For centuries, pilgrims have walked Spain’s Camino de Santiago to reach to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle St James is said to be interred.
Intrepid Express reader Barbara Reid was among the weary worshippers whose spirits were lifted by the experience…
“My soul soared and reached the rafters with the magnificent censer in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. After walking with my daughter through mid-northern Spain, we arrived in Santiago in time for the pilgrim service.
Almost pure theatre – this spectacle saw us entering the cathedral with hundreds of other pilgrims and, after a service in Spanish, we witnessed six monks in burgundy robes come to the nave and grasp massive rope hawsers. These hawsers came from the ceiling and were attached to a beautiful, and quite gigantic, silver censer. The monks pulled on the ropes and the censer, which had incense smoke coming from it, started its trajectory across the nave. It swung in an ever increasing arc and it was impossible to take your eyes away from it as it slowly rose until it was actually describing an arc from the roof at one side of the nave to the roof at the other.
My heart was beating so fast with the excitement of the moment. To add to the thrill was the knowledge that at least twice in the past the ropes had broken. This was the culmination of an amazing trip which had so much to offer in the way of challenges, beauty and a sense of understanding of the trials of the early pilgrims.”