Archive for the ‘camino chemin st jacques’ Category

Santiago de Compostella: The Way of St James / Chemin St Jacques pilgrimage routes through France

February 13, 2007

In his inspiring book The Art of Pilgrimage Phil Cousineau dicsusses the potential for experiencing the sacred on our travels.

The pilgrimage route to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain is known as the Way of St James / Chemin St Jacques / El Camino.


To tread the Way to Santiago de Compostela / Saint-Jacques de Compostelle is a spiritual adventure – for when we are on the Camino we draw on the imprinted energy of countless pilgrims who have passed this way before, over so many centuries. For the Way of St James has drawn pilgrims for over a thousand years, and in 1993 the Camino de Santiago was declared a world heritage site.

The Way of St James consistes of many pilgrim routes which traverse Europe to converge in the Pyrenées before crossing Spain.

Our ancestors found their way to Santiago using the sun, moon and stars for navigation – indeed the Camino is sometimes referred to as the Via Lactea (or Milky Way).


So throughout Europe there are many routes and shrines which have a history of welcoming and caring for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, where waymarks of brass, tile scallop shells or distinctive yellow arrows all guide the pilgrim towards the shrine of St James.


Perhaps the most famous routes through France are the Chemin du Puy – the Via Podiensis and the Chemin de Vézelay – the Via Lemovicensis which start at Le Puy
and Vézelay respectively.

The Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensis is a continuation of “l’Oberstrasse” (the high road) which crosses central Europe. Many pilgrims come from Hungary, Germany, Poland, Austria and Switzerland via l’Oberstrasse to the shrine of the Vierge Noire – the Black Madonna – at Le Puy. Thus the Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensis is the most busy (and consequently the most well-developed) of all the routes which cross France. The countryside through which the Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensi passes is exceptionally varied… from the soaring spent volcanoes of the Velay, through the great wild plateaus of the Aubrac, thus to the valleys of the Lot, the Quercy and on towards Gascony.

The Chemin de Vézelay / Via Lemovicensis comes from Namur in Belgium, visiting many shrines en route – including those of Sainte-Madeleine at Vézelay, Saint-Martial at Limoges and Saint-Léonard de Noblat. Between Vézelay and Ostabat the way crosses many rivers – the Loire, Vienne, Isle, Dordogne, Garonne – and many, such as the Adour and Gaves were especially perilous for medieval pilgrims.

The Chemin de Tours / Via Turonensis / Voie de Paris brings pilgrims from the northern Europe and France togather in Paris. Tours, a major staging point on the route, has long been a place of pilgrimage to the shrine of the 4th century St Martin. Pilgrims came here from as far as Spain to visit his shrine. Unlike the other Chemins St Jacques which pass through France, the Chemin de Tours is comparatively easy, passing through the valley of the Loire, the Touraine, Poitou, Angoumois, Saintonge, Bordelais, and the Landes.

The chemin du Piémont pyrénéen brings pilgrims from the Mediteranean regions, passing through the Corbières, l’Ariégeois, Comminges, Bigorre, and the pays des Gaves. North/South axes through the Pyrénées via the valleys of the Aure, Ossau and Aspe provide links from the col du Somport and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This route is little known and may be joined by leaving the Voie d’Arles at Montpellier towards Narbonne via Saint-Thibéry and Béziers (Via Domitia).

The Chemin d’Arles or “Via Aegidiana”, the route from Saint-Gilles or “Via Arletanensis” / “Via Tolosana” takes it’s names from the principal towns and shrines along the way. La Voie du Sud / Camin Romieu is also the route followed by pilgrims (known as “Romieux”) heading for Rome.


Read the entire article at Places of Pilgrimage .

Santiago de Compostella: Pilgrim rituals at the shrine of St James

February 13, 2007

When the weary pilgrim arrives at last at the the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela he is likely to be a different person than he was when he set out – for no matter what the initial reasons for a pilgrimage, one thing is sure – a pilgrimage strips the pilgrim of pre-conceived perceptions, of everyday notions.

On pilgrimage our view of the world and of Life itself changes, shifts, develops as the pilgrim grapples with inner questions and… the inevitable blisters.

Aymerie Picaud, a twelvth century monk, wrote a comprehensive guide to the Camino – one of the earliest travel guides known – describing the route from the French border to Santiago de Compostela, and giving information of accomodation, shrines and possible dangers to be aware of along the route. This guide is still incredibly relevant and accurate today, almost a thousand years later, as confirmed in John Brierley’s up-to-the minute Camino Guides

Pilgrim hostels – albergues auberges / gîtes / shelters – sponsored by royalty, Church or nobility – were first created along the routes during the middle ages to accommodate and care for pilgrims. Originally divided into 13 convenient stages by the “Codex Calixtinus”, medieval pilgrims travelled the 750 kilometers of the Camino Francés in less than 2 weeks. However modern pilgrims normally allow around 30 days.

Upon arrival at the great Cathedral in the Plaza Obradoiro of Santiago de Compostella, pilgrims follow time-honoured rituals as follows:

Firstly, the pilgrim places his hand on the Tree of Jesse, the masterpiece of Master Mateo, at the Portico de Gloria (Entrance of Glory). Next the pilgrim knocks his forehead on the statue of Santos dos Croques before proceeding to the rear of the altar by the right-hand stairs, to embrace the statue of St James and give thanks for their safe arrival and to commune with the saint. Next the pilgrim descends the steps through the entrance to the reliquary which is below the altar, to kneel before the saint’s casket and offer a prayer.

Each day at noon there is a pilgrim mass, when the Botafumeiro – the great incense burner – may be swung.

The Compostela – the official certificate of having completed the pilgrimage – is issued, on request, to pilgrims who have completed the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. To be eligible to receive a Compostella / Compostelana you must be able to prove that you have walked or ridden a horse for the last 100km or cycled the last 200 km. This is issued by the Oficina del Peregrino – Pilgrim’s Office – in the Casa do Dean, Rua Vilar beside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostella, on production of the pilgrim pass which may be obtained from the many pilgrim shrines and hostels en route, and stamped at each staging post along the way. The oldest Compostella / Compostelana was issued to André le Breton in the Capilla del Rey de Francia in 1321.

The Compostela offers certain privileges to pilgrims, including discounted travel home, discounted entry to museums, and possibly also free meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at the splendid Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in the Plaza Obradoiro. Meals are limited to 10 pilgrims per sitting, and are taken in the staff dining room which is entered via the garage of the hotel.

The most dedicated pilgrims may then follow the Camino de Fisterra /chemin du Cap Finisterre, (Land’s End / End of the World) to burn their clothes and sandals as a sign of spiritual renewal at Cap Finisterre, the most western point of western Europe.

JS Selfe, Places of Pilgrimage

RESOURCES:

Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Francés

Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Portugués
Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Fisterra, including the Muxia extension

Article coutesy of Article Haven

Santiago de Compostela – Places of Pilgrimage Goog…

January 22, 2007

Santiago de Compostela – Places of Pilgrimage Google Group

In his inspiring book The Art of Pilgrimage Phil Cousineau dicsusses the potential for experiencing the sacred on our travels.

The pilgrimage route to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain is known as the Way of St James / Chemin St Jacques / El Camino.

To tread the Way to Santiago de Compostela / Saint-Jacques de Compostelle is a spiritual adventure – for when we are on the Camino we draw on the imprinted energy
of countless pilgrims who have passed this way before, over so many centuries. For the Way of St James has drawn pilgrims for over a thousand years, and in 1993 the
Camino de Santiago was declared a world heritage site.

The Way of St James consistes of many pilgrim routes which traverse Europe to converge in the Pyrenées before crossing Spain.

Our ancestors found their way to Santiago using the sun, moon and stars for navigation – indeed the Camino is sometimes referred to as the Via Lactea (or Milky Way).
So throughout Europe there are many routes and shrines which have a history of welcoming and caring for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, where
waymarks of brass, tile scallop shells or distinctive yellow arrows all guide the pilgrim towards the shrine of St James.

Perhaps the most famous routes through France are the Chemin du Puy – the Via Podiensis and the Chemin de Vézelay – the Via Lemovicensis which start at Le Puy
and Vézelay respectively.

The Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensis is a continuation of “l’Oberstrasse” (the high road) which crosses central Europe. Many pilgrims come from Hungary, Germany,
Poland, Austria and Switzerland via l’Oberstrasse to the shrine of the Vierge Noire – the Black Madonna – at Le Puy. Thus the Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensis is the
most busy (and consequently the most well-developed) of all the routes which cross France. The countryside through which the Chemin du Puy / Via Podiensi passes is
exceptionally varied… from the soaring spent volcanoes of the Velay, through the great wild plateaus of the Aubrac, thus to the valleys of the Lot, the Quercy and on
towards Gascony.

The Chemin de Vézelay / Via Lemovicensis comes from Namur in Belgium, visiting many shrines en route – including those of Sainte-Madeleine at Vézelay,
Saint-Martial at Limoges and Saint-Léonard de Noblat. Between Vézelay and Ostabat the way crosses many rivers – the Loire, Vienne, Isle, Dordogne, Garonne – and
many, such as the Adour and Gaves were especially perilous for medieval pilgrims.

The Chemin de Tours / Via Turonensis / Voie de Paris brings pilgrims from the northern Europe and France togather in Paris. Tours, a major staging point on the route,
has long been a place of pilgrimage to the shrine of the 4th century St Martin. Pilgrims came here from as far as Spain to visit his shrine. Unlike the other Chemins St
Jacques which pass through France, the Chemin de Tours is comparatively easy, passing through the valley of the Loire, the Touraine, Poitou, Angoumois, Saintonge,
Bordelais, and the Landes.

The chemin du Piémont pyrénéen brings pilgrims from the Mediteranean regions, passing through the Corbières, l’Ariégeois, Comminges, Bigorre, and the pays des
Gaves. North/South axes through the Pyrénées via the valleys of the Aure, Ossau and Aspe provide links from the col du Somport and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This
route is little known and may be joined by leaving the Voie d’Arles at Montpellier towards Narbonne via Saint-Thibéry and Béziers (Via Domitia).

The Chemin d’Arles or “Via Aegidiana”, the route from Saint-Gilles or “Via Arletanensis” / “Via Tolosana” takes it’s names from the principal towns and shrines along the
way. La Voie du Sud / Camin Romieu is also the route followed by pilgrims (known as “Romieux”) heading for Rome.

The Art of Pilgrimage:

Read the entire article at Places of Pilgrimage .