The third Holy City after Jerusalem and Rome
The life of dedication and faith of Santiago – one of the three apostles closest to Jesus Christ and the first to suffer martyrdom – led him to form part of the initial group of the early Church of Jerusalem and to be assigned to the Spanish peninsular territory, Gallaecia.
The origin of his devotion to this saint comes from his death in Jerusalem, where he was tortured and beheaded. His body was transferred by his apostle friends and the mystery of his location ended with the sight of a rain of stars that marked the place of this martyr’s grave. The origin of the name Compostela – Campus Stellae (Campo da Estrela) – is thus understood as an assimilation of this event, to the mythological function of the star, when the Child Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This phenomenon aroused the interest of the visit to the Holy Sepulchre of Santiago, intensifying its role as a landmark in the historical evolution of the whole of Europe, becoming the most prominent millennial route.