After opening the Holy Door on December 31, 2020, the Holy See declared the extension of the Holy Year Xacobeo until 2022. This decision was made as a result of the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic for pilgrims who had planned their pilgrimage during the Holy Year. Let’s look in detail at the first news about the Holy Year.
The Holy Year extended until 2022
This decision was joyfully acclaimed by pilgrims and professionals at the end of the liturgy in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela during the Opening Ceremony of the Holy Door. The Archbishop of Santiago, the Xunta and the Concello made this exceptional request to Pope Francis due to the difficult situation caused by Covid-19. This measure is intended to avoid the large crowds of pilgrims that normally occur during a Holy Year. In addition, it would help to reduce the danger of an increase in cases in this first phase of vaccination and will offer greater security when undertaking the Way since new control measures can be implemented in the coming months, such as the use of the Digital Credential.
For the first time, the Holy Year, and the benefits of the Jubilee for the faithful, will last two years instead of one. The Pope himself has declared his intention to visit Galicia as soon as health circumstances permit. This also means that the Holy Door, which represents the rear entrance to the Cathedral, located in the Plaza de la Quintana, will remain open until the end of 2022. To learn more about plenary indulgence, and how you can get it during the Holy Year, click here.
Opening of the Holy Door
The Solemn Ceremony of the Opening of the Holy Door, was celebrated as per tradition, on December 31, 2020, according to the ritual and was broadcast live on Galician television and on its youtube channel. The Pope’s message, read by the Nuncio during the ceremony, referred to the pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Apostle as an existential experience of conversion in which one never stops longing for an encounter with the Lord. The entire event was very moving, especially after such a special year, defined by covid-19. The ritual, characterized by the strict measures of preventive health care, touched the hearts of the many pilgrims and faithful who look forward to returning to the Camino as soon as possible.
Strictly following the religious function, which lasted 4 hours, the Holy Door was opened at 5 p.m., with the rite of the 3 blows with the silver and oak wood hammer, donated by a German couple. After entering the Cathedral through the Holy Door, the assistants continued the celebration of the Eucharist in the recently restored interior of the Basilica. For the second time, the Botafumeiro was launched.
The restoration works of the Cathedral of Santiago
The Archbishop himself was surprised by the great achievement of the restoration work on the interior of the Cathedral. From the High Altar, to the pieces of the organ, restored piece by piece, the result was an excellent work of heritage recovery. Galicians are extremely proud of this masterpiece, as well as all those pilgrims, who will be able to enjoy such beauty after their pilgrimage! The restoration work, which cost a total of 20 million euros, was the result of the collaboration of the Xunta de Galicia, the Spanish government, the Concello de Santiago and private entities such as the Barrié Foundation or Iberdrola.
After two years of work on its interior, the largest restoration project in the history of the Cathedral, scheduled for the beginning of the Jacobean Holy Year 2021, was completed. The two spaces that stand out most in this restoration work are: the Main Chapel, where the remains of the Apostle are kept, and the Transept, where the naves are located and where the Botafumeiro hangs.
Santiago Cathedral has undergone numerous modifications and various restorations in the past. However, in its 11 centuries of history, it had never seen a rehabilitation work of this kind, involving all the architectural styles present within it. This explosion of beauty represents the great commitment that the city, and the Galician community have, for decades now, with the pilgrims who visit the Cathedral. Below you can see the moment of the Opening of the Holy Door and the entrance to the interior of the Cathedral of the Archbishop of Santiago and the various participants in the ceremony. In the final images you can admire the majesty of the interior.
If you too would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to walk the Camino de Santiago and visit the recently restored Cathedral, contact us to request your custom itinerary in the Holy Year of St. James. At Galiwonders, we’ll take care of all the details so you can experience the best of the Camino.