come walk with me as we make a spiritual journey together

Travel Across Spain with me on the Camino

I invite you to join me via this blog as I head to Spain to take a pilgrimage on the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Few people realize that there are twenty-six caminos or walking trails that lead to this famous holy site from all corners of Spain.

St. James the Great, also known as James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. His name in Spanish is “Santiago.” He is the patron saint of Spain.

After Jesus had died, his eleven disciples, along with Matthias, who was elected to replace Judas, each set out in a different direction to spread the Christian faith and the astounding news that God had taken human form in Jesus, who had conquered death.

Thomas traveled to India. Peter carried the faith to Rome. John ventured to Greece and Turkey. James journeyed to Spain, where he evangelized and fell in love with the people. He returned to Judea and was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa in 44 A.D. His disciples remembered how he loved Spain, and so they transported his body back to Spain where they buried him in an unmarked grave.

Around 813 A.D. a Spanish monk named Pelayo was walking across a field when had a vision under a star-covered sky. He heard God inform him that Santiago (St. James) was buried under the stars where he was walking. The next day, Pelayo started excavating and discovered the bones of James. They were certified by the local bishop.

A church was built over the site where his relics or bones were stored. Soon, pilgrims came from across Spain and then from all over Europe to pray and request that James petition God on their behalf for miracles. In time, the small church was replaced by a larger church and finally by a cathedral, which is known as the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Compostela means “field of stars.”

During the middle ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago was one of the three most important Christian pilgrimages in the world, along with the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome. In time, however, it became all but forgotten. Starting around 1970, however, it became rediscovered and grew quickly in popularity.

Today, over 320,000 pilgrims walk part of the Camino de Santiago each year. Many walk for the adventure. Some walk to see a part of Europe on the cheap. Others relish being in nature. Some walk it to process an important decision that they must make or to reflect on a major loss in their life or as they make a transition into retirement or a new stage of life.

I estimate that only about one in twenty walks it as a true pilgrim in order to spend time with God in nature and medieval churches along the way and to pray, simplify one’s life, meet ordinary saints along the way, and escape the constant activity and noise that block out the still quiet voice of God.

I have found walking the Camino to be one of the most important parts of my spiritual life. This will be my sixth camino. I have walked the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte, both which are over 500 miles and begin in France and immediately cross over the Spanish border and lead pilgrims across the north of Spain. I have also done the Camino Ingles, the Camino Finisterre and the Camino de Dos Faros, which is a rugged adventure on the coast of Galicia.

The Camino Primitivo, which I shall be walking, is the oldest, most difficult, and said to be the most beautiful of all the Spanish caminos. It is 321 kilometers (roughly 200 miles) across the Spanish mountains with almost no stretches of flat walking.

I invite you to join my by following my blog while I take this 17-day pilgrimage. The blog will begin by telling you a little about pilgrimages and how to prepare for them. On my first day in Spain, the Bishop Don Carlos Lopez, my dear friend who is the Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, will meet me at the airport, and we will travel to the Monastery of El Paular, about an hour outside of Madrid. We love taking field trips together.

The following day, I will travel to Oviedo and enjoy a full day there before setting out on my journey. The journey will culminate back in Madrid, where I will be made an Honorary Canon of the Anglican Cathedral of the Redeemer (Catedral del Redentor) in Madrid.

If you really want to share the journey, I will be organizing a ten-day pilgrimage in May or June of 2022 to walk part of the Camino with members of Christ Church Greenwich. Please let Jean Tredinnick, my wonderful assistant, know if you are interested.

On this pilgrimage, we will plan on walking just five miles each morning and then stop for lunch. Those who wish to go onto the hotel or country inn at our next destination, will travel there by van. Those who wish to walk five more, can do so. We will then regroup for drinks and dinner. It will be a time to reflect on our faith, to learn about Christianity and Spain and enjoy the wonderful company of fellow pilgrims as we walk across sections of the Camino Frances.

So, come walk with me as we make a spiritual journey together.

With love and prayers,

Marek

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