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COMPOSTELA, SANTIAGO DE

A shrine dedicated to St. James the Apostle, in the mountain region of northwest Spain not far from the sea. After Rome and Jerusalem, Compostela is said to rank third in the order of importance of pilgrimage centers for the Christian world. It is dedicated to St. James the Greater, who is thought to have labored as a missionary in Spain and whose relics are there. Although he was beheaded in Jerusalem and buried there, tradition has it that his body was later brought to Galicia and ultimately, in A.D. 830, to Compostela. The story of his Spanish missionary efforts is disputed, but Pope Leo XIII in 1884 declared that the relics of St. James revered at Compostela are authentic. They repose in an exquisite metal casket behind and above the altar in the cathedral. The year 1976 was Holy Year for this famous shrine.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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