Many pilgrims until they reach the beginning of the first stage know nothing about the document they must carry all the way: the Pilgrim’s Credential. It may be the case that even though they know what the credential is for, they do not know where to obtain it, nor how to fill it. As it is a recurrent theme in all the organized trips to the road we make, we want to answer certain questions that you ask us every year and that we hope will be of help to all future pilgrims who read this article.
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What is the pilgrim’s credential?
It is a document where the data of the pilgrim appears and where there are some boxes that must be stamped in each stage with the Stamps of the Way of Saint James of the places where it passes and the date in which it has passed. On the first page will be the space reserved for the data of the pilgrim and the first place where he delivered this credential.
The credential must be stamped at least a couple of times a day in the last 100 km if you walk or ride the road, or in the last 200 km if you cycle the road to Santiago, with the Stamps of the road. On the French road these last 100 km start in Sarriá.
In summary we can affirm that the credential is the pilgrim’s card, a passport. It is like when a traveller travels to countries outside the EU and needs his passport stamped in order to enter them.
Many people who have never made the journey wonder why the pilgrim’s credential should be stamped at each stage, and the answer is obvious, since the credential serves two purposes:
– Allow all pilgrims carrying it to stay in public hostels. –
It works as accreditation to apply for the “Compostela” once you arrive in Santiago.
This pilgrim’s card is the successor of the salvaconducto that in the Middle Ages pilgrims needed to cross the cities of any of the Jacobean routes or to be able to sleep in certain shelters that existed along the routes outside the cities. These shelters were stone watchtowers that served to protect pilgrims from the cold and water who could not reach the nearest city.
Who issues the credential?
It is extended by the Archbishopric or the Cabildo of Santiago, and it is granted to those people who make the pilgrimage for religious reasons and it is a recognition of the Pilgrims by the Church for their devotion to the Apostle Santiago.
There is an official credential model that you can obtain if you are going to make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons. The archbishopric or the town hall of Santiago extends it and as we have already spoken before, it will be your card on the way, your pilgrim’s card.
Where can I get the Camino de Santiago credential?
It’s normal to arrive without a credential, so you shouldn’t be overwhelmed if you don’t have it when you arrive. In many hostels they usually offer it for a price ranging from 0.2 cents to 2 euros.
Other places that can find the credential at the beginning are the churches and village hermitages where you start. If you have decided to make the French way you can go to the convent of the merced, or in the hostels of the city.
There are many pilgrims who ask us where to get the credential of the Camino de Santiago in Madrid or Barcelona as in other cities and we always remind them that the simplest thing is at the start stage, but if they want to get it in those cities can ask different brotherhoods, or associations of friends of the road that are spread throughout the Spanish geography.
Where can I get the Stamps of the Way of St. James?
In each stage we will go through different churches, hermitages and other places that will have a tampon with ink with its official seal differentiating it from other sites.
List of places where you can ask for your road credential stamps:
– Pilgrims’ hostels-
Town halls and councils-
Bars and restaurants-
Schools and Universities-
Hotels and restaurants-
Churches of Santiago-
Churches and parishes-
– Tourist Offices –
Police and security forces
The credential of the pilgrim of the Way of St. James is only for those who make the journey on foot, on horseback or by bicycle and who make it with a Christian sense. This credential does not grant rights to the pilgrim and its purpose is to identify them for the hostels and to prove that he has made the journey through all the stages.
Therefore, the pilgrim’s credential can only be issued by the Church through its own institutions (Bishopric, Parish, Brotherhood, etc.) or authorized (Federation of Associations, Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, etc.). Only in this way can ‘Compostela’ be granted in the S. A. M. I. Cathedral of Santiago.
Upon arrival in Santiago, at the Pilgrim Reception Office (located at Rúa do Vilar, 1. Telephone: +34 981 56 88 46. E-mail: email@example.com)