Saturday, July 26, 2008

St James of Compostela, Langua

Wishing all those who have done the Camino and arrived at Compostela (Field of Stars) in Spain a Happy and Holy Feast Day of St James, Apostle of Jesus. May it bring many blessings in future years and may your prayers be answered.

This statue of St James is Gwent's own Shrine to the Apostle. People would call here in the Middle Ages and pray before starting off. Llangua is south of Hereford now and no longer in Monmouthshire, but in early Welsh times was at the Northernmost tip of the county.

The earlier dedication was to St Ciwa an early Celtic Saint who founded the Llan, but it later became a Norman Priory attached to Grosmont Castle. The remains of a mill were recently excavated. More on this when I go into the Priory in some depth.

Here is an interesting site about the pilgrimage.....

St. James, known as the Greater, in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle St. James, our Lord's cousin, was St. John's brother. With Peter and John he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration, as later he was also of the agony in the garden. He was beheaded in Jerusalem in 42 or 43 on the orders of Herod Agrippa. Since the ninth century Spain has claimed the honour of possessing his relics, though it must be said that actual proof is far less in evidence than the devotion of the faithful. The pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella in the Middle Ages attracted immense crowds; after the pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land, it was the most famous and the most frequented pilgrimage in Christendom. The pilgrim paths to Compostella form a network over Europe; they are dotted with pilgrims' hospices and chapels, some of which still exist. St. James is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

Here is a picture of marks made by the holy people in the past who have made the pilcrimage etched by the door of in an ancient St James Pilgrimage Church in the middle ages, to be found in Gloucestershire in the Welsh Marches.(Orchard St James)in the village of Bishop's Cleeve near Tewkesbury.Most are from Mediaeval times.

And Happy Feast Day of Blessed St Christopher!

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Christopher who suffered martyrdom in Asia Minor about the year 250. The devotion of our fathers, taking its due from his name (Christopher means bearer of Christ), caused them to place colossal statues of the saint bearing the infant Christ on his shoulders at the entrance to cathedrals. Thus arose the legend of the giant who carried the child Jesus over a river... and the devotion to St. Christopher as the patron of motorists and all forms of transport. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

It was very often the first thing you saw on a mediaeval church. To see an image of St Christopher was supposed to prevent you from going to Hell if you died suddenly!!!

O glorious Apostle, Saint James!

who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart was chosen by Jesus
to be witness of His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in Gethsemane;
thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare against evil and victory:
obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending combat of this life,
that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus,
we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor's crown in heaven.


Prayer for St James (Excerpt)from Pope John Paul II

St James!
Behold me here, once again, beside your tomb
which I approach today,
a pilgrim of all the pathways of the earth,
to honour your memory and implore your protection.

I come from luminous and perennial Rome
to you who became a pilgrim,
following the footprints of Christ
and who brought his name and his voice
to this farthest part of the earth.

I come from Peter's side
and, as his successor,
I bring to you,
to you who, with him,
are a pillar of the Church,
the fraternal embrace that traverses centuries
and the song which resounds firm
and apostolic in its catholicity.

With me, St James, there is an immense and youthful flood
which has surged from springs in all the countries of the world.
Here, you have it,
united and still in your presence,
anxious to refresh its faith in the vibrant example of your life.

We come to this blessed threshold in eager pilgrimage.
We come immersed in this great throng
which throughout the centuries
has led people to Compostela
where you are pilgrim and host, apostle and patron.

And we come today to you because we are on a common journey.
We are walking towards the end of a millennium
which we want to close with the seal of Christ.
We are going further still,
to the beginning of a new millennium
which we want to open in the name of God.

More here:

St James' Cakes

And here is a little St James recipe from ancient Gwent and contained in the little book 'Cooking through the Church's Year' which is available from the Church at St Bride's Wentloog (Llansantffraed Gwynllwg)at low cost to help church expenses in this tiny farming village.

These are called St James' Cakes because of their scallop shape, pilgrims on route to Santiago de Compostela St James in the Field of Stars) in Northern Spain wore a scallop shell as a hat badge to distinguish them and it has now extended to almost all Christian pilgrims on a pilgrimage. As I said, the most important thing is the journey. The outward journey to the shrine is a motif of the inner journey all must make,


3 ounces Flour
2 ounces of butter
1 ounce sugar.

Make the mixture entirely by hand as the hands' warmth is needed to make the dough soft and piable. Soften the butter and beat in the sugar. Add the flour a little at the time.
Work the dough and then roll out thinly. Cut into small mounds
Sprinkle the underside of the scallop shell with sugar and press thumb on to each round to make an imprint like a scallop shell..
Place the cakes on a greased tin and bake quickly in a hot oven. They should not turn brown
Sprinkle with a little sugar while still warm.

This is not my recipe-it came from the Church's book and is the work of the parish donating recipes! I'm going to try this one.Sorry can't work out the metric as I have no table, but think an ounce is about to tablespoonfuls.

See you tomorrow!

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