The pilgrim path
Each year, more than a quarter of a million people walk a route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. This growth in pilgrims, including Protesant pilgrims and pilgrims of other faiths, has been steadily increasing since the mid-1980’s. This resurgence has been credited to many factors, including the fostering of faith communities and connectivity among pilgrims as they journey on various treks around the world.
While travel was dramatically impacted by the pandemic that began in 2020, today’s influx of pilgrims into Santiago continues to break records, with over 435,000 pilgrims receiving a Compostela in 2022.
What is the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is one of the three major pilgrimage routes in the history of Christianity, along with Jerusalem and Rome. The Camino is not one route, but a vast network of footpaths funneling into the city of Santiago de Compostela from all over Europe. Located in the northwest corner of Spain, the holy city is the capital of the region of Galicia.
Pilgrims began traveling to Santiago shortly after the bones of Santiago were unearthed around 856. By the middle ages, 250,000 pilgrims were arriving each year. Due to the black plague and shifting perspectives throughout the following centuries, pilgrimage significantly declined. However, in the early 1980’s the route known today as the Camino Frances was marked with yellow arrows, which along with the scallop shell, still identify the path.
The popularity of the Camino has increased steadily,
with the percentage of women, non-Roman Catholic, English speakers, and number of countries represented rising significantly.
The Friends are collaborating with the Episcopal Church in Spain to build a place of sanctuary where pilgrims of every kind, believers and seekers, may anchor their Camino journey in Santiago de Compostela. With Santiago de Compostela the third major holy site of pilgrimage in Christianity, our Centre joins the Anglican Centres in Jerusalem and Rome as vital places of Anglican hospitality that embrace ecumenism, outreach, youth development, spiritual formation, and interfaith dialogue.
In April, 2015, twenty-five dedicated people met at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City (USA) to discuss the dream of building an Anglican Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. With the endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in July, 2016, this effort envisions what St. Paul asked of the Galatians: “for all of you are one.”
“Pilgrimage is at the very heart of our faith. In recent decades the Camino of St James in Spain has grown in popularity but until now, the Anglican churches have been hampered in their ability to welcome pilgrims. In the Bible we often see Jesus walking with fellow pilgrims and so the prospect of building a Centre where pilgrims can be given hospitality is a positive step forward for the Church.
“The Anglican Pilgrim Centre in Santiago will bring people together, welcoming all for a common good. I offer my congratulations and thanks to Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal for this initiative to establish, a global ecumenical religious Centre, part of the Anglican Communion’s ministry in Spain.”
The Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury
Our Mission and Vision
The Anglican Centre in Santiago de Compostela is an ecumenical place that offers hospitality, learning, healing, hope and love.
The vision of the Anglican Centre in Santiago is three-fold:
- To offer hospitality to all pilgrims and visitors to Santiago de Compostela and to provide a place for prayer, reflection, and renewal.
- To serve as a global, ecumenical religious centre, representing the voice of the Anglican Communion in Spain.
- To foster dialogue and promote cooperation among various faith traditions.
Hospitality & Welcome
The Centre will provide space to accommodate retreats, lectures, and classes.
The Anglican Centre will serve the dual functions of providing hospitality to pilgrims and groups, and offering space for event organizers and attendees. It will be a place where pilgrims of all kinds can share and reflect on their spiritual journeys and life transformations.
A place for hospitality and connection – to refresh the body, mind, and spirit.
FORMATION & RETREAT
The Centre will include accommodations for youth and adult groups, and for individuals seeking an extended stay for sabbatical or retreat.
The Centre will offer programs, workshops, and other gatherings that explore pilgrimage, our Anglican heritage, and Abrahamic faith traditions, as well as Spanish culture, history, and languages.
A place of learning, exploration, and reflection.
Healing & Celebration
The Centre will be a place of healing and processing of life’s experiences, and a place of spiritual renewal.
A place to celebrate milestones and anniversaries, to celebrate and deepen relationships with God, family, friends, and creation.
Ecumenical & Inclusive
The centre will include a chapel where clergy of all genders and denominations can celebrate Holy Communion and worship with their groups.
It will be a safe place and welcoming space for other faith groups to gather and celebrate according to their traditions.
A place where all pilgrims are free to ponder the effects of the life-changing experience of walking the Camino.
A place that helps pilgrims to return home, renewed, refreshed, and equipped to continue on their individual pilgrimages of life.
Do you have questions?
We love to hear your Camino stories and to share tips and resources if you’re planning a Camino. Let us know if you would like to learn more about our project or connect with our community of volunteers and friends.