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from Fortunatus, which he considers proves that the body of St. James was still in Judæa in the fourth century, De Tillemont proceeds: "The body of St. James the Greater might have been transported thence in the seventh or eighth centuries, because the Saracens were then masters of the East, and carried to Galicia; "1 and again in his notes, "There might then be more probability in saying that, in the disorders of the seventh century, and amid the ravages of the Saracens then and afterwards in Palestine, the body of St. James was transported to Galicia on some opportunity, and there remained unknown until about the year 800, on account of the troubles which the invasion of the Saracens caused throughout Spain in the eighth century; if, nevertheless, it is necessary to say that it remained some time hidden, of which we shall speak in note 8, it is a conjecture without proof, but it is, nevertheless, quite as much proved as what else is said on the subject. I think that it gets better rid of all the difficulties, and makes it more easy to maintain that the relics at Compostella are really those of St. James the Greater." 2 This hypothesis has been lately taken up and developed by Gams. The element which he has added is this. In one of the texts of the Epistle of St. Leo III., the corpse is said to be borne "navigio in rathem," and "sic requievit inter illa rathe et sare."4 In some lists the name of the first
1 Tillemont, Mémoires Ecclésiastiques, vol. i. p. 329. 2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 598.
3 Gams, Die Kirchengeschichte von Spanien, vol. ii. p. 297 (1864), iii. lib. x. c. 1 (1874), v. p. 505 (1879).
4 Recuerdos de un Viaje, p. 120, and Fita's note.
Bishop of Braga is Petrus Rathensis, and he is said to have been one of the disciples of St. James, as Athanasius and Theodore are said to have been the first Bishops of Saragossa.
The body of St. James from the years 521-525 Gams believes to have been in the monastery of Raithu in Jerusalem; thence to have been transferred in the time of Justinian to a monastery Rayeh near Mount Sinai, and thence brought in the seventh century by Petrus Rathensis and his two companions, Athanasius and Theodore, to Saragossa, and on the capture of that place by the Moors in 714 to have been transferred to Compostella, where it was buried and remained unknown till some time between the years 756829. According to this theory the appellation of Rathensis, which really came from Raithu in Jerusalem, or from Rayeh near Mount Sinai, suggested the word "ratis," or "rathis," a raft, in the Epistle of St. Leo and the early legends, and gave occasion to the whole story of the miraculous voyage of the corpse of St. James shortly after his martyrdom.
But the hypothesis seems to be as full of difficulties as any of the preceding legends. Neither in the Epistle of St. Leo, nor in the deed of Alfonso the Chaste, the earliest documents which tell of the discovery of the body at Compostella, is the name of Petrus mentioned; nor is it prominent in any of the early lists of the disciples of St. James. In these traditions the place of disembarkation is always said to be Iria. The connection of Saragossa with the story is only with
relation to the fantastic legend of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, before the Assumption, on a pillar to St. James, and the erection of the first Christian Church there; but as Gams utterly rejects the preaching of St. James in Spain in his lifetime, we do not see how he can build on this, which is an integral part of the same story. There is scarcely time between the fall of Saragossa, 714, and the date of Theodomir, probably 774, for the utter oblivion into which the burial-place had fallen, and for the grove of trees to have covered the ruins of the temple in which the body was found. The date of the transference of the Bishopric of Iria to Compostella by Pope Leo III. seems to be 798;1 and there must have been time for the story of the Invention, the gift of Alfonso, and the building of the earliest church at Compostella to have reached Rome and to have been in some way inquired into. The words of Alfonso the Chaste, "recens revelati," "revelatum est in nostro tempore," imply a period anterior to the date of the document. De Tillemont expressly says of this hypothesis that it has no evidence, "c'est une conjecture sans preuve."3 Moreover, how could Petrus Rathensis have been called first Bishop of Braga, and Athanasius and Theodore first Bishops of Saragossa about or shortly after 714, when both Saragossa and Braga were in the hands of the Saracens? Mariana, speaking of the transference of
1 Chronici Rerum Memorabilium Hispaniæ; autore, Joanne Vaseo, p. 122, Salmanticæ, 1552.
2 España Sagrada, t. xix. p. 329. 3 Loc. cit supra
the Archbishopric of Braga to Compostella, says that "the former was not prejudiced in any manner; since Braga was uninhabited at that time, for the Moors had destroyed it." 1
Either the whole story must be relegated to the domains of baseless fable, or we must admit as facts, more or less exactly stated, that, anterior to the Arab invasion, there was a belief (whether right or wrong) in the Western Church that St. James the Greater had in his lifetime preached in Spain. But we find then no mention of the translation of his body there by miracle or otherwise. This later belief arose in the eighth century. It is within the range of credibility that on Mount Ilicinus, shortly before, or in the reign of Alfonso the Chaste, in the substructions of the ruins of a heathen temple, three sarcophagi were found, containing the skeletons of three bodies; and to these bones became attached the names of St. James the Greater, and of his supposed disciples, Athanasius and Theodore. That over these skeletons a church with mud walls was built; that this church was enlarged at successive periods, till it became the cathedral of Compostella, and that the high altar was constructed over these relics by Diego Gelmirez, 1134. We may grant that at the panic caused by Drake's attack on Corunna in 1589, the relics were taken from the sarcophagi and crypt, and hidden elsewhere, and were re-discovered by the present cardinal, M. Paya y Rico, Archbishop of Compostella, in January, 1879; and that these skeletons are now declared by a decree of the 1 Mariana, lib. vii. c. 10, p. 303.
Sacred Congregation of Rites to be those of the bodies of St. James the Greater, and of Athanasius and Theodore. All this is not incredible were the evidence only sufficient.
The decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites does not say a word about the preaching of St. James in Spain-though the Breviary does-it does not distinctly say at what time the bodies were brought there, except that it was before the time of the Arabic occupation; it declares only the identity of the skeletons lately discovered in the apse of the cathedral of Compostella with those of the Apostle and of his companions.
We will conclude with a short account of the pièces de conviction, as the French say, on the evidence of which the present decree is founded. Whatever other results may have been attained, the investigation has brought to light rich archæological treasure. The Cardinal Archbishop summoned to his aid two of the most learned archæologists and linguists of Spain, in order to examine the documents and archives of the cathedral to see if they could throw any light upon the deposition of the relics. Few books of archæological research are of greater interest than that in which Padre F. Fita, S.J., and Don Aureliano Fernandez-Guerra have told the story of their investigation.1 It is
1 In this book, besides numerous inedited Latin inscriptions, and rectifications of others, a full account was first given of the Codex Calixtinus, which had before been but imperfectly known by copies in the collection of Baluze, etc., in the National Library in Paris. P. Fita discovered there in book iv., the earliest known Basque Vocabulary (he subsequently printed the whole book, which contains the Itineraries of Santiago, in the Revue de Linguistique, January and July,