A first objection of the Jacobite detractors is the LACK OF TIME to make such a fabulous journey, before the supposed mandate of Christ to the Apostles to remain in Jerusalem twelve years after the Ascension. The few testimonies of this news are not reliable because of their indirect, late and apocryphal character, in total contradiction with direct evangelical testimonies in which Christ entrusts his apostles who preach to the people giving them instructions of form and not of time (Mt 10: 1- 17, Mark 6: 6-13, Lk 9: 1-6). Jesus asked his apostles to remain in Jerusalem, but only until the day of Pentecost, after which they must go to preach throughout the world with the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24: 47-49, Acts 1: 4-8) , So that the scriptures establish that Peter and John appear immediately outside of Jerusalem, Philip evangelizes in Samaria and Barnabas in Antioch, which suggests an ecclesiastical organization, mother-based in Jerusalem, but soon the apostles will leave the holy city to preach to The Gentiles throughout the world, as the principal patriarchs of the Church recount in their writings, and at the head of Jerusalem one of the two apostles named James, the so-called brother of the Lord, James the Less.
If the death of Christ and the day of Pentecost are dated in the year 30, and the death of Santiago in the year 44, there are about 14 years in which Santiago was able to undertake leisurely the trip, whose beginning some sources place between the years 33 and 36, with a stay of 6 to 8 years, and a return to Jerusalem in the year 42. Beyond this chronological precision, such a journey was far from being as fabulous or inaccessible, as we shall see, and even other apostles traveled more.
The first reference is in the biblical quotation of the roman Cornelius, centurion of the italic court (near Seville), and the necessity to flee from the reprisal of Herod before the theft of the body of the apostle Santiago, first and very significant criterion that Hispania Could constitute a suitable destination.
It is necessary to specify that the Palestine-Galicia crossing is an achievement already dominated by the Phoenicians, founders of Cadiz ten centuries before Christ, and initiators of the so-called tin route to the British Isles across the Atlantic, passing first by the coasts of Galicia; That is to say that the maritime route of the Tradition Jacobea was very well known and frequented already in apostolic times. The Romans called the Mediterranean Sea, Mare Nostrum, and transited it from one point to another point of the Empire. They dominated the transit until Galicia and in their coasts and estuaries founded, sometimes on old castros, cities like Brigantium (Corunna), and Iria Flavia (Padrón) among others. They reached Britania which they added to the Empire, consolidating the maritime route of tin, obtained in Cornwall, Sorlingas Islands and Galicia. The Acts of the Apostles contain some accounts in which it is unequivocal that maritime journeys were common and necessary at the time (Acts 20: 13-16, 21: 1-7, 27: 1-44, 28: 1-14). The edict of Diocletian, emperor from 284 to 305, indicated that the average route to reach Lusitania from the Roman port of Ostia by sea was about 20 days, which demonstrates its dominance through a very ancient experience. On the other hand, the existence of the Roman port of Pontecesures, already existing in Tiberius (42 BC-37 AD), allowed the transfer of a Jew from Palestine to Iria in the first century on one of the ships Periodically that route between Palestine and the Hispanic northwest, which under the Roman pax was more feasible and frequent than in many other historical moments. The Roman writer Pliny in contemporary times with the apostles, wrote in his Natural History that a sailing ship could make the crossing between Cadiz and Ostia in seven days, and in four if it was from Roman citerior Hispania.
The Finisterre was also an apostolic reference: “You will give testimony of me in Judea, in Samaria and to the end of the earth,” says the Scriptures, and where the evangelist Luke may be expressing allusion to this achievement. The Apostle Paul gives us a clear testimony that the apostles have undertaken the evangelization of the whole known world, also with a reference that has reached the ends of the world: “And I say to myself: Have not they heard it? Yes, of course: To all the earth the voice of the messengers has come and their words reach the ends of the world “(Rom 10:18). These words of Paul are not a mere Biblical allusion to Psalm 19, but a testimony that prophecy has been fulfilled and that the apostles have come to proclaim Christianity to the ends of the known world, as many patriarchs of the Church will say, some expressly citing Hispania.
The tomb find and the identification of Bishop Teodomiro raises the big questions: Why Santiago? Why in Spain ?.
The Tumbo A of the Cathedral of Santiago, cartulary that collects the privileges granted by the Hispanic monarchs to the Señorío de Santiago, contains between them a document of great argumentative value. This is a copy that refers us to the times when there was no Compostela, but only Iria, and that Iria welcomed the bishops of Tuy and Lamego, emigrated during the Muslim invasion, in honor of Santiago, which Occurs more than a century before the discovery of his tomb. It is a document accredited first by Enrique Flórez in his Spain Sacred (tomo XIX) and later by Antonio López Ferreiro in his History of le Santa A. M. Church of Santiago de Compostela (Volume II). Later Manuel Risco, continuador of the Spain Sacred, in Volume XXXIV revalorizes the news of the document and its valuable content, of times in which are conserved so few documentary instruments. In this document King Ordoño II of Leon orders the bishops of those venues to return to their respective dioceses, since the danger of Muslim invasion has disappeared. These bishops were still in Iria, as successors of those who left the original sites, and the document remembers that Iria received them and provided them income to subsist, in honor of the Apostle Santiago: “… ac tendentes ad Episcopum supra memorate sedis Hiriensis propter honorem sancti Iacobi collegit eos humanitate prestate ... ” That is to say, the document tells us that in the bishopric of Iria there was a memory that the Apostle Santiago would have his burial somewhere near Iria.
José Guerra Campos and Salustiano Portela Pazos tell us about the existence of Cult to Santiago before the discovery of the apostolic tomb. In the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries, churches dedicated to Santiago proliferate in countries such as England and France, in keeping with the testimonies of Aldhelmo de Malmesbury, who recognizes Santiago as the first preacher in Hispania, and Bede the Venerable, who also recognizes that there Were transported and hidden their remains. They are clear indications of the existence of a sepulchral cult hidden in some place of Galicia, from where they leave to those countries relics by contact with the rest of the saint (brandeum). Also in Asturias and above all in Galicia, churches consecrated to Santiago before the discovery proliferate, and those of Boente, Cerceta, Fornito, Mera, Queirico, Villabonoriz, all consecrated to Santiago before 748, and that of Avezán in 758 They are data that speak of the existence of a Jacobean cult before the official discovery of the Jacobean sepulcher. Therefore the local cult had not been completely abandoned, but remained very small, but with the tomb accessible and guarded. This state of lethargy is the one that could maintain the tomb before the legend of the hermit Pelayo, that makes known it. That is to say, that the Cult and the proximity of the apostolic tomb could be related, and the exhumation that Theodomiro discovered could be that of a hidden tomb, but of known local existence.
In his Epistle to the Romans: Paul announces his intention to travel to Spain, and he does so in terms that suggest a prior evangelization: “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while” (Rom 15:23-24). And he reiterates his intention a second time: “So after I have completed this service and safely delivered this bounty to them, I will set off to Spain by way of you” (Rom 15:28). Paul’s words, regardless of whether or not he fulfilled his purpose, speak of the existence of a Christian community in Spain consolidated in the time before him, that he wanted to know personally. A Christian community in the first century that may very well be considered the first church in Spain, and which must have been initiated by one of the twelve. If this epistle was written about the year 57, the presumed evangelization had to begin much earlier, and therefore it can also be presumed that it could be chronologically in the life of Santiago.
A European tradition places Santiago in Spain sent by Peter and Paul, and even Santiago and Paul have been represented in farewell salute before undertaking their respective preaching work. Beyond the reality of these traditions, they prove that Spain is an apostolic objective in tune with the existence of indications of a church already established in the second century. In the year 180 St. Irenaeus of Lyon speaks of the Christian communities in Spain, and Tertullian cites that Christianity had spread to the last confines (omnes termini) of Spain, penetrating to the jungles and mountains inaccessible to the legions (loca inaccesa), and although some speak of exaggerated rhetoric and proselytizing, it should not be hidden that translates that the evangelization and the follow-up of Christianity by Hispanics was very remarkable. It is thus understood that Arnobius of Sicca (260-327) writes that “Christians in Spain are innumerable”. Cipriano de Carthage in the first half of the third century, in his letter 67, dated 255 and called “The birth certificate of the Spanish Church”, cites the churches of León, Astorga, Mérida and Zaragoza, which indicates an important Extension of the Church in Spain. The bloody persecutions of Christianity in Spain during the third and fourth centuries, even among the camps of the Roman armies, prove that the rooting of Christianity in Hispania is very important, because it is not pursued with such emphasis but what is well rooted, and Is sought to be safely uninstalled by the pernicious influence in the military domain. The persecution of Christianity in Spain spread during the governments of Decius (249-251), Galo (251-253), Valerian (253-260), and Diocletian (284-305); Produced many Spanish martyrs collected by the Latin-hispanic poet Prudencio (348-410) in his “Peristephanon”, a series of 14 hymns where he exalts the heroic attitude of the martyrs, not only through literary inventiveness, but also through direct knowledge of surviving witnesses of The recent persecutions. The persecution of Diocletian was the last pagan effort to overthrow Christianity, which was implanted in the Empire and even in the imperial palace, (wife and daughter of the emperor were catechumens), penetrating the upper classes and the army, justifying that Tertullian of Carthage said towards the 200: “We are from yesterday and we have already filled all your things: the cities, the islands, the towns, the villages, the villages, the army, the palace, the senate, the forum. We have left you only the temples … ». “The more you pull us out, the more we are: the blood is the seed of Christians”. The temples were left empty and their pagan priests, who supported by the Roman senate, spread that the Christians were a noxious sect that threatened the Empire, pressing the emperor to change the policy of toleration that Diocletian had maintained at the beginning of his rule. The persecution that sought apostasy with torture, flattery and bribes, to demoralize the church, arose the libeláticos, that obtained a certificate of making pagan sacrifices without having done it, to appear in the list of the faithful to the Empire and that they left them in peace. Even a new class of apostates, the “traditors”, who, to save their lives, delivered the sacred writings and books that were destroyed and burned to avoid the spread of Christianity.
Even in Gallaecia (ancient Galicia), with many of the earliest important Christian sites (Leon, Astorga, Lugo, Braga), there are signs of early Christianization even in rural areas. Indeed, the consultation of the Christians from Leon to St. Cyprian on whether apostate bishops, forced by the threat of martyrdom, could be reintegrated into their former churches, and their reply in the aforementioned letter 67, when it has not yet been established Authority of the bishop of Rome, proves the existence of important and well-organized Christian communities, presided over by a bishop, which seems to be a sign of an old Christian roots, which must have taken considerable time to establish themselves; And does not seem to be an isolated case, wich it is a clear indication of the contemporary and earlier existence of other Christian nuclei in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. The unanimous acceptance that Priscillianism took root in Galicia in the fourth century, even in the rural area, already implies the pre-existence of an old Christian settlement in Gallaecia, which seems to receive confirmation in the excavations of the subsoil of the compostelan Cathedral.
Although until the middle of the third century there is no documentary evidence on Christianity in Spain, logical in a time when there is no documentation of anything and in which being a Christian is prohibited and is persecuted harshly, but there is evidence that it is already well established In the second century, so that its first beginnings had to be very much earlier, probably during the first century, according to the testimony of St. Paul. For this reason, no credibility should be omitted from the Jacobean Tradition, as historical science often does beforehand, without such an attitude being considered justified after a more profound and multidisciplinary study.