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July 25


Saint of the day:
Saint James the Greater, James, son of Zebedee

Patron Saint of pilgrims and Spain

Saint James the Apostle’s Story

This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20).

James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony in Gethsemani.

Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. Saint Matthew tells that their mother came–Mark says it was the brothers themselves–to ask that they have the seats of honor in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!”

The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life.

On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them…” (Luke 9:54-55).

James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a).

This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.,_son_of_Zebedee





Our Lady of the Pillar

Our Lady of the Pillar


St James the Greater – the brother of St John the Evangelist (d. 44)


(Relics: Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Jerusalem, Israel)

Tradition holds that St James the Greater traveled to Spain soon after the death of Christ. During this time the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to him as Our Lady of the Pillar. Subsequently he returned to Jerusalem where he was beheaded in 44 AD. According to tradition his relics were then returned to Spain either by angels or by Spanish disciples. The Armenian church of St James in Jerusalem honors his martyrdom and claims to possess the relic of his head.

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

(Cathedral of James of Compostela)

Praza do Obradoiro S/N

15705 Santiago de Compostela, La Coruna, Spain

*For more than 1000 years pilgrims have walked along the famous Camino de Santiago to visit the relics of St James the Greater in this church.

In 2014 alone over 200,000 individuals made this pilgrimage.

The relics of St James rest below the main sanctuary of this church within a small silver reliquary.


St James Cathedral

Armenian Quarter

91190 Jerusalem, Israel

*St James the Less is purportedly buried next to his reputed throne on the left side of the main sanctuary.

This is the large chair below the onion-shaped baldacchino.

*The head of St James the Greater is said to rest under a small circular piece of red marble located within the third chapel on the left side of the nave. This chapel is also said to mark the location of his martyrdom.

*Access to this church is limited. It is generally open for only forty minutes during the Vigil service at the 3pm hour.






Tarta de Santiago Cake

Tarta de Santiago is nearly fail-proof to bake and is a traditional
Spanish dessert served during Holy Week.


Serves 6-8


  • 2 2/3 cups almonds

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 8 tbsp butter (at room temperature)

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 lemon grind

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Powdered sugar


1. Take almonds, and place them in a grinder or
food processor to create a fine powder. Set aside.
2. Heat oven to 350ºF degrees.
Grease a round 8″ spring-form pan.
3. Cream the butter with sugar until fluffy.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs one at a time.
5. Stir in flour, ground almonds and lemon zest.
6. Add butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and water
and stir until thoroughly mixed into a batter.
7. Pour batter into cake pan.
8. Bake for about 45-50 minutes.
9. Insert a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean. Allow to cool.
10. Sprinkle the juice of one lemon over the top.
11. Decorate with powdered sugar.


The traditional way to decorate the Tarta de Santiago is to sprinkle powdered sugar around a cutout of the insignia Cross of the Order of Santiago. Fold a clean piece of paper in half, draw a vertical half of the fleur-de-lis cross along the folded edge, and cut out. Place the stencil in the center and dust around it with powdered sugar.

St. Iago Pork Chops

There are many recipes associated with St. James the Greater include scallops, such as Coquilles Saint-Jacques.  St. James, the elder brother of St. John the Apostle with whom he became one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, labored by the Sea of Galilee (see the biblical reference of Matthew 4:21-22). Seafoods are typically prepared for his feast day, but there are other recipes to honor St. James, such as fruit cups, almond cakes, tomato soufflés and pork chops. 




  • 4-6 thick pork chops

  • 1 tablepoon oil

  • 1 small onion, choped

  • 2 tablespoons rum

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper



  1. In a large skillet, brown the pork chops in oil.

  2. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the onions.

  3. Remove from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, pour in the rum and scrape any brown bits.

  4. Add the soy sauce, ketchup and chicken stock, stirring until well blended. Season with pepper.

  5. Return the onions and pork chops to the skillet, immersing the pork chops in the liquid.

  6. Cover the skillet, lower the cooking temperature and simmer for about an hour.

  7. Check within 30 minutes to see if the sauce needs thinning with a little water.

  8. When the pork chops are tender and cooked through, serve with the thickened sauce and onions.


Walking the Pilgrimage!
Saint James Pilgrimage is almost 500 miles! Bring comfy shoes.
The Cruz de Hierro (Iron Cross) on the Camino de Santiago is the highest point.
And don't miss the free wine fountain provided by Bodegas Irache, a local winery, along the Camino de Santiago.

 The Pilgrim Shell

The iconic scallop shell or ‘concha’ is a real reminder that the Camino de Santiago is one of the world’s great pilgrimage routes.

Can you find the way with the shells?

Do you have your walking stick?

Can you tell Seashells are everywhere? Saint James was a fisherman and this is his symbol.

The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.

The scallop shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which meet at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of James in Santiago de Compostela. The shell is also a metaphor for the pilgrim: As the waves of the ocean wash scallop shells up onto the shores of Galicia, God's hand also guides the pilgrims to Santiago.

As the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, the shell is seen very frequently along the trails. The shell is seen on posts and signs along the Camino in order to guide pilgrims along the way. The shell is even more commonly seen on the pilgrims themselves. Wearing a shell denotes that one is a traveler on the Camino de Santiago. Most pilgrims receive a shell at the beginning of their journey and either attach it to them by sewing it onto their clothes or wearing it around their neck or by simply keeping it in their backpack.

The scallop shell also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl.

The pilgrim's staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Generally, the stick has a hook on it so that something may be hung from it, and may have a crosspiece on it.

Free Wine, Map of the Pilgrimage, and the Iron Cross

El Camino de Santiago

The popular Spanish name for the astronomical Milky Way is El Camino de Santiago. According to a common medieval legend, the Milky Way was formed from the dust raised by traveling pilgrims. Compostela itself means "field of stars". Another origin for this popular name is Book IV of the Book of Saint James which relates how the saint appeared in a dream to Charlemagne, urging him to liberate his tomb from the Moors and showing him the direction to follow by the route of the Milky Way.

Once you finish....
Find some wine, calms on the half shell, Idiazabal cheese with quince jam for dessert and don't forget to get your Compostela

The Compostela

The Compostela is a document, issued by the ecclesiastical authorities, certifying the completion of at least 100 kilometres covered on foot or on horseback (200km if done by bike) of the Camino of Santiago. The Compostela is issued to all those pilgrims who have had the Credential stamped and thus, have demonstrated their passage along the Camino, on a journey undertaken for religious or spiritual reason – even for self searching purposes – passing through the various enclaves of one of the many pilgrimage routes (all of which are considered as valid). Those who have completed the Camino for other reasons (leisure, sports etc…) can apply to receive another certificate upon reaching Santiago, known as the Pilgrim’s Certificate.

In the initial stages, when pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James began to become popular and as a consequence institutionalized, the need to prove having completed the Camino arose. The Compostela as it is known today preceded the original scallop shell insignia which, being easily falsifiable, was replaced by the so-called letters of proof, the current source of official certification.

In the XVI century, the Catholic Monarchs constructed the Royal Hospital Foundation, which allowed for Pilgrims, with the Compostela to stay, free of charge for three days staying in the building now occupied by the iconic Hostal de los Reyes Católicos. The foundation was dedicated to providing healthcare to the walkers who came to Compostela, the hospital became the most important in Galicia and eventually the headquarters for the Medical School of Santiago. The building reopened in 1954 as a Parador of tourism, a place, true to the tradition that marks its history, which even now continues to provide free meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner to the first ten day pilgrims of each day who can identify themselves with the Compostela.

Over the years, the Camino of Santiago has become increasingly popular. Tides of pilgrims began to arrive from all corners of the world and with this fervour, fraud and misrepresentation also multiplied and created a fear within the Church that Walkers, instead of considering the Camino to be a sacrifice for forgiveness of their sins would see it as a fun adventure, leaving aside all spiritual motivations. For this reason the Archbishopric of Santiago decided to establish certain requirements for achieving Compostela. Limiting the granting of the certificate only to those pilgrims who came to the tomb of the Apostle for religious reasons, following the routes on foot, by bicycle or on horseback and not granting it to those who had failed to complete the last 100 kilometres, if done on foot or horseback and, if by bike, the last 200km.

Necessary Distance

Both walkers and cyclists have expressed doubts regarding the exact point at which they become eligible to receive the Compostela. The Pilgrim’s office has clarified that, for those going on foot the minimum distance required to obtain the certificate, in the case of the French Way, would be from Sarria or Barbadelo, for the English Way, from Ferrol or Neda, in the case of the Northern Way, from Vilalba or Baamonde, for the Primitive way, from Lugo, and, on the silver route, from Ourense. In addition, those walkers who do the Camino of Finisterre – Muxia and, cover the first stage of the route that connects the two costal locations to then complete the remaining stages to Santiago are also entitled to the Compostela. In this way they would also cover the 100 kilometres necessary.

For cyclists doing the French Camino the minimum needed to obtain the certificate (200 kilometres) involves starting in Ponferrada, for those doing the Portuguese Camino, Póvoa de Varzim, for the Northern Route, Tapia de Casariego, for those reaching Santiago on the Primitivo way, Grandes de Salime and, for those doing the silver route, A Gudiña (it is the only case from which cyclists can start in Galicia).

Requirements to obtain the Compostela

The text which includes the Compostela, an illustrated document with characteristic features such as its oak leaf border and scallop shells in which is the Latin name of the pilgrim is written, reads as follows: ” The Chapter of this Holy Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral of Compostela, custodian of the seal of the altar of St. James the Apostles altar, to all faithful and pilgrims who come from all over the world as an act of devotion, under vow or promise to the Apostles Tomb, our Patron and Protector of Spain, witness in the sight of all who read this document that:(name of the pilgrim) has visited devoutly this sacred temple in a religious sense (pietatis causa). In faith I hand over this document endorsed with the seal of this sacred Church.” The certificate is then signed by the Chapter Secretary of the Church of Compostela.

Once the pilgrim arrives in Santiago they can collect the Compostela near to Obradoiro square, in the Pilgrim Office, located in Carretas, 33 (981568846). Any person, including a minor, can collect this document provided that they are accompanied by a parent or in a group and have the ability to understand spiritual or religious nature of the Way. In the case, according to the Pilgrim Office, of not being “sufficiently mature” they are granted a special certificate attesting their names that they have completed the steps of their chosen route. To certify the pilgrimage of infants or very young children normally their names are included on the Compostela of their parents or, the adult who accompanied them.

The opening hours of the Pilgrim Office are, in Easter week and from the 1st  of April until the 31st of October, Monday to Sunday from 8.00 to 21.00. In winter (from November the 1st to 31st of October) it opens every day from 10.00 to 19.00. The office is closed on December 25th and January 1st. Hikers arriving on those days to Santiago can receive the Compostela in the sacristy of the Cathedral.

The Passport:

Other Documents


For years, many pilgrims did not end their long journey in Santiago but rather, continued to Finisterre or Muxia. Given the large number of pilgrims who have demanded a document to credit their covering both routes they created two specific certificates, not officially recognized by the church, and issued instead by the councils. This is the Fisterrana route (created in 1997), for which the certificate must be requested at the hostel of Finisterre, and the route of Muxiana, that can be obtained from the tourist office of this costal resort.


In addition, from July 2013 both the tourist office of Padrón (Avenida Compostela, s/n) and, the council hostel of the same town can issue the diploma Traslatio Jacobea (Jacobean boat journey), a document certifying that the pilgrims covered the same route, by sea, as that which carried the remains of the Apostle. The pilgrims should therefore depart from the port of San Vicente de O Grove or Ribeira and, will reach Padrón, the sea journey involves stopping in at least two municipalities in the estuary of Arosa, where they should have their nautical chart stamped to certify completing ​​this route. In Padron they will be given the last stamp and, free of charge, the diploma.

Also in Padrón, and from 2010, the credential of this enclave was recovered, which was formally given to pilgrims and has recently been reinstated as Pedronía.

With this they earned the sense of the popular saying that ” o que vai a Santiago e non vai a Padrón, ou fai romero ou non” (those that go to Santiago and, not Padron may be pilgrims or not?) This credential is given to all those who go on pilgrimage from Santiago to Padron and, to those who travel from any village of the estuary of Arosa to the capital of Sar or from any distant town of Padron situated at least 18 kilometres away. Pilgrims should also take the opportunity to visit Jacobean places in the capital of Sar: the parish church of Santa María de Iria Flavia, the fountain of Carme el Santiaguiño do Monte and Pedrón. The pilgrimage can be done on foot, on horseback, by bicycle or by boat, be it fishing boat or ferry. In the case of the first cases, if possible, they should reach the river Sar and, in the second case, should dock in A Ponte and continue on foot the stretch to the centre. To obtain the Pedronía, hikers should have the official letter of pilgrimage, which can be downloaded from the website of the county council of Padron ( and, should have it stamped from their place of departure. On arrival to Padrón the certificate should be handed in to the tourist office, the pilgrim hostel or to the council office.

Movie of the Day:
The Way: with Martin Sheen

And if all this wasn't enough fun there is the garlic festival going on too!

In Vitoria, northern Spain, even if a resident’s ordinary market is closed for St. James’ Day, they won’t want for garlic.

Every year on July 25 producers from all around Spain converge on the Basque Country capital for a traditional garlic fair.

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