Within this dynamic process of analysis, we find a series of criteria, some already mentioned, but that can be extended with this perspective.
ARA OF SAN PAIO. It is the pagan title or tombstone that contained the original dedication of the mausoleum in the frontispiece or entrance of the same, reconverted in Christian ara for the worship of three highly venerated men who centralized the occupation of the mausoleum between the second half of the first century and beginnings of the century II. With this new use he remained in the upper room of the sepulchral edifice as a surface for worship, and remained there until the construction of the Romanesque cathedral in which, according to the Concord of Antealtares of 1077 between Abbot Fagildo and Bishop Diego Peláez, The redistribution of the apostolic cult before the construction of the cathedral implied a cession of lands and functions of the monastery, which yielded in return for certain privileges, besides the ara in question, which from then on they preserved in memory of the cult that had had until that date to your care.
At the moment a convent of cloistered nuns, it contains a museum of sacred art where the altar is exposed on its pillar as it was for centuries in the sepulchral edifice. The Ara had an original pagan inscription of which a copy is preserved and whose text may be connected with the legendary Queen Loupe of the Jacobean Tradition, who could accept the Apostle in the family mausoleum. The Text and the translation read as follows:
“D(is) M(anibus) S(acrum).
ATIA MOETA T(estamento)
TETLUM P(osuit) S(omno) A(eternali)
NEPTIS PI(entisimae) AN(n)O(rum) XVI
ET S(ibi) F(aciendum) C (uravit).
Consecrated to the Manes Gods
Atia Moeta, by testamentary disposition
She did this epitaph to eternal sleep
From Viria Moeta
His great granddaughter, 16 years old
And provided for his own burial.
SEPULCRAL MOSAIC. The archaeological stratigraphy applied to the enclosure of the Roman tomb edifice allows the recognition of a mosaic on a first floor of the edicule, removed and replaced by a second mosaic on a second floor. These are movements of internal ornamentation of the edictus, already Christianized, to extol the worship. This study recognizes the existence of an inalterable period of Archaeological Silence between the second half of the second century and the 9th century when Teodomiro discovered it, a period that guarantees the preservation of the sepulcral chamber and its contents. That is to say, what Teodomiro discovers was buried before the end of the second century, probably during the second half of the first century, and throughout the period of time up to the 9th century no other burial was carried out in the edicule, a fact relevant to considerations Later.
TOMB AND TOMBSTONE OF TEODOMIRO. As has already been mentioned, the discovery of Bishop Teodomiro’s burial, and particularly his laval or gravestone, testifies to the historical reality of the character and the importance of his Jacobean discovery. What Teodomiro discovered a few kilometers from its headquarters in Iria Flavia, had to be something for him of such relevance that made him move the de facto seat (not law) to the place where the tomb was found and that will generate the current Compostela.
It appeared inside a semi-enclosed enclosure half of the southern wall of the basilica of Alfonso III. It is a great stone of granite of 2.22 m. Long by 0.88 in head width and 0.72 in the feet, with rounded edges and decorated in its outline by a half cane. The inscription, as a singular fact, is engraved from head to toe. Also extraordinary is the cross that precedes it: it occupies the whole first field of the tombstone, it is processional and in the same way that the one that Alfonso II donated to San Salvador de Oviedo in the year 808 and the one that received the church of Santiago in the 874 of Alfonso III. The text reads:
IN HOC TUMULO REQUIESCIT
FAMULUS D (e) I THEODOMIRUS
HIRIENSE SEDIS EP (i) S (copus) QUI OBIIT
XIII K(a)L(en)D(a)S N(ovem)BR(I)s era DCCCLXXXVA
In this tomb rests
The servant of God Theodomus
Bishop of Iria’s see, who died
In the thirteenth Kalendas of November of the era DCCCLXXXV
Here we have Teodomiro, bishop of Iria, protagonist of the discovery of the Apostolic Sepulcher, of the construction of the first temple and of the beginning of the diffusion through Europe of the fame of this place, establishing itself as a focus of pilgrimage for Christianity as one of the most Saints of the world. This bishop keeps the secret of one of the most fascinating historical enigmas, as is the identification of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago, then accepted by all, in a place where no one could imagine it and that only exceptionally it was suggested that it was in Northwest Hispanic lands . The inscription brings to light the date unknown until then of his death: October 20, 847.
The gravestone was removed from its original placement; The recess bordering its lower face shows that it belonged to a sarcophagus. She found herself lying on a layer of debris; But in its vertical and to 80 cm of depth was a pit covered by another granite stone that contains the bones of a man of very advanced age. The condition of ossuary – not first grave – and the intentional link between the grave and the gravestone indicate that the bones must be those of Teodomiro. That the ossuary and the tombstone are centered in an enclosure after Almanzor, evokes the request of who in that “storm” took care of preserving and collecting remains of the venerated, surely the restoring bishop Pedro de Mezonzo.
MULTIPLE RELICATOR. The basilicas of Alfonso II (834) first, and Alfonso III (899) later, both arise with the purpose of containing the Roman edicule in its head, as will the cathedral itself. The works of the apse and the transept of the caredral began in 1070, but between the standstill of the works for some years and their resumption, the basilica of Alfonso III persists until 1112, when the Romanesque cathedral already covers a large section of the basilica, and then demolished, so that for more than 30 years we found a multiple architectural reliquary: one exterior conformed by the Romanesque cathedral of the twelfth century, another half that was the basilica astur of the 9th century, and a central one that was the roman sepulchral edicule of the first century. It is not a great demonstrative argument but a graphic criterion that admirably reflects the transmission in time of the knowledge of something that is guarded with great veneration.
The destruction of Compostela by ALMANZOR is another key moment that questions the integrity of the edículo and its content. The Andalusí caudillo, regent of the caliph Hisham II, besides Barcelona (985), Coimbra (987), Leon and Zamora (988), destroyed Santiago de Compostela in 997. Then Galicia was long liberated from the Muslim domination, included in the Astur-Leonés Kingdom. It was the prestige of Santiago, valued as a Christian Mecca, which led Almanzor to lead an expedition against Compostela, although the detonant was King Bermudo II’s refusal to pay tribute to the caliphate. The expedition had as its destination Compostela since its departure from Cordoba on July 3, 997, called by the Arab chroniclers the expedition of Shant Yaquib, going cavalry and its provisions by land, while infantry, weapons, ammunition and war machines Made by boat to Oporto. The forces regrouped, joined by Spanish and Lusitanian Christian counts who recognized their authority, and who from their strictly military vision did not pay attention to criteria of pro-reconquistador religious patronage.
After destroying Iria, they arrived at Compostela on August 10, finding an abandoned city of its inhabitants; The Muslims seized all their wealth and demolished the buildings, the walls, the basilica, and the churches and palaces. The Hispano-Muslim historian of Cordoba Ibn-Haygan wrote in the eleventh century that Santiago was as venerable as Mecca, and for a Muslim the burial of a saint is sacred. The Muslim historian Ibn Idari al-Marrakushi says that Almanzor put up a guard to enforce the tomb and the tomb edifice, preventing it from being profaned and receiving any damage, and the anonymous author of “Dikr bilad al-Andalus” And destroyed the temple, but did not touch the tomb. The coincidence between Arab and Christian chronicles in respect of the tomb is what gives historical value to the fact. Even some chronicle tells that Almanzor only found an old monk sitting next to the saint’s tomb. He asked, “Why are you there?” “To honor Santiago,” replied the monk, and the conqueror gave orders that they should leave him alone. Some Christian chronicle identifies the monk who spoke with Almanzor with San Pedro de Mezonzo, then prelate of Iria-Compostela, according to the account that Lopez Ferreiro recounts in his History of the S.A. Church of Santiago.
From Santiago and after plundering the region, Almanzor retired to Cordova with a rich riot, taking to the shoulders of Christians captive the bells of the Basilica and the leaves of wood of the door of the city to make with them ornaments for the mosque of Cordova (They will be returned after the taking of Códoba in 1236 by Fernando III the Saint). On his return, he also destroys the sanctuary of San Millán de la Cogolla (which was also proclaimed its anti-Muslim intervention), devastating some counties and towns, and taking Burgos (1000). The protective role of Santiago is ruined. If everything had been a fictitious montage, Almanzor would have finished with him as he ended the city. But there was an impulse that raised again the Jacobean Basilica on which it was considered tomb of the Apostle that had been respected, by a conviction not generated by a fever of reconquista nor by a religious fanaticism. What the Andalusian leader respected was neither the presumed prestige of the warrior of Clavijo nor the protector of the patron saint of Hispanic Christianity, but the cult of the Apostle Santiago who was guarded there. Abu Bark, Muhammad’s father-in-law and successor, said to his men (seventh century): “In the Christian countries you will find in your path pious men who serve God in the churches and in the monasteries: do not bother them or destroy their temples” , In tune with the words of the prophet: “Leave them alone and what they have consecrated.” The presence of the monk in the tomb of Santiago must have refreshed this to Almanzor, who displayed guard of protection.
The city of Santiago not only recovered its identity and structure, but also increased it, raising a basilica identical to that destroyed by Almanzor, and building soon afterwards the Romanesque cathedral that left the admiration of the Ceutian geographer Al Idrisi in his description of the temple of the The twelfth century and the pilgrimage paths that led to it.
Another important historical episode on the integrity of the remains of the Jacobean sepulcher, is starred by Archbishop DIEGO GELMIREZ. Once finished the cathedral, Gelmírez intends to eliminate the sepulchral edicule and replace it with a canopy that would allow an open cult to the cathedral. It will only succeed after overcoming a solid resistance from the Cabildo, which opposes its demolition as an apostolic work. After getting it what it does is to section the edicule that protrudes in the middle of the presbytery, leaving only the underground part. The consequence of this work is that it loses access to the sepulchral environment and the contact with the remains. Before making it a reality, Gelmírez lends itself to making a last donation of a skeletal rest, granted to the bishop of Pistoia in 1138, relic that will later have a great importance in the rediscovery of the remains. But over time this loss of contact will generate doubts about the existence of the remains.
The approach of these doubts will progress in the course of the centuries without too much influence in the questioning of the Jacobean credibility until the nineteenth century, which brings a succession of events that bring with it a certain loss of prestige of the Jacobean cult and pilgrimages to the tomb of the Apostle James who bring together the interest of nineteenth-century Christianity to the detriment of Compostela.
It is time to analyze a surprising succession of events that generate the EXTRAVY AND REDESCUBRIMIENTO OF THE SEPULCHRAL REMAINS OF SANTIAGO. In 1589 the expedition of Francis Drake (Sir and Admiral for some, villain and corsair for others), against La Coruña, poses a threat to Compostela who asked for help to Felipe II. The English troops desecrated the churches and advanced on Compostela with the declared intention to destroy it and to desecrate its relics, consider “main emporium of the papal superstition”. This risk together with the condemnation of Lutheranism to the worship of the relics, made him fear for the safety of the tomb, before which the archbishop Juan de Sanclemente decided to hide the relics, removing them from the crypt and putting them in a safe place, so that The remains guarded like the ones of Santiago and his disciples left their habitual place and they happened to a secret site, only known by few, which along with the architectural development of the cathedral its continuous additions and new styles, ends in a true “misplacement” . Years later, in the face of popular concern about the exact location, it is said that the relics are buried and well hidden, so that no one can reach them. Such is the zeal with which this secret was kept that the few who knew it disappeared without communicating it to others, so that for three centuries the location of the remains of the Apostle is again ignored. This surprising situation raises a haze with more unknowns than objective data, which makes Santiago a myth about the coming of the Apostle and the reality of his tomb.
A similar phenomenon has already occurred with the remains of St. Francis of Assisi, who in 1230, only four years after his death, were transferred from the basilica of St. George, where they were deposited until the one dedicated to his name. The remains were buried so zealously in the new church, that its tomb will not be rediscovered until 1818, six centuries later. This finding, relevant to the Christianity of the time, was associated with other events of great doctrinal value, such as the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), the apparition of the Virgin of Lourdes (1868), the canonization of Joan of Arc And his appointment as patroness of France (1870), relegate Compostela to an enigmatic situation in which the whole history of the city, all its binding power, all the immense attraction of its name and its virtues will be placed and discredited. Hypotheses arise that deny the possibility that Santiago preached in Spain and even more that their remains arrived in Galicia, and therefore that the tomb, if it existed, did not contain the remains of the Apostle, but perhaps those of another person whose background Would have been mistaken for some coincidences of the Jacobean Tradition. Thus arises, among others, the hypothesis that the remains that rest in Compostela are those of a Priscilian, a singular hypothesis that we will see in more detail later.
This situation motivates that the cardinal Miguel Payá and Rico decide to initiate the excavations of the subsoil of the cathedral. With the excuse of making reforms but with the purpose of solving the growing doubts, it faces the EXCAVATIONS UNDER THE MAJOR ALTAR of the cathedral, which authorizes at the end of 1878, directed by Labín and López Ferreiro. After excavating in five places without result, it is excavated under the main altar and is the Roman edicule of granite ashlar, full of debris removed, but empty of relics. In keeping with the tradition of having been moved behind the altar, one then digs into the bottom of the apse, which was after 1532 sacristy of the cardinals, the medieval cobblestone, where a niche had been opened on the rock and covered With a slab, which when opened unveils an ossuary with three skeletons of great antiquity belonging to three men; Two of them about two-thirds of a half-life, and another that exceeded that limit, with evidence of a hurried transfer from the empty cell to this new place only a few meters away. No doubt what was sought in his day was to protect the remains and generate the impact that the tomb was empty of relics, in case it was intended to manipulate them. The concealment ordered by Bishop Juan de Sanclemente was, in his day, a double purpose in defense of the relics: on the one hand to protect them from the threat of the English attack, and on the other from the aspirations of Felipe II to transfer them to the Escorial, The sending by royal order of Ambrosio de Morales to lands of Galicia and Asturias to recognize the relics of Santos. It is understood the secrecy about the location. To this end even a legend was conveyed that, when attempting to enter the tomb, a living light blinded them, before what was exclaimed: let the Apostle defend himself and defend us! Although often overlooked by many pilgrims and visitors, the place can be seen from the staircase up to the dressing room of the Apostle for the emblematic rite of the embrace of the figure of the Apostle Santiago who presides over the High Altar. In that secret place, in its day sacristy of the cardinals, inaccessible to the public, that alternative niche was carved in the rock to hide the Jacobean remains, was covered with stone slabs and hid under the pavement, hiding place where the Remains for more than three centuries, until it was lost in memory.
The remains were subjected to rigorous anthropological and chemical analysis by professors of the Faculty of Medicine of Santiago. It was identified that they belonged to three males of the antiquity, the presence of wax and reddish pigment characteristic of the Roman bricks of the original tomb was detected, which proved that with precipitation and nocturnal, the rest had been transferred from its habitual place To this alternative niche, in full harmony with the reported threat. These are findings that reveal that these were the remains that were buried in the first-century Roman edicule, which rushed to this alternative place for protection. So far the so-called “Compostela Process”, which concludes in the proposal that the remains rediscovered are those of the Apostle and his disciples, previously guarded in the Roman edictus.
Cardinal Paya asked the Vatican that the “Compostela Process” be evaluated. The Pope appointed a special congregation of cardinals and prelates for the case, presided over by Cardinal Domingo Bartolini, acting as prosecutor, Monsignor Agostino Caprara, beginning a “Roman Process” of the case that reviews all the previous process, taking testimony to the experts, Examining the excavations and a new anatomical study of the remains. It is here that the cited RELIC OF PISTOIA that Diego Gelmírez had donated to San Aton in 1138 as it was well documented and that since its donation was guarded in that Italian town with great veneration. Cardinal Caprara commissioned a previous study of the relic of Pistoia that said that it was a tip of the mastoid process of the temporal bone of the skull, with a blood stain that explained that the detachment of said fragment was by decapitation. Most significant was that only one of the three skulls lacked the mastoid apophysis on the right side, and with a full concordance between the Pistocian fragment and the Compostelan skull, which proved to show that the remnant remains were the same as Gelmírez He extracted the relic donated to Pistoia centuries before, and which had been guarded since the discovery of Teodomiro de Iria, concluding that the decree of the cardinal archbishop of Santiago declaring the authenticity of the bones of Compostela could be confirmed.
Only then Leo XIII issues in 1884 the BULA DEUS OMNIPOTENS that declares that the rests were found of the Apostle James the Greater and his disciples Athanasius and Theodore. There is nothing to support (as I have seen reflected in some undocumented opinion) that this papal declaration was by ecclesiastical immobility, installed in papal infallibility. The Jacobean question is not a dogmatic subject of faith or Christian morality that in any way affects Catholic doctrine, and the papal conclusion is the result of a long and complex process, first and later Compostela, which instructs the papal decision. Leo XIII was not at all an immovable pope anchored in time. On the contrary, his pontificate is marked by numerous progressive initiatives, such as the creation of centers of study and academic research, the opening of Vatican archives, and the installation of electric lights in the Vatican, as well as socio-political and labor positions that constituted Steps of approach of the Church to the modern world, sometimes ahead of the social approaches. This is the case of his encyclical Rerum Novarum, which in an avant-garde way develops issues of state protection of the worker, rejection of the class struggle to solve poverty and oppression, dignity and freedom of the person in terms of work and salary, And the commitment to values still in force and which earned him the nickname “Pope of the workers”. So many years after the papal bull, and from the scientific options of today, it would be easy to speak of technical or scientific insufficiency, but the fact is that Rome acted with technical and methodical rigor in an issue that is neither dogmatic nor essential, nor for the Vatican nor for the Catholic faith. Even the result of the relic of Pistoia would be considered today as a test with decisive value in the face of an opinion that is not easy to overcome even today.
The CONCLUSION of all this section of criteria about the integrity and continuity of the remains is that there is a continuous thread that tells us about a guarantee in the Origin of the Remains and not that it is a forgery. Nevertheless the doubt is already strongly sown and it is even attractive to scientifically deny the Jacobean Tradition from the proposals of historians who will label the presence of Santiago in Spain as a non-historical phenomenon, although the only thing that can be said is that history lacks Of documentary arguments, and before what is interpreted that Santiago is a farce. History, from a position of omission, becomes a supposedly scientific justification to disqualify tradition and to construct colorful hypotheses that, lacking also historical foundation, seem to receive more credit than the old popular and traditional version, and contributes credit Literary and academic to its promoters, and sometimes editorial profitability.