In today’s post we would like to explain you a little bit more about who was Santiago, Spain’s patron saint and evangelist in the north of the Iberian Peninsula.

Also known as James the Great, in order to distinguish him from the other apostle namesake, he was the first to spill his blood and died martyr in Jesus´ name.

He had very humble origin, and proceeded from a fisherman’s family. He had an apostle brother, John, and both were called “the sons of thunder”, because of their strong temperament.

Santiago was also one of the closest disciples of Jesus, chosen to witness some of them most important moments in the Messiah life´s as the Transfiguration and the time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Also he was one of the witnesses about the apparitions of the Risen Jesus in the Sea of Galilee. What else you need to know about who was Santiago?

Who was Santiago, the Evangelist of Spain

According to the Christian tradition James was member of the primitive Church in Jerusalem, and according to his strong temperament was selected to bring the faith seed to the Iberian Peninsula.

Starting from this point, the entire life of Santiago is inevitably merged with Spain, where he spent many years spreading Jesus´ words.

Until now there is no evidence about the exact point by which he penetrated in the Peninsula, as long as some theories defend that he entered by the northern Coast of Portugal (by the same place of nowadays Finisterre Way), and other ones ensure that it was by the Ebro valley, and the Roman road that crossed the North of Spain, parallel to the coast (by the current North Way).

There are also some theories about the possibility of James the Great to entry in Spain by the South, from the current city of Cartagena. He could then initiate his trip from there crossing the entire Iberian Peninsula.

The arrival of the Apostle’s remains to Compostela

Although there is no evidence about how it really occurred, we at least know that the Apostle was beheaded in 42, by an order of Herod Agrippa the First, king in Judea.

Why he returned to Judea, from Spain? Some apocryphal text (that is, the ones no officially accepted as part of the Bible) suggested that the Holy Mary, mother of Jesus, appeared to the disciples to warn them about her soon dead.

That could be why James the Apostle died in Judea. The seven apostolic men that were with him in that moment were selected to recover his body after the decapitation, and transfer him again to Spain.

We agree that the idea seems not very realistic, but it can explain why many centuries after that the discovery of the relics of the saint was in a small ditch with the caption “Here lies Santiago, son of Zebedee and Salome”.

The author of this discovery immediately referred to the Iria Flavia Bishop, Teodomiro, the appearance of a new start, with a strong brightness in the mount Libredon, the place where the remains were found. And this is the origin of the name Compostela, “field of the start” or Campus Stellae in Latin.

From this moment, the first pilgrimages started to Santiago, as we commented many times before.

During some years the relics of James the Great remained disappeared, but nowadays there are venerated in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. They will remain there also waiting for your visit!

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Did you know before who was Santiago, and the amazing history of this Spain’s evangelist?