Product Code: 1894 In Stock
Publication Date: September 2021


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Santiago Peregrino:St James the Pilgrim | St James the Greater


A limited edition solid hardwood icon of St James the Greater. Made from Sapele wood sourced from sustainable forests.271mm x 340mm x 21mm. Each of the limited edition icons is supplied with its own certificate of authenticity.

Santiago Peregrino (St James the Pilgrim; St James the Greater)
ICON DESCRIPTION / Professor Maryjane Dunn

James the Greater, the third apostle called to follow Jesus, was the first of the twelve disciples to be martyred, beheaded by Herod the Great in Jerusalem in 44CE (Acts 12:1-3). The early church told of his evangelizing alongside Peter through Judea and Samaria, but an anonymous sixth century work, the Breviary of the Apostles, associated him with preaching on the Iberian Peninsula. The story of his martyrdom, the translation of his remains to Galicia, and the growing importance of Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage site are celebrated in the mid-twelfth-century Liber Sancti Jacobi. This Book of Saint James, known primarily by the name of its most famous and complete manuscript, the Codex Calixtinus, describes the sights, rituals, and symbolism of the pilgrimage to St. James’s tomb.

 In this icon by Brother Richard Maidwell, C.Ss.R. we see two of the earliest and most widely known symbols of Santiago Peregrino (Pilgrim Saint James):the scallop shell and the staff. The scallop shell (pectus maximus) is found on the coasts of Galicia. The Veneranda dies (“A day to be honored”) sermon of the Codex Calixtinus explains that pilgrims returning home from Compostela would sew them on their capes as a sign of their journey and in honor and memory of the apostle. The outside ridges sculpted “like fingers of a hand” represent good works and the mollusk’s two hinged shells symbolize the two commandments of charity:to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. The staff James holds was considered so important for pilgrims that it was blessed and ceremoniously bestowed upon them before they set off. Its physical support, as a third “leg”, served as a reminder of their belief in the Trinity, and provided defense against attacking dogs and wolves, much as the pilgrims’ faith countered the demons and the devil who beset them. The gourd tied to the staff simply depicts the medieval canteen used to carry drinking water. St. James holding up his right hand in benediction reminds pilgrims of his role as intercessor and pardoner for all those who have come to him in faith.

Be the preserver
Of your pilgrims,
James, grant help.
(Codex Calixtinus, Ch. 27, Sequence of the Mass for Pilgrims of Saint James)

Maryjane Dunn is an associate professor of Spanish at Henderson State University, Arkansas. She has followed the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain both personally (first walking the Camino Francés in 1979 as an undergraduate) and professionally in her scholarly work. Her books have followed many paths, including:

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela:A Bibliographic Update
Women's Words About Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, 1890 – 1920
Nationalism, Regionalism, and Faith in the Works of Emilia Pardo Bazán:St. James and the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, 1880-1920
 The Sermons and Liturgy of Saint James:Book One of the Liber Sancti Jacobi
Historical and Modern Signs of "Real" Pilgrims on the Road to Santiago de Compostela


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