St. James’ Day

From Universalis:

He was the brother of St John and, like him, a fisherman. He was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration and one of those who slept through most of the Agony in the Garden. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred, being beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I to please the Jewish opponents of Christianity. He was buried in Jerusalem, and nothing more is known about him until the ninth century.

At this time we learn of a tradition that the relics of St James were brought to Spain some time after his martyrdom, (perhaps early, perhaps as late as 830), and his shrine at Compostela in Galicia grew in importance until it became the greatest pilgrimage centre in western Europe. In every country there are churches of St James and known, well-trodden pilgrim routes. In Paris, the Tour St Jacques marks the start of the route and the Rue St Jacques points straight towards Compostela. In England, pilgrim routes lead from all parts of the country to the major ports that were used on the pilgrimage. This network of routes is a vital witness to the fact that the Middle Ages were not the static stay-at-home time that we often think them to be: everyone must have known someone, or known someone who knew someone, who had made the pilgrimage. The scallop-shell, the emblem of St James, has become the emblem of pilgrims generally.

In 1987 the pilgrimage routes to Compostela have been designated by the Council of Europe as historical cultural routes of international importance; and the Confraternity of St James is working to restore and upgrade the refuges on a route which is still in active pilgrim use today.

See also: The Patron Saints Index and New Advent.


  1. Dream:

    Sitting in my office, Jon and an unidentified woman are visiting. Ted walks in to get some paperwork.

    “Hi Ted,” I say. “This is Ted. Ted, this tall guy is my good friend Jon, and this” — and for the first time I realize it is Carmen — “is Carmen. Hi Carmen!” She has a sort of monk’s hood on is why I hadn’t recognized her.

    Shifts to us talking to a boy about ten years old. Carmen is explaining that she is here looking for a specific item that means so much to her she is willing to come even to Cheney for it.

    The kid asks me, “So, you still like moving water?”

    “Yeah,” I say.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    This gives me another opportunity to recommend Therapy (the novel, I mean) by David Lodge. The pilgrimage to Santiago features prominently there, I think as a kind of foil for another pilgrimage to Copenhagen. And much is made of ‘Coquilles St. Jacques,’ a traditional dish made of scallops in honor of the Tour St. Jacques.

  3. Quin Finnegan says

    Coquilles St. Jacques

    2 pounds sea scallops
    1 pt. half and half or light cream
    1/2 onion, diced
    1/2 pound mushrooms,sliced
    1/2 cup dry sherry
    1/2 tablespoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon white pepper
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup bread crumbs

    1 1/2 cup water
    1/4 pound butter
    1./2 cup flour

    In saucepan saute mushrooms and set aside.

    Combine scallops, water, sherry, salt,white pepper in saucepan and
    heat until scallops are just cooked. In large pot, saute diced
    onion and add half and half. Bring to a near boil, then strain
    liquid from scallops into onion,half and half mixture. In separate
    pan, melt butter, add flour and heat over low heat for 5 minutes
    (roux). Thicken onion liquid with this roux , then add scallops
    and mushrooms.

    Fill casserole with this mixture and top with Parmesan cheese and
    bread crumbs. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees until brown and
    bubbly. Serves 5-6

    ~ courtesy of

  4. Rufus McCain says

    I believe all the legends about where the apostles went after the death of Christ; Thomas in India and all.

  5. Henri Young says

    Rufus is an old style papist. He was arguing with the prison chaplain last Sunday about how Vactican 2 threw the baby Jesus out with the holy bathwater.

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