2016 has been the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy according to Catholic traditions. Therefore, if pilgrims walk the Camino on a Holy Year or during the Year of Mercy and they get into the Cathedral of Santiago through the Holy Door or Door of Mercy, they will be given Catholic indulgence.

On the 13th of December 2015, the Archbishop Barrio of Santiago de Compostela opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral under the recommendation of the Pope Francis.  The Holy Door must only be opened on Jubilee Years, that is to say, when the Feast of Santiago is hold, on 25th of July and that date is also on a Sunday.


So, 2016 is the the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. What does it mean?

As it has already been explained above, a Jubilee Year is hold when the Feast of Santiago falls on 25th of July. However, an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy is hold when a pope declares it. The Jubilee Year of Mercy commenced when Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8, 2015 and on December 13, 2015 all the Holy Doors in Cathedrals and designated churches throughout the world opened to pilgrims. In this way, Pope Francis declared 2016 the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy  saying:

I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!

This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father’s mercy.


Where is the Holy Door ?

Pilgrims that visit Santiago de Compostela will notice the façade of the cathedral that faces the Quintana square is something special. Highly decorated but fairly small it stands out on a large austere square. Santiago Cathedral Holy Door is known as Porta Santa. But this is not the only holy door, there are other holy doors in many cathedrals and churches on the camino. Other Camino cathedrals such as Lugo, on the Camino Primitivo; Tui, on the Portuguese Way, Ourense on the Via de la Plata and Mondoñedo on the Camino del Norte, and cathedrals such as Le Puy en Velay and Cahors, on the Le Puy Camino route in France have also had a Holy Door open for the year.


Holy Door or Door of Mercy  in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

In 2016 the Holy door was opened so that pilgrims would enter. The Holy door of Santiago Cathedral will not be open again until 2021. A Porta Santa or Holy Door dates from the beginning of the 17th century.   The opening of the Holy Door is carried out following an ancient ritual on the 31st of December of the year prior to the Año Santo.

The Holy Door has just closed on 13th November 2016.

Thanks to:

Photo 1: internationalcaminoassociation

Photo 2: http://www.elcorreogallego.es/

Photo 3: http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/

Buen Camino, amigos!

Anxo Saco