An Extraordinary Find
The history of the Route to Santiago dates back to the beginning of the 9C, when the sepulchre of Santiago el Mayor (James the Greater), evangelist in Spain, was discovered. The facts concerning this find have been embellished by people´s imagination, without distorting reality, so that they become more poetic.
One of these legends is the one that locates the extraordinary event in the former diocese of Iria Flavia, when the hermit Pelayo had a "divine revelation" in the deep of the forest. He sees "altar lights" and hears "angels singing". The parishioners of San Félix de Solobio, at the foot of the forest, announced the event. The bishop Teodomiro went in the forest, found the mausoleum and identified it as the Apostle Santiago´s tomb.
The find was a trascendental event that deeply touched and impressed Medieval europeans. Before their eyes appeared the written documents that verified the identity of the remains.
There is no written information about the precise circumstances under which the relics of the venerated mausoleum were discovered. Its discoverers understood it as a divine revelation that a sanctuary was to be built where the remains had been found. In fact, there are indications that the sepulchre was venerated in remote times.
The recent archaelogical studies of the past century have thrown light on the sepulchre and its veneration in the first nine centuries of the Christian era. The excavations have uncovered a Christian, a Roman and a Germanic necropolis in the subsoil of the Cathedral that date back from the 1 to the 7 C. All these data have made it possible to join all pieces of information.
Since its discovery, the grave and the cult it created became part of the cultural movement favoured by the Carlovingian Court of Aquisgrán, which laid the foundations for Medieval Europe. The find was such an important event that in the old continent many medieval paintings can still be seen where the Emperor Carlomagno plays an important role in the discovery of the relics.