James, eldest son of Zebedee, began to preach after Jesus' death. Some eastern texts (and martyrologies as the Latin Passio) say that he preached in Judea and Samaria. The Greek Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian studies further assert that he began to preach to the Jews of the Diaspora too. In a Christian history book known as the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine, it is also said that thereafter, Santiago did come to Hispania Romana with nine disciples.
According to this legend Santiago just turned seven people in Spain into Christianism, the so called seven of Zaragoza, and given the limited success of his mission he quickly returned to Jerusalem leaving two of the nine disciples to continue evangelizing Hispanics.
On his return to Jerusalem a magician called Hemógenes sent his favorite disciple Philetus to where the apostle was preaching. Philetus that was leading a group of Pharisees tried to convince all Jews that everything that Saint James preached was false.
But Saint James, with good arguments and many witnessed miracles, actually convinced Philetus and a very large audience that all was true. Philetus then returned to his master and told Hemógenes all details about the wonders that he had seen.
Philetus reported the apostle was a true miracle maker, and on top of that he was willing to accept his doctrine. In front of this attitude Hemógenes indignantly and using his magic, pinned Philetus so that, though he tried, he could not move any of the members of his body.
Santiago freed Philetus from his paralysis with a simple handkerchief and even managed to convince Hemógenes, which became one of the most faithful followers of Santiago, changing and having him drop his dark magic books to blindly follow the Apostle.
Such was the reaction of the Jews before Hemógenes converted that Saint James was captured and brought before King Herod Agrippa who finally condemned him to death. Even at this point Saint James was performing miracles as he was walking to the place where the execution was planned. It is written that decapitation of Santiago occurred on March 25, i.e., on the same date as of the Annunciation and Incarnation of Jesus. Four months later, on July 25, his body was transferred to Galicia.
Many writings confirm that the holy martyrs like Saint James and his ability to work miracles had convinced the most difficult people into the faith, and their remains were worshiped and considered powerful even after their death. At that time people thought that if they were able to work miracles in life, they could as well do it after death. Especially as eternal life was part of the Christian doctrine.
During the V-VII centuries such miracles were the reason why travelers and believers in general visited the remains of the martyrs in the hope of obtaining either power to win victories or health to cure the diseases of their times.
Although the Passio and other Acts and Indexes, were promptly setting the death of Saint under Herod circa 42, and usually located in Jerusalem; it is remarkable that there are no news of a sepulchral cult, lasting at least in Jerusalem nor elsewhere in Palestine.
It is also reported that Saint James came to Spain to preach. This is also written in the seventh century manuscript of St. Isidore of Seville who writes "De Ortu et Obitu Patrum (the life and death of the saints) qui in Scriptura laudibus efferuntur". In that letter the same is said that Saint James traveled to Spain to preach "... Spaniae et Evangelium occidentalium locorum praedicavit in occasum mundi et lucem infudit praedicationes". But more specifically Isidore says "James preached the Gospel in Spain and the western lands and introduced preaching" in fine-terrae "- at the end of the earth, the current Finisterre, which is where the Romans known thought the world was over.
Two centuries later, in the ninth century, Florus of Lyons writes too, "the bones of James, moved to Spain, were deposited at the end, that is, against the British sea, and get there with famous cult veneration of those people." Both in the book of San Isidoro and thin the document, "Breviarium Apostolorum", also from the early seventh century, states that his body was buried in "Ark Marmorica".
Up to this day no one knows what this sentence exactly means. This term is written in several ways: Achi Acha or (Aca - Aci) or Achaia (in later copies, Arca, Maple) and Marmarica or Marmorica. It could indicate as some experts say: a "marble tomb.
There are other texts which speak of the apostles to spread the world to preach, and also point to Santiago coming to Spain.
From the VII-VIII centuries (until then Saint James did not count among the Apostles extended worship) begins to have his own churches dedicated and the veneration of relics in Galicia, France and England was growing with focus. A shrine, wherever was placed remains unknown, although close to Santiago de Compostela was built.
St. Aldhelm of Malmesbury in England writes in a poem, also during the late seventh century, that a dedicated altar for Saint James was hosted in a basilica and also points out the preaching of the apostle in Spain, "Hispanic ConvertIt primitus dogmate people."
Later other researches also support this thesis, as the hymn to Santiago O Dei Verbum, the Hispanic Liturgy of the eighth century in the kingdom of Asturias, also assigned to Saint James to be preaching in Spain, and are appearing to argue that the request to do so complies with the sons of Zebedee to be located both right and left of the Kingdom of Jesus: John in Asia, and James in Spain.
It is already in the eleventh century that worship to Saint James becomes public domain, while extending the domains of the Western Church, it gets accepted the fact that James was preaching in Spain.
After his death, the followers of James decided to move the body back to Hispania, perhaps now could turn Hispanics as the lifeless body of the saint still had power to create miracles. The disciples embarked at the port of Jaffa on a ship that traded with stone in the coastal areas of Galicia and the body of the Apostle was therefore carried back to Galicia.
When the ship reached Spain, and was moving up to the city of Bouzas, people were celebrating the wedding of Prince Lobecio Privano (son of the Queen Shewolf) with Caya Valeria (daughter of Caya Puctonio Lobia and Marcelo). At this point the boat where the apostles traveled made a standing next to the ship's crew. At that time vessels were coasting together, as they could to reduce in this way the risks of sailing through the high seas, dangerous coasts and especially dangerous pirates.
The marrying prince at that time was participating in a chivalric tournament, but had the misfortune of falling into the sea and sank precipitously after the heavy weight of the armor he wore. Saint James’s disciples witnessed this fact and prayed to the apostle for his life, here a miracle made float body to float back to the surface, with the heavy armor and everything.
That same day, the boat carrying the body of the Apostle gobbled up the estuary of Noela (Noia) stopping at a place called Iria Flavia. Iria Flavia was within the dominions of Queen Shewolf (Atia Moeta), the Acropolis was also called in legends as Castro Lupario, what we know today by Padron. Queen Lupa, Finisterrae lady, was the nickname given to the Roman Lupa Doña Claudia, daughter of Don Cayo Julio Cesar (Dictator of Rome) and Mrs. Cornelius Cinna (Princess Cornelia). When his father passed triumphant directing in Rome, he left her in Galicia where he married Lobecio Don Wolf, M. de Castro Lupario, whom the Emperor Augustus named Regulus, a kind of consul.
There another miracle occurred, next to a stone worship of the Church of St. James. The disciples were tired, and with the idea of spending the night they placed the body on top of another stone. Suddenly the stone melted taking the form of a sarcophagus. The disciples interpreted the incident as a divine invitation to seek early and close the final burial place of the apostle’s body. Two of the disciples, Theodore and Anastasio, left the body in the miraculous coffin and set out to find a more suitable location for the final burial.
Theodore and Anastasio went to the palace of Queen Shewolf with intention of seeking for a place to bury his master, but the Queen embarrassed and deceived sent them to Dvgivm Cape Neiro (Duio-Finisterre), a place where the high priest Ara Solis lived. At the same time she alerted him of intruders so that the high priest commanded the capture of the disciples as expected by the queen. While Theodore and Athanasius were prisoners in his cell, a light appeared overnight forming an invisible door in the wall and they escaped through the door.
The two disciples were immediately pursued, but just after they had crossed a bridge on Tamara (Tambre) river, the bridge sank immediately choking and drowning all of the pursuing soldiers.
Meanwhile the queen had ordered to bring the remains of the Apostle to his presence, but when the soldiers set out to steal the body from the stone coffin, the body rose by itself to the top of the Pico Sacro (Holy Mountain) preventing its removal. The Pico Sacro is a small mountain of 600 meters located in the Valle del Ulla, and it is visible from about 30 miles around.
Theodore and Anastasio, headed back to the presence of the Queen and asked her now for a wagon and a pair of oxen with which to remove the remains of a burial teacher. However, once more the Queen wished to deceive and sent them through the Mount Ilianvs claiming to have the best and tamer oxen from Galicia.
Arriving there the disciples found the oxen but they were the wildest animals ever seen, and worse than that, there also was a fierce dragon living with them. The beasts attacked the two disciples, but through the power of their prayers and the repeated action of the sign of the cross, they mastered them all. The dragon by the other hand simply exploded in flames while the oxen became tame and peaceful animals.
Years later, in 1676, the canon of the Cathedral of Santiago, Dr. Don Pedro de Valdés Feijoo and Noboa, founded a chapel dedicated to the Apostle on the side of this mountain, the very place where the oxen and the dragon were, to remember the miracle of tame bulls. It is the chapel, or sanctuary, of Santiaguiño that en1724 was moved a few hundred meters from its original place in la Campa do Carballo or Campa de los Romeros, to the place of Outeiro where it is currently located, and by passing the pilgrim route to Santiago from Southeast. Next to the chapel there is a stone fountain with two statues of the former Romanesque choir of the Cathedral of Santiago (Master Mateo), a bas-relief with a vivid scene of Theodore and Anastasio, and a long inscription that tells about what there happened. The water source remembers the place where oxen made water spring by itself while searching with their hooves.
Queen Shewolf was impressed by all these miracles, seeing the disciples get out time after time from all dangers, and listening to his soldiers explain how the remains of the Apostle had flown alone to the sacred peak, and also the fact that his beloved son had been miraculously saved from drowning while the boat of the Apostle was crossing. She decided to convert right away to Christianity and got baptized right there, offering her palace as a mausoleum for the apostle.
Howerver the disciples did not accept, they were looking for another better place, looking for signs from God to decide what would be the final place of burial, so they rejected the offer from the Queen and took his body out from the top of the Pico Sacro. They put him back in a cart drawn by the oxen that were once wild and resumed the journey.
The oxen were carrying the corpse without anyone to guide them, and the disciples followed behind, at one point in the road the oxen were very thirsty and dug with their hooves into the ground. From the ground a spring of water miraculously ejected, forming the so-called Franco source. Shortly the oxen continued on their way until they stopped in a field named Arcis Marmoricis in forest Liberdvnvm (Libredón) where there was a Roman building belonging to the Queen Shewolf for her and her granddaughter sixteen Viria Moeta . At this chosen location a tomb was built, and Queen Shewolf donated it for burial to the Apostlet, and then built right there the Basilica of St. James (Santiago) Church. The city of Santiago de Compostela was formed around the Basilica with the passing years.
The remains of St. James remained in the Cathedral until the Archbishop Juan de Sanclemente hide it in the sixteenth century for fear of attacks of the English pirates, who had besieged La Coruña led by the famous pirate Sir Francis Drake. The well-known body of the apostle had always been coveted by other kingdoms and the British were too close to be at ease. The intention of the archbishop had been moving the apostle to the monastery of the Escorial once the threat would disappear, but never got there.
The body of the apostle was lost during 300 years until the nineteenth century, when the canon archivist Don Antonio López Ferreiro conducted a research project that allowed him to regain the bones.
Don Antonio López Ferreiro besides being canon and archivist of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, was also a historian, archaeologist, novelist, one of the founders of the Real Academia da Lingua Galega, and a great lover of wine. Already in the canon fine wines were produced on the property where he lived, Hotel Altair. This property is today produces one of the most respected and Albariño wines renowned worldwide.
Archaeologist Lopez Ferreiro found under the pavement of a rectangular crypt altar divided into two compartments: one with room for one person, and notably assigned to a main character, the Apostle, and a simpler and with more space allowing to host for two bodies, disciples Anastasio and Theodore. All surrounded by a corridor with walls of granite blocks and mosaic. In the crypt there were remains of a fine marble, perhaps from a sarcophagus. The analysis revealed that it was a Roman sepulchral building, probably from the imperial period of the first century. The mosaic covering the tomb of the apostle was primarily representing the lotus flower, a Christian symbol of baptism and resurrection; this indicates the Christian character of the person buried there. The other two graves, simpler, were just separated by a masonry wall. But no human remains were found and therefore the canon followed with this investigation.
During the research he could find evidence that the remains were still there, hidden in the apse behind the altar. In the very place where the canons sang the antiphon "Corpora Sanctorum buries sunt in pace." There he saw on the pavement, marked by a star mosaic, that a vault with the attributes of the Apostle, including the ark and the star, were painted on.
Archaeologists just broke that pavement with the star and found a box containing bones from three male individuals, most likely from the early centuries of Christianity; two of them of medium age and an older one that showed clear signs of having been beheaded. A remaining tooth that was at the shrine of the Cathedral, and that was attributed to the apostle Saint James fit perfectly into the jaw of the latter skeleton.
After the discovery the canon Lopez Ferreiro offered a relic, one of the bones of the saint, to the chapel of Santiaguiño and held a party at the Pazo de Vista Alegre Manor House. A place close to his own that was famous for being home of Luis López Ballesteros, the Finance Minister of King Fernando VII. In the manor of Vista Alegre a mass was celebrated in honor of the Holy Apostle and Lopez Ferreiro.
One night, while the archaeologist Lopez Ferreiro was having dinner at the manor Vista Alegre, and drinking wine from his cellar there was a miracle. He was enjoying the delicious dishes that were cooked in the Vista Alegre Manor house while a dove came through an open window, and bringing a branch of olive tree at its peak. A servant tried to catch it, but could not succeed, then he froze. Legend says that as the pigeon looked back calm to the frozen servant, it spoke. The servant went back to the owners of Vista Alegre Manor House and told them the message that the pigeon had transmitted. His message was clear: look there, the teacher is not far, follow the path of the Lord and find yours, by the star. Shortly Lopez Ferreiro found the inspiration, faith and science required to uncover the true remains of the Apostle.
The relic of the Apostle is preserved until today in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and is given to kiss to worldwide believers during the holidays. The miraculous powers of the Holy Martyr are still moving mountains.