What is Compostela?  The certificate issued to pilgrims upon their arrival in Compostela

What is Compostela? The certificate issued to pilgrims upon their arrival in Compostela

The origins of the Compostela, proof of pilgrimage

Document written in Latin, the Compostela owes its origin to the letters of proof put in place by the Church in the 13th century. Historically, the pilgrim arriving in Compostela collected a scallop shell to attest to his journey to the tomb of the Apostle. These easily falsified shells were quickly replaced by letters of proof, a more reliable manuscript attesting to the completion of the pilgrimage.

There Compostela is today issued by the ecclesiastical authorities, at the pilgrims' office in Santiago de Compostela.

What are the conditions for obtaining your Compostela?

So, how to receive this certificate? The only way to get the precious ticket is to have walked on one of the Jacquaire routes to Compostela and to have covered at least:

  • The last 100 kilometers on foot or on horseback;
  • 200 km by bike;
  • 100 nautical miles by boat then having walked to Saint-Jacques.

Please note that people with reduced mobility can contact the pilgrims' office to discuss their situation.

Arriving on the square in front of the cathedral, the walkers go to the reception office for Saint-Jacques pilgrims (officina del peregrino), managed by the cathedral archbishopric.

At the entrance to the office, they are given a ticket with a number corresponding to their order of arrival and their passage through the counter.
And as new technology is also making its way onto the paths, it is possible from your phone to check the meeting time at the counter using a website presented to the pilgrim and on which he must register. Quite useful to avoid, in case of high traffic, having to wait for hours!

Report to the pilgrims office

Once at the counter, the pilgrim presents his credencial attesting to the distance traveled thanks to the stamps affixed at each stage of the journey.

Note that it must have been stamped at each stage, then twice a day for the last 100 km.

The person responsible for delivering the Compostela checks the pilgrim's itinerary, asks him the day and starting point, and ensures that he has covered the correct number of kilometers. She also places the last stamp on the credencialthat of Santiago de Compostela.

Since 2014, it has been possible to obtain a second so-called “Distance” certificate for a fee. It shows the kilometers traveled, the path chosen, and the total number of days of walking.

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