Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

This is the Cathedral at the End of my journey where the Holy Door is open. I will be attending a mass and going through the Holy Door. I will keep you posted on my blog my progression as I make my way to this Cathedral. This is the way of Saint James, the Apostle, the brother of John the Baptist. He is the patron saint of Spain. He was killed because he preached about Jesus Christ and Christianity.

(There is also another James, who was the half brother to Jesus. From what I have read, that James was the one who supposedly wrote the book of James. )

Jesus is the door of mercy – it is through his unconditional love that we are asked to come home.  
While on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

This is the Door of Mercy, symbolizing that, Jesus is the Door of Mercy – it is through Jesus’s unconditional love and mercy, that he, Jesus sacrificed his physical life and shed his blood, (symbolizing Jesus sacrifice, as the doorway) making forgiveness of our sins possible. Jesus provided a way for us to have our sins forgiven and to come home, in the spirit, to embrace God’s Love. God wants a relationship with each of us.
While on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

A Little About St. James the Apostle

As Bible stories suggest, St. James the Apostle, along with his brother John (the Evangelist), was one of the first disciples of Jesus. They were related to Jesus by way of their mothers; Salome and Mary were believed to be sisters. James and John were disciples of John the Baptist (also a cousin), until Jesus called them to follow him. Both were highly emotional followers who were sometimes rebuked by Jesus for their sense of ‘spiritual ambition’ and for their non-peaceful ideas about how their enemies ought to be dealt with. Nicknamed ‘Sons of Thunder’ by Jesus, their anger was a character trait that had to be rectified in the course of their journey with their holy teacher. Records suggest that they were not always popular with the other disciples, as there was often jostling for positions of authority within the circle. James and John being family members were held up as being somewhat more ‘special’ by some followers outside of the close group of disciples, which didn’t go down well with the others. They also quarrelled that they were entitled to sit at the side of Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven, and they subsequently learned from their Master that their place at his side had to be ordained by a higher power, and that it had to be earned through the sacrifice of the ego. Disciples were just that, they were pupils at the feet of a Master and had to humble themselves in service to others. 

After the death of Jesus, St. James took his ministry to the Iberian Peninsula and to this day is the Patron Saint of Spain.  During the days of his ministry, it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. James on the bank of the Ebro River. He beheld a vision of her upon a pillar named the Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Today, the pillar can be found in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, Spain. He is recorded as being the first martyr amongst all the disciples of Jesus, having been put to death by beheading for teaching Christianity by Herod Agrippa in AD 44.

Having been a fisherman in Galilea, and having taken the road that helped him discover his spirit, the Scallop Shell is the emblem of St. James and its symbolism relates to two layers of the human condition; the physical and the spiritual. St. James was an ordinary pilgrim like the rest of us. He walked a long difficult road with Jesus; he was imprisoned by his raging emotions, and he went through metaphoric fires to free himself and discover the vastness of his spirit. He learned how to live an authentic, peaceful life and he shared his personal lessons with others

Today, we make the same journey as such people as St. James. On the physical level, we pilgrims come from all walks of life, departing from different points and making different types of pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. Some of us walk slowly, others challenge ourselves by walking fast and giving ourselves goals. Some of us ride bicycles, some go on horseback. There are those of us who walk the camino in stages, and others who walk a little and bus a little.

On the spiritual levels, we are all undertaking our own unique journeys, governed by the lessons that we need to learn, and the people that we are evolving into.

No two pilgrims are alike, and though we walk the same roads on the outside, our inner pathways wind through very different emotional landscapes. The Scallop Shell has many grooved lines that lead from the outer rim to a meeting point at the base. The shell itself represents the many different spiritual/religious/humanist pathways that lead to the same place, to the universal centre of all life-forms, the spirit, the soul.


It is said that its shape originated in the era of the Crusades when the knights took with them small crosses with sharpened bottoms to stick them in the ground and carry out their daily devotions.

Order of Santiago is a religious and military order founded in the 12th century. It owes its name to the Patron Saint of Spain.(St. James the Greater) Its initial objective was to protect the pilgrim of St. James’ Way, to defend Christendom and to remove the Muslim Moors from the Iberian Peninsula.  Entrance was not however restricted to nobles of Spain exclusively, and so many of her members have been prominent Catholic Europeans in general. The Order of Santiago is one of the most renowned military orders in the history of the world, its insignia being particularly recognizable and abundant in western art.

The Patron Saint of Galicia and his Red Cross

The red cross over a white field is the most popular Christian cross of all times. The cross is the symbol of Christianity and God’s protection; the white colour is the symbol of purity and the red colour symbolises the blood of Christ. The red cross over a white field was used regularly during the Middle Ages, among others, by the French crusaders (which had the largest army fighting in the Crusades),

The Order’s insignia is a red cross resembling a sword, with the shape of a fleur-de-lis on the hilt and the arms. The knights wore the cross stamped on the royal standard and white cape. The cross of the royal standard had a Mediterranean scallop in the center and another one at the end of each arm.

The three fleurs-de-lis represent the “honor without stain”, which is in reference to the moral features of the Apostle’s character.

The sword represents the chivalrous character of the apostle St. James and his martyr ways, since he was decapitated with a sword. It can also symbolize taking the sword in the name of Christ, in a certain sense.


Published by Esther Mae

Happy, Joyous and Free. Enjoying life and retirement. Oct 5, 202, I completed the FEl Camino de Santiago de Frances, over 550 miles, beginning August 15, 2021 in St-Jean-Pied-De-Port, France and ending in Santiago and walked through the Holy Door. I am 70 year young. Read about some of my adventures. I have a close relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth and enlightenment are my priorities in life. Please jump on the spiritual soul train with me as I walk and try to practice a spiritual way of life. Esther Mae

One thought on “Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

  1. Holding you in the Light for spiritual growth and enlightenment as you journey. This is a new experience for me and hope my technological skills are adequate to stay in touch so that I might benefit too.


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