Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Camped at the edge of the earth

Hispaniae was an important part of the Roman Empire . As well as being its Western fringe it was a rich source of Olive Oil and Fish(especially Tuna). The importance and antiquity of the tradition is brought home to you by the fact that much of the Camino over the Meseta follows a roman road . Both Leon and Astorga were important roman settlements.
The importance of Spain was not lost on the early Church . There is a sentence in the Letter to the Romans which suggests that St Paul visited Spain. Some commentators believe that there was time for him to do this during his stay in Rome. The legend of St James coming to Spain is much more tenuous since James the Elder was executed in Jerusalem not long after Jesus himself . The later legend of the arrival of his remains in a stone boat links Santiago to the ocean.
There is a much more prosaic link.Jesus charged His followers to carry His message to the end of the earth . In the First century(and for more than a milenium after that)this meant Finisterre.Thus the extension of the pilgrimage to the Western seaboard of Europe is in keeping with the wishes of Jesus himself.
It is a simple journey of three days to a deeply symbolic place which has been hallowed for more than 4000 years and,tonight,it is only 30km away!

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