The Liber Sancti Iacobi, best known as the Codex Calixtino, written and compiled throughout the XII century, it was undoubtedly forged by the archbishop Diego Gelmírez in order to enlarge the myth of Santiago de Compostela and captivate the most number of pilgrims, raising the Galician city at the height of Jerusalem and Rome. Liber Sancti Iacobi is made up of five books and together with the fifth, which collected the famous practical guide for pilgrims by Aymeric Picaud, highlights the third book, which based on tales from previous centuries, narrates in detail the translatio by sea of the body of Saint James the Greater from Jerusalem to Galicia. A great unknown that had to be clarified to ratify that the remains of the Apostle rested in eternal peace in the tomb of the cathedral.
Saint James was accustomed to fishing with his brother John and his father Zebedee in the Sea of Galilee, the biblical freshwater lake, and was translated to his eternal abode in a last and epic journey by sea crossing from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, from the Israeli port of Jaffa to that of Iria in Galicia, at the junction of the River Ulla with the Sar. The Apostle was beheaded in Jerusalem between the years 41 and 44 under the auspices of Herod. Then several of his disciples collect the body stealthily and deposit it in a boat, setting forth to Hispania, where according to tradition Saint James had preached. Regarding his evangelization in Hispania, Luis Vázquez de Parga pointed out that it is expressly stated in the Latin version of the Greek Byzantine catalogs of the fifth and sixth centuries, although the certainty of this hypothesis is lost in the mazes of the narrative, oral tradition and history.
A seven days journey under the designs of God
For seven days, with no other guide or rudder than the hand of God, they successfully cross the vast sea and reach the port of Iria, where the boat is tied up to an altar stone known as ‘Pedrón’, which later gave its name to the village of Padrón. Today this stone is located over there, under the main altar of its Saint James’ Church. With the intention of burying the Apostle’s coffin in the most appropriate place, the disciples go inland to a fortified settlement where they meet Lupa, the owner. She astutely advises them to go and talk with the king of the town of Dugium or Duio, and old town near Fisterra. Arrived there, they ask him for a burial site. The king not only ignores his requests but he prepares them a trap, which does not have the desired effects since the disciples are immediately perceived and flee. In their scape they cross a bridge that could be located over the River Tambre. Miraculously, just after their passage, the structure collapses killing all soldiers of the king.
For seven days, with no other guide or rudder than the hand of God, they successfully cross the vast sea and reach the port of Iria, where the boat is tied up to an altar stone known as ‘Pedrón’
When the disciples returned to the fortified settlement, pagan Lupa ruminates another scheme to kill them once and for all, sending them to Mount Ilicino, the peak known as Sacro that is located 15 kilometers from Compostela, to pick up a pair of docile oxen. That way they could easily move the coffin and bury it where they felt it was most appropiate. As soon as they station in the mountain, they fight against a dragon and they bring death to it. Afterwards they come across the pair of oxen but they were not placid but brave, and they have to run through the steep slope in order not to be attacked. Again, miraculously, they get to tame the oxen and they get back to visit Lupa, who converts to Christianity after witnessing such prodigies. Finally, she authorizes them to bury the body of Saint James; the disciples find a suitable sepulcher in the place of Liberum Donum or Libredón, building a small chapel above. The slow passage of time covered the mausoleum with abundant vegetation and eight centuries later was discovered by the ascetic Pelayo thanks to divine revelation, igniting the spark of the pilgrimages to Compostela in the dawn of Reconquest.