Sunday, 25 July 2021

Fiesta de Santiago Matamoros

Today is the Feast of  St James the Greater, (Santiago Matamoros in Spanish). His shrine at Santiago de Compostela is one of the major pilgrimage sites in the Catholic world. According to legend, he appeared in aid of the Christian army during battle, giving rise to the battle cry of the Reconquista, ¡Santiago! and to his Spanish sobriquet, or St James the Moorslayer.

The Arms of St James 
St James' emblem was the scallop shell (or "cockle shell"), and pilgrims to his shrine often wore that symbol on their hats or clothes. The French term for a scallop is coquille St. Jacques, which means "cockle (or mollusk) of St. James". The German word for a scallop is Jakobsmuschel, which means "mussel (or clam) of St. James"; the Dutch word is Jacobs schelp, meaning "the shell of St. James". In Danish and with the same meaning as in Dutch the word is Ibskal, Ib being a Danish language version of the name Jakob, and skal meaning shell.

This blog is dedicated, in part, to Santiago Matamoros, as was my original blog, The New Crusade. Happy  Fiesta de Santiago Matamoros!

From Camino Adventures 


Santiago Matamoros (Saint James the Moor-Slayer)



During the Battle of Clavijo, it is said that Saint James the Great miraculously appeared to provide assistance to an outnumbered Spanish Christian army, helping them gain victory against the Moors who had started their conquest of Hispania in AD 711. The battle is placed between AD 834 and 844, about 800 years after the death of James. According to legend, Saint James, appeared as a warrior on a white horse amidst the Spanish army, wielding a white banner. Upon seeing him, the Christian army cried out “¡Dios ayuda a Santiago!” which translates to “God save St. James!” It is believed that more than 5,000 Moors were killed during the battle, earning James the title Matamoros or “Moor-slayer”.
From Catholic Online



Nothing is known of St. James the Greater's early life, though it has been established that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the disciple.

The title "the Greater" was added to St. James' name to help distinguish him from the Apostle James "the Less," who is believed to have been shorter than James "the Greater."
Saint James the Greater was one of Jesus' first disciples. James was fishing with his father and John the Apostle when Jesus came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called for the fisherman, who were unable to catch any fish that day, to dip their nets in the water once again.
When the fishermen followed Jesus' instructions, they found their nets full, and after emptying the fish on board, the boats nearly sank from their weight.
Later, James was one of only three called by Jesus to witness his Transfiguration, and when he and his brother wanted to call fire upon a Samaritan town, both were rebuked by Jesus.
Following Christ's Ascension, James spread the Gospel across Israel and the Roman kingdom as well. He travelled and spread the Word for nearly forty years in Spain.
It is said that one day, as he prayed, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to build her a church, which he did.
Later, James returned to Jerusalem but was martyred for his faith by King Herod, who decapitated him. Saint James the Greater is known as the first apostle to die.
As he was not allowed to be buried following his martyrdom, his remains were taken to Compostela, Spain, by some of his followers, who buried him.
In the ninth century, his remains were discovered and moved to a tomb in Santiago de Compostela. Today, his remains can still be found in the Cathedral of Santiago.
Because Santiago de Compostela is the most frequently visited place pilgrims migrate to following Rome and Jerusalem, Pope Leo declared it a shrine.
St. James the Greater Prayer
O glorious Apostle,
St. James, who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart
wast chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His glory on Mount Tabor,
and of His agony in Gethsemane;
thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory:
obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life,
that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus,
we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor's crown in heaven.
Amen.

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