The Holy Door is open in Santiago!

Make your Camino de Santiago even more special, walk during the Holy Year and walk through the Holy Door!

The Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago is a symbol of the Holy Year and the Camino de Santiago itself. Entering the Cathedral of Santiago for the first time after traveling a long way is always something special. But there is something that can make it even more special, being able to cross through the Holy Door which opens for a Holy Year.  A Holy Year on the Camino is a year when the feast of St James (25 July) falls on a Sunday. Because St James is the patron saint of the Camino and pilgrims, this is cause for celebration.

People walk the Camino de Santiago for many reasons. For those who are walking with spirituality or religion in mind, Holy Years can hold special significance.

Good News!
They also announced that Pope Francis granted an extension of the Holy Year for the whole of 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pope and the Church wish to “avoid crowds.”

When did the Holy Year begin and why walk during the Holy Year?

Pope Calixto II inaugurated the Holy Year in 1122. Yet, The first celebrated Holy Year was in 1126. This made Santiago de Compostela the second jubilee city in the world, just behind Rome.  In 1178, the Holy Year became perpetual, which gave rise to the European-wide pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago.  During the Holy Year, you receive a plenary indulgence when you walk through the Holy Door.

The Compostela Holy Year of Jubilee is a period when the Church grants singular spiritual graces to the faithful, imitating what the Bible says regarding the jubilee year to the Israelites: 

But in the seventh year, the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. (LV: 25).

Jesus says He has come to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:16). The Church of Compostela, through its Holy Year, also grants a special year of favor.
What is a Holy Door?

A Holy Door is basically the door to a Catholic church that grants to those who pass through it, a plenary indulgence. But it is not the only one in the world. To walk through the Holy Door in Santiago is special. It symbolizes the physical, emotional, and spiritual culmination of the Camino.

The opening of the Holy Door is a special occurrence!

During a special ceremony, the Archbishop of Santiago, Monsignor Julián Barrio, taps the Door with a ceremonial hammer. The ritual consists of striking a wall of slabs covering the Door, placed there the day before, three times with a silver hammer.

Once the wall falls, the Archbishop cleans the perimeters of the Door with holy water and olive branches. He is the first to cross through the Holy Door and start the procession that goes inside the Cathedral, to the high altar.

Then, the solemn thanksgiving mass takes place, which concludes with the magical lighting of the Botafumeiro.

This ritual takes place every December 31 of the year preceding the Holy Year, so it happened on Dec 31, 2020. 

The next Holy Years are 2021 (and now 2022), 2027, 2032, 2038, 2049, and many after that.

Join us in walking the Camino during this special time and enjoy this unique experience.

Buen Camino

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