Santiago – The Christian legend

Santiago – A lenda Cristã destaque

According to the Bible, James Major was one of the first four disciples of Jesus Christ.
The name Tiago derives from Jacob’s Latinization (in Hebrew) for lacobus. In Spanish and Portuguese the agglutination of Sant’Iago gave rise to Santiago, in French it is known as Saint Jacques and in English as Saint James.
According to Christian tradition, after the death of Christ and the dispersion of the Apostles around the world, Santiago went to preach in distant regions, spending some time trying to evangelize the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the region of Galicia.
The process of evangelization was not very successful, still according to tradition, he returned to Palestine, was arrested and beheaded, at the behest of Herod Agrippa.
Two of his disciples, Teodoro and Atanásio, stole the body of Tiago Maior, took it to the sea and embarked it «in a boat without rudder or sail with angelic crew» where they finally arrived in Iria Flávia, in Galicia.
On a hill where Libredón then disciples place the relics in a marble ark and build a small chapel, which they keep until the end of their lives.
The body was forgotten for about 800 years, we find the first account of the discovery of the Apostle’s tomb in Concórdia de Antealtares (1077), a Latin manuscript, signed by the abbot of the convent of São Paio de Antealtares and by the bishop of Santiago, Diogo Páez.
Concord describes how Pelayo, a hermit from the forest of Libredón, had an angelic vision where he was told he would discover the Apostle’s tomb. Pelayo observed for a few nights in a row a “rain of stars” and listened to “supernatural music” in a forest hill, and warned Bishop Teodomiro de Iria Flávia (current Padrón in Galicia). According to the document, the bishop ordered excavations at the site and found a marble chest with the bones of the saint and his disciples.

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