The pilgrims and walkers of Saint James who, year after
year, take the way readily, put their steps into those of the millions
of pilgrims who preceded them. They are encouraged there by the speech
of pilgrim associations which repeat with the envy this assertion, believing
to honour the first scholars and researchers who gave honor to the pilgrimage
after the last war. To dare to blame the writings of these first researchers
is scandalous for some. All these priests who, in France, sought traces
of worship of Saint James and vestiges of the places where pilgrims received
hospitality cannot have been mistaken! The good sense however started
to question itself.
Somport saw many passing people. There the Sainte-Christine hospital could
be installed only for the pilgrims of Compostelle ? Cluny started abbeys
in all Europe, those which are on the roads leading to Spain would have
been only for the pilgrims of Compostelle ? And other questions.
It is then advisable to question the historian. Does research make it
possible to find traces of these millions of pilgrims? On what rest these
assertions sometimes engraved in marble as on the "Saint-Jacques
tower" in Paris? The historian hardly dares to answer as he feels
an honest answer will attract the attention of these questioners to him
who do not hear his answer.
He certainly finds mentioned in his sources troops of pilgrims, but what
if a troop is just a few tens of individuals ? He searches hospital registers
to find a few hundreds of pilgrims in tens of thousands of accomodated
people, and the number of those which are named pilgrims of Saint James
de Galice is ridiculously low. Some say to him that undoubtedly whoever
wrote the book had the idleness to write... He refers to work which could
in their research have crossed these famous pilgrims: the specialist in
Cluny does not have anything to say, the archivist who holds the documents
of foundation of the hospital of such city, a place of gathering of pilgrims
in departure for Compostelle did not mention them there. The specialist
who studied the judgments painstakingly gathered a few hundreds of pilgrims
and found that the registers of royal pardons hardly reveal much more.
Then ? The disapeared documents has infomation on millions
of pilgrims. Is this of course ? It caused the research of the historian
He continues when this certainty comes from his pilgrim companions of
today ? How did this certainty arrive to them? He starts again with the
texts to find the first mention of this immense crowd. By chance a literary
colleague comes to translate the Veneranda Dies, the last of the
sermons of the Pope Calixte transmitted by the worthy Codex Calixtinus.
He reads it with passion, finding the formulas which were taken again
and clearings by the successors of Calixte. Then suddenly his ear is more
attentive. These sentences sound to him like an older text.
In Compostelle one venerates James, the elder brother, but John his younger
brother, preferred by Christ, already, well before Calixte employed the
same words, called upon the same images. And a scan of the horizon results
in the magic word Apocalypse ! And to return from the images, the Lamb
on the throne, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and of the words similar to those
of the sermon : a hundred and forty four thousand and the innumerable
crowd of the others. And another name emerges to his memory of Beatus.
The commentator of this last book of the New Testament. The historian
foresees a scan of a whole field of investigations guided by this new
star which has just emerged. What are the filiations between these text
? What are the influences ? Saint James represented in majesty in Compostelle,
isn't this how Christ appears in majesty at the Apocalypse ? The first
apostle martyr can be only with his Lord.
Then an immense crowd and the millions of pilgrims are there, in the Heavenly
Jerusalem. But wasn't Compostelle compared to it ? By who ? When ? In
which text ? Where and how was it taken again ? It is necessary to continue
research, to find filiations, perhaps recopies. Enquiring friends light
our ways. That will not prevent the walker from feeling pain and to sing
on its way and to sing even more when he forms part of a long troop It
is no more millions of pilgrims who are before him : it is humanity walking
... towards the Heaven !