What is The Camino
What is The Camino
El Camino de Santiago is the name given to any of the several ancient pilgrimage routes spanning Europe that end in the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northwest Spain. Here tradition holds that the remains of Jesus’ Apostle, Saint James the Elder, rest within the ancient city’s Cathedral.
Legend maintains that for many years this Apostle, James the Elder, wandered the Iberian Peninsula as a Christian missionary. Later, while staying in Jerusalem, he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa, King of Judea. He became the first of the apostles to be martyred. The legend continues that James’ body was placed in a stone boat guided by angels and carried by the wind back to his beloved Spain. His body remained there, largely forgotten until the 9th Century when Alfonso II, King of Asturias, became the first Camino Pilgrim.
Alfonso traveled on the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo, Spain, to the site of a small village named Campus Stellae. There he established a Christian Church dedicated to James. Pilgrims began following his path in increasing numbers as miracles were attributed to the site.
Such pilgrimages were encouraged and promoted by the Kings and Religious Orders of both Spain and France as the Camino not only helped to stabilize the northern borders between Christians and Moors but also resulted in the development of cities and villages along the way.
Thus began the thousand year history of the Camino.
In these modern times, more than a quarter million pilgrims each year make their way to the Cathedral along one of the many routes for both religious and secular intentions. But no matter their reasons, the participants in this ancient trek find the space and time for solitude, peace, reflection and the opportunity to meet people from around the world as they walk along The Way.