he ascended to the throne of his Father and the Paraclete also, after the effusion of the tongues of fire upon the apostels, the disciples, whom he had chosen, enlightened by the rays of wisdom and inspired by heavenly grace, made known with their preaching the name of Christ everywhere, to the peoples and nations, and the number of them, the saint of marvelous virtue, the blessed for his life, the marvelous for his virtue, the enlightened his wit, the brilliant by his oratory, was James, whose brother John is known as an evangelist and apostle. "
3.The Pilgrimage Path
The Way of Saint James began to be created with the death of the Saint and began to be trodden by the first pilgrims about 800 years after his death. The story of the Way is fascinating and indeed began when Theodorus and Athanasius, his disciples, recovered James' body in Palestine and, following the tradition of bury the apostle at the preaching site, moved the body to the place where he had preached on a seven-day boat trip to the site of the Ulla River in Padron, Galicia, where they laid him down for eternal rest. All would end there if it were not for the divine indication, which certainly had other plans for the apostle James.
Thus in 813 the hermit Pelayo, who lived in Solovo, in the wood of Libredon, where 770 years before Theodore and Athanasius had deposited the master's body, began to see luminous signs in the sky, resembling a shower of stars which always fell in the same place. Impressed, he reported what had happened to the diocesan bishop Teodomiro, of Iria Flavia, former Padron. This, at the insistence of the hermit, went to Libredon, where he witnessed the phenomenon reported by Pelayo. Searching for the spot where the lights were on, they found the stone tomb where the body of Santiago rested. The discovery attracted the attention of religious and authorities of the region and in the year 814, the king of Asturias, Alfonso II the Casto, had erected a chapel in homage to the Apostle in that place, that happened to be known like Compostela, word formed by the expression Latin stellar campus (star field). The news reached Pope Leo III (795-816), who gave notice to the Christian world in the writing Noscat fraternitas vestra: "the body of the blessed Apostle Santiago was transferred whole to the territory of Galicia."
7.Jacobean Holy year
Pope Calixto II, of French origin, temporarily instituted the Jacobean Holy Year in 1122, and was formalized with his ratification by the Bula Regis Aeterni, published by Pope Alexander III in 1179 and which is the oldest granting leaflet of the religion catholic Also known as Ano Santo Compostela, it has a variable periodicity of five, six and 11 years, whenever the feast of Santiago, on July 25, falls on a Sunday and is the most frequent Jubilee of the Catholic Church. Exceptionally they were considered two holy years outside of tradition: in 1884, in praise for the rediscovery of the body of the Apostle and in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Another attraction of the Holy Year is the opening of the "Holy Door" at the back of the Cathedral in the Plaza de La Quintana.
Even more important is that pilgrims in holy years could receive the Jubilee Bull or Jubilee, a privilege dating from the twelfth century, inscribed in the Bull Regis Aeterni. The grace of the jubilee consists, in essence, in the full indulgence of sins.
Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the intense traffic of pilgrims transformed Compostela into the most important political and economic center of northwest Spain.
However, the pest (14th century) and the European religious wars made the walk very dangerous and decreased the search for the Way. With the closure in the 16th century of the French route as a route of pilgrimage and commerce, by virtue of the war between the kingdoms of Castile and France, the Way fell into decline.
In 1588 with the city besieged by the English privateer Francis Drake and under the risk of imminent invasion, Archbishop San Clemente removed from the Cathedral and hid the ark with the mortal remains of Santiago to avoid that it was desecrated by the invader. The ark remained in an unknown place for more than 300 years. It was rediscovered by Cardinal Palay at the end of the 19th century, 1878, when the cult of Santiago was resumed with the rediscovery of the relics and the pacification of the region.
The beginning of the nineteenth century was terrible for Spain, which suffered the French invasion and had its capital taken in 1833. But the Path, with the rediscovery of the remains of Santiago and a policy of reconstruction and reorganization of Spanish territory, resumed its vigor . The twentieth century presented new dark periods for the country, suffering with two world wars and with the bloody Civil War (1936-1939) on Spanish soil. The Path resented it, but it did not stop at this chaotic horizon.
The Way took a new breath from the twentieth century. The multi-secular pilgrimage to Compostela, along the Camino de Santiago, generated from the beginning a spiritual, cultural and economic prosperity. He fostered literature, music, art and history, and as a result cities and towns, as well as countless churches, cathedrals and hospitals, appeared to support and comfort the pilgrims. The Way always functioned as a catalyst for cultures, transmitter of ideas and promoter of the meeting of peoples and languages, which was strongly emphasized in the twentieth century.