Christianity has a strong tradition of pilgrimages, both to sites relevant to the New Testament narrative (especially in the Holy Land) and to sites associated with later saints or miracles.
Christian pilgrimage was first made to sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Aside from the early example of Origen in the third century, surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the 4th century, when pilgrimage was encouraged by church fathers including Saint Jerome, and established by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great.[ citation needed ]
The purpose of Christian pilgrimage was summarized by Pope Benedict XVI this way:
To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.
Pilgrimages are made to Rome and other sites associated with the apostles, saints and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary. A popular pilgrimage journey is along the Way of St. James to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, in Galicia, Spain, where the shrine of the apostle James is located. Also a combined pilgrimage is held every seven years in the three nearby towns of Maastricht, Aachen and Kornelimünster where many important relics could be seen (see: Pilgrimage of the Relics, Maastricht).
The motivations which draw today's visitors to Christian sacred sites can be mixed: faith-based, spiritual in a general way, with cultural interests, etc. This diversity has become an important factor in the management and pastoral care of Christian pilgrimage, as recent research on international sanctuaries and much-visited churches has shown.
Rome has been a major Christian pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. Pilgrimages to Rome can involve visits to a large number of sites, both within the Vatican City and in Italian territory. A popular stopping point is the Pilate's stairs: these are, according to the Christian tradition, the steps that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, which Jesus Christ stood on during his Passion on his way to trial.The stairs were, reputedly, brought to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th Century. For centuries, the Scala Santa has attracted Christian pilgrims who wished to honour the Passion of Jesus.
Several catacombs built in the Roman age are also the object of pilgrimage, where Christians prayed, buried their dead and performed worship during periods of persecution. And various national churches (among them San Luigi dei francesi and Santa Maria dell'Anima), or churches associated with individual religious orders, such as the Jesuit Church of the Gesù and Sant'Ignazio.
Traditionally, pilgrims in Rome visit the seven pilgrim churches (Italian : Le sette chiese) in 24 hours. This custom, mandatory for each pilgrim in the Middle Ages, was codified in the 16th century by Saint Philip Neri. The seven churches are the four major Basilicas (St Peter in Vatican, St Paul outside the Walls, St John in Lateran and Santa Maria Maggiore), while the other three are San Lorenzo fuori le mura (a palaeochristian Basilica), Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (a church founded by Helena, the mother of Constantine, which hosts fragments of wood attributed to the holy cross) and San Sebastiano fuori le mura (which lies on the Appian Way and is built above Roman catacombs).
After the murder of the Archbishop Thomas Becket at the cathedral in 1170, Canterbury became one of the most notable towns in Europe, as pilgrims from all parts of Christendom came to visit his shrine.This pilgrimage provided the framework for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century collection of stories, The Canterbury Tales. Canterbury Castle was captured by the French Prince Louis during his 1215 invasion of England, before the death of John caused his English supporters to desert his cause and support the young Henry III.
During the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the city's priory, nunnery and three friaries were closed. St Augustine's Abbey, the 14th richest in England at the time, was surrendered to the Crown, and its church and cloister were levelled. The rest of the abbey was dismantled over the next 15 years, although part of the site was converted to a palace. Thomas Becket's shrine in the cathedral was demolished and all the gold, silver and jewels were removed to the Tower of London, and Becket's images, name and feasts were obliterated throughout the kingdom, ending the pilgrimages.
The first pilgrimages were made to sites connected with Jesus. Aside from the early example of Origen who, "in search of the traces of Jesus, the disciples and the prophets",already found local folk prompt to show him the actual location of the Gadarene swine in the mid-3rd century, surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Jerusalem date from the 4th century. The anonymous Bordeaux Pilgrim's Itinerarium Burdigalense ("Bordeaux Itinerary") is the oldest surviving recount of a Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem and chronicles his visit in 333 to 334.
The pilgrimage tradition was established by Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great and encouraged by church fathers like Saint Jerome. Pilgrimages also began to be made to Rome and other sites associated with the Apostles, Saints and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Pilgrimage to Rome became a common destination for pilgrims from throughout Western Christianity in the medieval period, and important sites were listed in travel-guides such as the 12th-century Mirabilia Urbis Romae .
In the 7th century, the Holy Land fell to the Muslim conquests,and as pilgrimage to the Holy Land now became more difficult for European Christians, major pilgrimage sites developed in Western Europe, notably Santiago de Compostela in the 9th century, though travelers such as Bernard the Pilgrim continued to make the journey to the Holy Land.
Political relationships between the Muslim caliphates and the Christian kingdoms of Europe remained in a state of suspended truce, allowing the continuation of Christian pilgrimages into Muslim-controlled lands, at least in intervals; for example, the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, only to have his successor allow the Byzantine Empire to rebuild it.
The Seljuk Turks systematically disrupted Christian pilgrimage routes, which became one of the major factors triggering the crusades later in the 11th century.[ citation needed ]
The Crusades were at first a success, the Crusader states, especially the kingdom of Jerusalem, guaranteeing safe access to the Holy Land for Christian pilgrims during the 12th century, but Palestine was re-conquered by the Muslim Ayyubids by the end of the 13th century.
Under the Ottoman Empire travel in Palestine was once again restricted and dangerous. Modern pilgrimages in the Holy Land may be said to have received an early impetus from the scholar Ernest Renan, whose twenty-four days in Palestine, recounted in his Vie de Jésus (published 1863) found the resonance of the New Testament at every turn.
The commune of Taizé in France, home of the Taizé Community, sees over 100,000 Christian pilgrims each year.As the Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian community, the pilgrims belong to various Christian denominations, including the Reformed, Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican and Oriental Orthodox traditions. Christian pilgrims engage with the brothers and sisters of the Taizé Community in prayer, worship, the study of Sacred Scripture, the promotion of ecumenism, and communal work.
At some point between 818 and 842,during the reign of Alfonso II of Asturias, bishop Theodemar of Iria (d. 847) claimed to have found some remains which were attributed to Saint James the Greater. Around the place of the discovery a new settlement and centre of pilgrimage emerged, which was known to the author Usuard in 865 and by the 10th century was called Compostella.
The cult of Saint James of Compostela was just one of many arising throughout northern Iberia during the 10th and 11th centuries, as rulers encouraged their own region-specific cults, such as Saint Eulalia in Oviedo and Saint Aemilian in Castile.After the centre of Asturian political power moved from Oviedo to León in 910, Compostela became more politically relevant, and several kings of Galicia and of León were acclaimed by the Galician noblemen and crowned and anointed by the local bishop at the cathedral, among them Ordoño IV in 958, Bermudo II in 982, and Alfonso VII in 1111, by which time Compostela had become capital of the Kingdom of Galicia. Later, 12th-century kings were also sepulchered in the cathedral, namely Fernando II and Alfonso IX, last of the Kings of León and Galicia before both kingdoms were united with the Kingdom of Castile.
According to some authors, by the middle years of the 11th century the site had already become a pan-European place of peregrination,while others maintain that the cult to Saint James was before 11–12th centuries an essentially Galician affair, supported by Asturian and Leonese kings to win over faltering Galician loyalties. Santiago would become in the course of the following century a main Catholic shrine second only to Rome and Jerusalem. In the 12th century, under the impulse of bishop Diego Gelmírez, Compostela became an archbishopric, attracting a large and multinational population. Under the rule of this prelate, the townspeople rebelled, headed by the local council, beginning a secular tradition of confrontation by the people of the city—who fought for self-government—against the local bishop, the secular and jurisdictional lord of the city and of its fief, the semi-independent Terra de Santiago ("land of Saint James"). The culminating moment in this confrontation was reached in the 14th century, when the new prelate, the Frenchman Bérenger de Landore, treacherously executed the counselors of the city in his castle of A Rocha Forte ("the strong rock, castle"), after inviting them for talks.
Combined septennial pilgrimages in the Dutch-German towns of Maastricht, Aachen and Kornelimünster were held at least since the 14th century. The German word Heiligtumsfahrt means "journey to the holy relics". In all three places important relics could be seen: in Maastricht relics of the True Cross, the girdle of Mary, the arm of Saint Thomas and various relics of Saint Servatius; in Aachen the nappy and loin cloth of Jesus, the dress of Mary, the decapitation cloth of John the Baptist, and the remains of Charlemagne; and in Kornelimünster the loincloth, the sudarium and the shroud of Jesus, as well as the skull of Pope Cornelius. In Maastricht some relics were shown from the dwarf gallery of St Servatius' Church to the pilgrims gathered in the square; in Aachen the same was done from the purpose-built tower gallery between the dome and the westwork tower of Aachen Cathedral. The popularity of the Maastricht-Aachen-Kornelimünster pilgrimage reached its zenith in the 15th century when up to 140,000 pilgrims visited these towns in mid-July.After a break of about 150 years, the pilgrimages were revived in the 19th century. The Aachen and Kornelimünster pilgrimages are still synchronised but the Maastricht pilgrimage takes place 3 years earlier. In 2011 the Maastricht pilgrimage drew around 175,000 visitors; Aachen had in 2014 around 125,000 pilgrims.
Marian apparitions are also responsible for tens of millions of Christian pilgrimages worldwide. million pilgrims per year, for this reason Fátima is often compared to Mecca in terms of pilgrims that visit the holy site in May and October.The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, in Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal, became the most visited sanctuaries in the world with between 14 and 18
According to believers, the Virgin Mary appeared to Maria Bernada Sobirós (in her native Occitan language) on a total of eighteen occasions at Lourdes (Lorda in her local Occitan language). As a result, Lourdes became a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and of miraculous healings.Today Lourdes receives up to 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. With about 270 hotels, Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels per square kilometer in France after Paris. Some of the deluxe hotels like Grand Hotel Moderne, Hotel Grand de la Grotte, Hotel St. Etienne, Hotel Majestic and Hotel Roissy are located here.
Latin America has a number of pilgrimage sites, which have been studied by anthropologists, historians, and scholars of religion.In Mesoamerica, some predate the arrival of Europeans and were subsequently transformed to Christian pilgrimage sites.
The Hill of Tepeyac now holding the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside Mexico City, said to be the site of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Located 28 km east of the capital city, Quito, the pilgrimage takes place every 21 November at midnight. More than 800,000 pilgrims walk down a steep slope of 780 metres over the Guayllabamba River and uphill again to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Presentation of El Quinche, located at 2,680 m.a.s.l arriving at 6 a.m. Pope Francis visited El Quinche on 8 July 2015 and spoke to Roman Catholic clergy.
El Cisne is a town in the southern region of Ecuador. [ es ] to build the statue of the Virgin of El Cisne [ es ] which he carved from the wood of a cedar tree. Each year on 17 August, thousands of pilgrims gather in El Cisne to carry the statue about 74 km (46 mi) in a procession to the cathedral of Loja, where it is the focus of a great festival on 8 September upon with yet another procession taking place to return it to El Cisne.Representatives of the city in 1594 requested sculptor Diego de Robles
According to the Catholic Church, the festival is in honor of the Lord of Quyllurit'i (Quechua : Taytacha Quyllurit'i, Spanish : Señor de Quyllurit'i) and it originated in the late 18th century. The young native herder Mariano Mayta befriended a mestizo boy named Manuel on the mountain Qullqipunku. Thanks to Manuel, Mariano's herd prospered, so his father sent him to Cusco to buy a new shirt for Manuel. Mariano could not find anything similar, because that kind of cloth was sold only to the archbishop. Learning of this, the bishop of Cusco sent a party to investigate. When they tried to capture Manuel, he was transformed into a bush with an image of Christ crucified hanging from it. Thinking the archbishop's party had harmed his friend, Mariano died on the spot. He was buried under a rock, which became a place of pilgrimage known as the Lord of Quyllurit'i, or "Lord of Star (Brilliant) Snow." An image of Christ was painted on this boulder.
The Quyllurit'i festival attracts thousands of indigenous people from the surrounding regions, made up of Paucartambo groups (Quechua speakers) from the agricultural regions to the northwest of the shrine, and Quispicanchis (Aymara speakers) from the pastoral (herders) regions to the southeast, near Bolivia. Both moieties make an annual pilgrimage to the feast, bringing large troupes of dancers and musicians. Attendees increasingly have included middle-class Peruvians and foreign tourists.
The culminating event for the indigenous non-Christian population takes place after the reappearance of Qullqa in the night sky; it is the rising of the sun after the full moon. Tens of thousands of people kneel to greet the first rays of light as the sun rises above the horizon. Until 2017, the main event for the Church was carried out by ukukus, who climbed glaciers over Qullqipunku at 5,522m.a.s.l. But due to the near disappearance of the glacier, there are fears that the ice may no longer be carried down.The ukukus are considered to be the only ones capable of dealing with the cursed souls said to inhabit the snowfields. The pilgrimage and associated festival was inscribed in 2011 on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Before 1534, Copacabana was an outpost of Inca occupation among dozens of other sites in Bolivia. The Incas held it as the key to the very ancient shrine and oracle on the Island of Titicaca, which they had adopted as a place of worship. In 1582, the grandson of Inca ruler Manco Kapac, struck by the sight of the statues of the Blessed Virgin which he saw in some of the churches at La Paz, tried to make one himself, and after many failures, succeeded in producing one of excellent quality, placing it in Copacabana as the statue of the tutelar protectress of the community.
During the Great Indigenous Uprising of 1781, while the church itself was desecrated, the "Camarin", as the chapel is called, remained untouched. Copacabana is the scene of often boisterous indigenous celebrations. The Urinsayas accepted the establishment of the Virgin Mary confraternity, but they did not accept Francisco Tito's carving, and decided to sell it. In La Paz, the picture reached the priest of Copacabana who decided he would bring the image to the people. On 2 February 1583, the image of the Virgin Mary was brought to the area. Since then, a series of miraclesattributed to the icon made it one of the oldest Marian shrines in the Americas, On 2 February and 6 August, Church festivals are celebrated with indigenous dances.
A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, as the destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century. In 1985, the city's Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude.
A shrine to the Virgin Mary is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion. Such locales are often the destination of pilgrimages.
According to apocryphal Christian and Islamic tradition, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the maternal grandmother of Jesus. Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels. In writing, Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Gospel of James seems to be the earliest that mentions them. The mother of Mary is mentioned, but not named, in the Quran.
James the Great, also known as James, son of Zebedee or as Saint James the Greater, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and, according to tradition, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
In religion, a relic usually consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Shamanism, and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", and a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Walsingham is a village in North Norfolk, England, famous for its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary. It also contains the ruins of two medieval monastic houses. Walsingham is 27 miles (43 km) northwest of Norwich.
The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saints are buried there. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.
Saint Servatius was bishop of Tongeren —Latin: Atuatuca Tungrorum, the capital of the Tungri—. Servatius is patron saint of the city of Maastricht and the towns of Schijndel and Grimbergen. He is one of the Ice Saints. His feast day is May 13.
Mosan art is a regional style of art from the valley of the Meuse in present-day Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Although in a broader sense the term applies to art from this region from all periods, it generally refers to Romanesque art, with Mosan Romanesque architecture, stone carving, metalwork, enamelling and manuscript illumination reaching a high level of development during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.
The Basilica of Saint Servatius is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Servatius, in the city of Maastricht, the Netherlands. The architecturally hybrid but mainly Romanesque church is situated next to the Gothic church of Saint John, backing onto the town's main square, Vrijthof.
Pilgrim badges are decorations worn by some of those who undertake a Christian pilgrimage to a place considered holy by the Church. They became very popular among Catholics in the later medieval period. Typically made of lead alloy, they were sold as souvenirs at sites of Christian pilgrimage and bear imagery relating to the saint venerated there. The production of pilgrim badges flourished in the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, but declined after the Protestant Reformation of the mid-16th century. Tens of thousands have been found since the mid-19th century, predominantly in rivers. Together they form the largest corpus of medieval art objects to survive to us today.
Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore, or the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love, is a Roman Catholic shrine in the southern outskirts of Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary that consists of two churches: an old church built in 1745 and a new church added to the sanctuary in 1999. The church was included by Pope John Paul II in the pilgrimage of Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome during the Holy Year 2000.
A national shrine is a Catholic church or other sacred place which has met certain requirements and is given this honor by the national episcopal conference to recognize the church's special historical, cultural and religious significance.
A pilgrimage church is a church to which pilgrimages are regularly made, or a church along a pilgrimage route, like the Way of St. James, that is visited by pilgrims.
A pilgrim's way or pilgrim way is a standard route that pilgrims take when they go on a pilgrimage in order to reach their destination – usually a holy site or place of worship. These sites may be towns or cities of special significance such as Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Fátima, Lourdes or Einsiedeln, but may also be specific points in the countryside, such as a hill, spring, well, cave or shrine. On the route there are stations where pilgrims can stop and rest, where prayers may be said or religious services observed.
The Trier Cathedral Treasury is a museum of Christian art and medieval art in Trier, Germany. The museum is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trier and is located inside the Cathedral of Trier. It contains some of the church's most valuable relics, reliquaries, liturgical vessels, ivories, manuscripts and other artistic objects. The history of the Trier church treasure goes back at least 800 years. In spite of heavy losses during the period of the Coalition Wars, it is one of the richest cathedral treasuries in Germany. With the cathedral it forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Pilgrimage of the Relics or Maastricht Septennial Pilgrimage is a seven-yearly Catholic event in the Dutch city of Maastricht. Originating in the Middle Ages, it developed from a pilgrimage to the grave of Saint Servatius into the present-day religious, historical, cultural and commercial enterprise. Highlights in the programme are the displaying or unveiling of the relics in the main churches and secondly, the processions with the town's main relics. The next pilgrimage will take place in 2025.
Taizé was founded in 1940 by a Protestant, Roger Schutz, who has authored several books on the contemplative life and its relationship to social outreach. Over a hundred thousand pilgrims, mostly young people, make pilgrimages to Taizé community every year, where they engage for various lengths of time in Bible study, sharing, and communal work.
Taizé music has now become a focal point of popular Taizé-style services held regularly in many denominations, including Roman Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Lutheran.