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MEDIEVAL PILGRIMAGES

Pilgrimage is as old as humanity and is universal in all religions.

In the Middle Ages, the Holy Land was the most important place of pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. From the sixth century onwards, Rome, with the tomb of the Apostle Peter, also became an important destination for pilgrims. After the 'discovery of the grave' of Apostle James Maior in the ninth century, Santiago de Compostela also became a major destination for pilgrims. With this we only mention the three most important places of pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. There were, and there are, dozens, hundreds of others.

Pilgrim is traveling to a holy place. That used to be a clear description, pilgrimage was a completely religious event. Pilgrims went out to pray, to venerate a saint, to do penance, to ask forgiveness.

But pilgrimage is evolving. In the secularized world, pilgrimage can also have a non-religious meaning. Every pilgrim interprets the concept of pilgrimage in his own way. A pilgrim may have one motive but often has several. And once on the road, the motives can also change.

There are still religious motives, in addition to sporting and social ones: strengthening ties of friendship, cultural-historical interests, enjoying the landscape and nature. But many pilgrims also want to sort everything out in this sometimes hectic society, look back and forward (after studies, upon retirement, etc.), want to re-recognize what is important in their own lives, in living together with others. people, in their relationship with – or the search for – the Other, the supernatural, usually called God.

 

Many pilgrims also carry something in their backpack to process: grieving processes, relationship problems, unemployment, study problems, you name it. By distancing themselves from the daily situation and contacts with other pilgrims from all over the world, by being open to deeper values such as solidarity, friendship, simplicity, hospitality... they are looking for, hoping for a new beginning, a better start or at least a improved outlook on life.

Pilgrims are popular. And certainly pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The caminos to Compostela appeal to many because of their history, culture, nature and religion. In a society that focuses on the individual, there is a need for peace, for reflection, for the experience of deeper values, for contact with fellow human beings. You will find this on the caminos to Compostela, busy caminos with many pilgrims - and many contacts - but also quiet, still less traveled caminos.

After the Corona crises, a pilgrimage is very popular again and we are involved in the St Jacobs Procession in Brussels, just like theJacob's route through the Benelux Union.

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