Thursday, 16 July 2009

Brick Wall.....

Friday 3 July: I knew it was too good to last. As I have said, my reception in Compostela has been a wonderful one. I met some real "stars" of the press here yesterday and all were interested in Priscillian, most had heard of him, and one or two said: "Of course!" (Especially Xurxo Fernadez whom I am told is read by many in the Correo Gallego.)

I decided to say a last good night in the crypt but the Cathedral was closing. Three men were at the doorway all wearing the same dark blue jacket with the pin of the Archdiocese in their lapel. I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask about the marble tomb.

Now I have been fascinated with this ever since I noticed on my last visit a year ago April. If you know the cathedral try to think of the "other side" of the wall against which is the silver sepulche: around the back, so to speak.

There is a grille, and you can just about make out a rose coloured marble sarcophagus. There is a star over it. Sometimes there is a light sometimes not. It is not marked on any of the maps of the cathedral I have seen. It is not mentioned on any of the guides.

When I have asked before I have received either a blank look or some answer about "El Apostol". I have even asked on several forums but no-one seems to know. This seemed to be just the time to ask. I hit a stony silence.

Then, one man, leaning on his stick said to the others: "Es la mujer de las entrevistas", and then to me: "Dejale en paz...dejale el Apostol en paz." (Leave the Apostol in peace.) I was taken aback (naive to the end). I noticed the body language: the closed stance.. I said: "¿Porque no podemos hablar un poco de esto?" (Why can't we talk about this a little?). His answer: "Yo no quiero hablar con usted. Deja le en paz."

It was the smug expression that got to me. I repeated my question: would it not be better to talk? "I'm not interested in talking with you. I am only interested in The Truth". I said I wasn't interested in arguing with anybody and bid him a good night. ut you see, I am only interested in the truth too, and the truth is that there is very, very little likelihood of Santiago being anywhere near the place which bears his name.

Now no doubt many of my readers will say: "Good. That told her!" and fair enough. But in order to reject an idea you need to know something about it. It was clear that this man had closed his eyes, ears, and heart a long time ago because of what he had been told. And that was that. No defences, unfulfilled and antagonistic in a world hungry for answers, not dogma; for change not the Staus Quo. As far as I could see, he was a out-of.-date and dusty as his anachronism clinging to a falsification 1700 years old, or in this case, from the spin doctors of Diego Gelmirez in 1100.

Never mind, there was always Casa Manolo: fantastic value and the best chiperones this side of heaven. I met a young woman as I was about to leave. Her name was Megan. I was just giving a copy of the book to the staff (Casa Manolo is mentioned in Pilgrimage to Heresy). We are a group downstairs, she said. Come and join us. And so I met Rachel from Texas.

I follow the group in search of a disco. Rachel and I hold back, talking. Her family are doctors and she seems destined for medicine too. I was amazed at how she had arrived at these ideas so far beyond her years. We talked about standardised testing: IQ tests proved nothing, she said. I asked her about Obama, how was he received in Texas. "He is well-liked and has much support. He is doing the best he can.." How could Americans have elected Bush twice? "It is a tradition in the States that we tend to support the President in times of war." I learned much from her.

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