Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wise Words from Other Sources...

This one comes without Pix 'cos I am on someone else's computer and I don't do that sort of thing. Will find perfect picture when I get home... (See: Promises Kept!)

I am currently on the Camino, helping out a bit at the wonderful location of the Peaceable Kingdom, a private home near Sahagun (Leon) run by Rebekah Scott and her husband Patrick O´Gara who welcome pilgrims year round. Paddy has given me this book to read: The Age of Pilgrimage: The Medieval Journey to God by someone with the delightful name of Jonathan Sumption. In it, I have found the following. I could, I suppose, paraphrase it, but I would rather make risotto and sit out in the sun with the dogs; so hoping Mr. Sumption will truly understand: that I write what I have read in its entrirety. It's a really good book by the way. Highly recommended...

"Particularly interesting is the hand of Cluny in composing the elaborate promotional literature put out by the church of Santiago. Most of it is contained in the Liber Sancti Jacobi, an exquisitely produced manuscript in the cathedral library (alas, no more.Ed.)
The Liber consists of five quite separate books bearing on the pilgrimage to St. James, proclaiming at the beginning and end that it was written for the benefit of the Abbot of Cluny by Pope Calixtinus II. The attribution is fictitious for there are parts which could not have been written for the abbot of Cluny by any Cluniac. But the second book which consists of the miracles of St.James, bears strongly the imprint of Cluny. Most of the miracles (contained therein) happened to the inhabitants of Burgundy, the Viennois or the Lyonais, and some happened within a few miles of the Abbey. A few are attributed to a canon of Besancon, while another was related by an abbot of Vezelay. Three miraculous stories which St. Anselm told to Hugh (Abbot of Cluny),during a prolonged visit to Cluny in 1104 (i.e. at the beginning of Diego Gelmnirez' bishopric. Ed.)all appear with minor alterations in the Miracles of St.James. These miracles were Cluny's greatest contributions to the Pilgrimage of St.James. They were plagiarised by every collector of marvellous stories, copied out in a great number of manuscripts, from the twelfth century to the sixteenth, set forward in sculpture and stained glass throughout Europe. Arnoldo de Monte a monk of Ripoll (which,the Santiago manuscript being missing, now has the oldest copy of the Codex: ed) justly remarked that it was these miracles which had made the apostle ´shine forth as bright as the stars in every part of the world´."
Their message was clear: embrace the teachings of the saints for they were the closest to Jesus and we have the priests to interpret for you exactly what you are too simple to read/understand for yourselves. Pilgrims, afraid of the Devil - a very real entity in the Medieval mind - flocked to Compostela to the tomb of "St.James" for forgiveness. Meanwhile the townspeople were of course, to use a modern phrase: "raking it in".
Plus ca change, plus ce le même chose...?

Next week I shall be posting more directly about the Camino and how it is affecting me. I shall be presenting at the Encuentro de Peregrinos (in Villafranca)on the 22nd/23rd. On to a few days in Santiago for the 24th through 26th, and then, God willing (I have had recent surgery in my leg and have 10 stitches to show for it!) on to Muxia, Touriñan (the real end of the world) and Finisterre. Wish me luck my friends and followers... X from T and Priscillian...


  1. I wish you luck, you lucky devil! Brassa!

  2. Luck, my dear Geert, has nothing to do with it. I ask the Universe, the Universe provides. I am blessed. All I have to do is remember that...

  3. I wish you a good memory then! Brassa!