There are many people who wonder if the remains of the Apostle Santiago are really in Santiago de Compostela. As many of you know, Santiago is a center of pilgrimage because according to history the tomb of the Apostle is inside the Cathedral. But what is the story behind it? How did Santiago get to the place they call Compostela? In today’s post we will tell you what is the legend and the official story that explains this:
The story goes back to the times of Jesus. One day, when he was reunited with his apostles, he entrusted them with the mission of preaching his word to the ends of the earth. Santiago el Mayor, one of his principal disciples, decided to take the road and reach the end of the known land. After a long journey, he arrives at Finisterre, a place in the northwest of Galicia that already the Romans had considered it “The end of the earth”. After a time of preaching, the apostle returns to Judea in the year 44, but is beheaded by King Herod of Agrippa I.
With this situation, seven disciples of the apostle decided to bury him in the places where he had been preaching, so they decided to use a boat, which was said to be made of stone, and they sailed for 7 days guided by angels transporting the apostle’s body from Judea to the coasts of Galicia.
To their surprise, they arrived at a place where they tied the boat to a large “pedrón”, and in doing so, this “pedrón” was transformed into a sepulcher – this place is now known by all as Padrón, from where the famous peppers are. However, there inhabited a pagan queen named Lupa who ordered the expulsion of the disciples there with the remains of the apostle. So they left the place in an ox cart until they reached a forest called Libredón, where the oxen stopped for the first time because they were tired and thirsty. In this way, they decide to build a large tomb there where they bury the apostle. For the care of the tomb, two of his disciples, Theodore and Athanasius, remained in the place and were subsequently buried with the apostle.
The centuries passed and the grave was left in oblivion until one night, in the year 813, something strange happened in the Libredón forest. One night a hermit in the area named Pelayo saw strange stars that were emitting light to a specific area of the forest. As it seemed something divine to him what he was seeing, he quickly went to tell a bishop who lived very close to Padrón, Bishop Teodomiro.
Teodomiro decides to go into the forest and chase the lights until he finds an especially large tomb. It is said that the bishop at that time had a revelation and understood that he was at the tomb of the Apostle James. The King of that moment, Alfonso II, was quickly notified, and he did not hesitate to approach the lands of Libredón to find out if the discovery was real news.
When the king verified that this was true, he began to devise a plan to safeguard the mausoleum and to make known the news, which ran like wildfire throughout Europe: Compostela and the cult of the Apostle James were beginning to take off.
Stamp of the Holy Year Compostelano 1993. Discovery of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago by Bishop Teodomiro.0