credencial and the compostela
order to certify the completion of the pilgrimage,
pilgrims have to obtain the compostela. For this
purpose, back in history, badges were prepared,
but they proved to be too easy to falsify, so from
the 13th century onwards the so-called evidential
letters were introduced. That is what we call the
the compostela has been limited to those pilgrims
who walk for at least the last 100 kilometres, or
ride a horse or a bicycle for the last 200 kilometres
up to the Apostle's tomb in Santiago.
compostela can be obtained in the pilgrims' office
on Rúa do Vilar, only a few steps away from the
Cathedral. Pilgrims will be asked about their nationality,
their motivation (religious, religious and cultural
or simply cultural) and their means of transport
(foot, horse, bicycle).
text of the Compostela is written in Latin and says:
hujus Almae Apostolicae et Metropolitanae Ecclesiae
Compostellanae sigilli Altaris Beati Jacobi Apostoli
custos, ut omnibus Fidelibus et Perigrinis ex toto
terrarum Orbe, devotionis affectu vel voti causa,
ad limina Apostoli Nostri Hispaniarum Patroni ac
Tutelaris SANCTI JACOBI convenientibus, authenticas
visitationis litteras expediat, omnibus et singulis
praesentes inspecturis, notum facit : (Latin version
of name of recipient) Hoc sacratissimum Templum
pietatis causa devote visitasse. In quorum fidem
praesentes litteras, sigillo ejusdem Sanctae Ecclesiae
munitas, ei confero.
Compostellae die (day) mensis (month) anno Dni (year)
Canonicus Deputatus pro Peregrinis
Chapter of this Holy Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral
of St. James, custodian of the seal of St. James'
Altar, to all faithful and pilgrims who come from
everywhere over the world as an act of devotion,
under vow or promise to the Apostle's Tomb, our
Patron and Protector of Spain, witnesses in the
sight of all who read this document, that (name)
has visited devoutly this Sacred Church in a religious
sense. Witness whereof I hand this document over
to him/her, authenticated by the seal of this Sacred
in Compostela on the (day) (month) AD (year)]
Certificado, given to pilgrims with a non-religious
motivation is written in Spanish and says:
S.A.M.I. Catedral de Santiago de Compostela le expresa
su bienvenida cordial a la Tumba Apostólica de Santiago
el Mayor; y desea que el Santo Apóstol le conceda,
con abundancia, las gracias de la Peregrinación.
Holy Apostolic Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago
de Compostela expresses its warm welcome to the
Tomb of the Apostle St. James the Greater; and wishes
that the holy Apostle may grant you, in abundance,
the graces of the Pilgrimage.]
credential is the pilgrims' "passport"
on the Way, a 14-page, accordion-pleated document,
obtainable in advance or during the pilgrimage (see
the list below). Besides some of the pilgrims' personal
details, it provides space for collecting stamps.
the stamps of albergues and refugios in one's credencial
is necessary to prove one has accomplised the pilgrimage
and so can obtain the compostela. You might also
meet some elderly people who are voluntary helpers
of pilgrims on the Way. Stop and enjoy their stories
and their help, and do not forget to ask for a stamp!
also have to keep to some rules which are listed
in the credencial.
to obtain a credencial
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port pilgrims' office (Rue
de la Citadelle, 39)
Roncesvalles Centro de Atención al Peregrino
Pamplona the main building of the University
Sarria pilgrims' office
Santiago de Compostela pilgrim's office (Rúa
do Vilar, 1)
Porto Sé, Associação dos Amigos dos Caminhos de
Santiago (Rua das Flores)
you can get a credencial at pilgrims' offices, albergues,
churches, chapels, police stations, from the Guardia
Civil, or sometimes at the town hall.
you have to start the Camino without an official
credencial, just make sure to collect stamps on
a piece of paper. Later on, having bought a credencial
somewhere on the way, you can attach this piece
of paper to it.
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