Making a pilgrimage to a holy site is a way for people to embrace their faith. Some go to pay homage to a saint or religious figure, while others are looking answers or even a cure for a disease. In this article, you will learn about the holy places found in Spain and the United Kingdom.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
At one time, Canterbury was the most important center for pilgrimages in England. The English cathedral city has a colorful history. Located at the center of the City of Canterbury, it was initially a settlement associated with the Britons that was renamed when Roman conquerors came to the land in the 1st century AD. Over the years, the city saw changes in religious significance. When the Kingdom of Kent converted to Christianity in 597, the first Archbishop of Canterbury emerged , St. Augustine.
Christians worldwide make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. The church became a place of pilgrimage after Thomas Becket was murdered at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until he was murdered for engaging in political and religious conflict with Henry II of England. Becket is viewed as a saint and martyr by the Roman Catholics and Anglicans. The pilgrimage to this site became a theme to a well-known classic in literary circle , The Canterbury Tales , written by Geoffrey Chaucer. The publication dates back to the 14th century.
The city is home to a variety of historical attractions, including a city wall that dates back to ancient Roman times. It has since been rebuilt in the 14th century. You will also find the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and a Norman castle that attracts tourists. The oldest school in England, The King’s School, is also found here. Others come to see the Marlowe Theatre and University of Kent, which can be found in the city.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Christians make pilgrimages (referred to the Way of St. James) to a shrine made at Santiago de Compostela, which is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. It is here where a tomb believed to have belonged to the apostle James the Greater was discovered in the 9th century. Because of the religious importance of the site, the Old Town was given designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and more traditional city, and is recognized for the legend associated with the site. Some believe that the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia to be buried. The medieval legend states that in 813, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. The shepherd went to the bishop of Iria, Bishop Teodomiro, to report the experience. The bishop declared that the remains belonged to the apostle James. At once, he notified King Alfonso II in Oviedo.
To pay homage to St. James, the cathedral was constructed on the sport where the remains were said to have been found. The growth of the city is connected to the legend, which also states that numerous miraculous events took place as a result of St. James’ remains.