Scraping in through the Door of Mercy
What is the Door of Mercy?
The Door of Mercy is a door to the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela that is only open in a Holy Year. In Santiago, a Holy year is when the Saint’s Feast day, July 25th, falls on a Sunday. That happened in 2021, however, the Pope declared that it would remain open for another year. This would enable pilgrims to come to Santiago and walk through the door. The call goes out in the Holy Year,
“Get out of your land, the Apostle Santiago is waiting for you”.
And we did. We walked an official 270 kilometres from Ponferrada to Santiago on the Camino Invierno. It was cold, wet, remote and utterly beautiful. And as of this week, we were included in the 500,000 pilgrims who actually went to the Pilgrims office and collected their compostelas.
And I promise to begin posting and writing my book about it, come January 1st…or 2nd. You can be part of it!
About the Door of Mercy
A Holy Door is a door of forgiveness, to a Catholic church, that allows those who pass through it a plenary indulgence, that is the absolution of all of their sins. All the sins of the person are forgiven. They will be able to enter Heaven without having to go to Purgatory first. There are other Holy Doors in the world, but The Holy Door at the Cathedral of Santiago is the most well known amongst pilgrims doing the camino.
The first Holy Year, was inaugurated by Pope Calixto II in 1122 (a year in which, the last stone of the Cathedral of Santiago was placed). However, this physical door dates from the early 16th century. It marks the physical end of the pilgrimage, a ritual meant to draw near to God, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Where is the Door of Mercy
The door is in the Quintana de Mortos Square. Above the door are the Apostle James (Santiago) and his two disciples Theodore and Athanasius. On either side of the door are panels of 24 sculptures of prophets and apostles from the stony choir of Master Mateo, placed there in the 17th century. On the inside of the door are panels depicting the life of St. James.
But for now, it’s time to close off this year of 2022. We answered the call of Santiago — this year I walked my third camino. For my friends, it was their first. They loved it!