Part 1. The importance of tradition and history in developing the idea of pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James
1.1. What are the original causes of pilgrimage?
People have been known to move from their places of residence since time immemorial. The causes of such migration were related initially to territorial expansion, diplomacy, and trading. Next, such travels stemmed from individual reasons, such as religion, health, recreation, and sightseeing. Historically, the oldest reason for regular periodic migrations came from religion. Pilgrimages made to Thebes in the ancient Egypt were recorded since 6th century BC, and to the ancient Greece in the 8th century BC. In India alone there were 12 pilgrimage routes in the 4th century BC. The phenomenon of individual migrations was observed on a larger scale in the ancient Rome. The Roman Empire in the first ages of our era expanded from Egypt to the Northern England and from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates and farther on to India. The Empire introduced the veneration of the saints and the faith in their special godly mediation. The death sites of martyrs and believers became a part of the cultural heritage for local communities, which started the tradition of visiting such places. At the same time, people began to travel to relax and learn new things, which was due to the vastness and climatic and natural attractiveness of the Roman Empire. 1
After the division of the Roman Empire into the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire in 476, the latter fell down in the face of advancing German tribes. That date is recognised as the end of antiquity and the beginning of a new era in the history of the world, the Middle Ages. In that period the crusades to the Holy Land were waged, provoked by the seizure of Jerusalem by the Muslims in 638 and again in 1072 by the Seljuk Turks. In 1095, the pope Urban II called the Christian world to mount crusades in order to recapture Jerusalem and defend the important sites of Christian worship. In 1096–1272 eight knight crusades were launched and three people’s crusade: 1st People’s Crusade in 1096, 2nd People’s Crusade in 1147, and the so-called Children’s Crusade in 1212.
In addition to military purposes, the crusades brought the flourish of pilgrimage movements as well as the growth in the Levant trading and sea navigation, the development of architecture, medicine, astronomy, science and arts in Europe and new contacts made by Europeans with the rich cultures of the East2. At that time individual travels of people outside of their local areas were limited to wars and pilgrimages inspired mostly by the Catholic Church. It was then, at the turn of the first and second millennia, when the tradition of pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, developed.
1See R.Cameron. Historia gospodarcza świata, Wydawnictwo Książka i Wiedza, Warszawa 1996, s. 28-53
2See A. Konstam. Wyprawy krzyżowe, Wydawnictwo Świat Książki, Warszawa 2005
1.2. What was the role of the legend in creating the Way St. James?
1.3. What historic facts underlie the formation of the Way of St. James
At that time the Christian kings of Spain ruled only in the part of Cantabria. The King of Asturias, Alphonse II Chaste, used the discovery of the grave of St. James to organise the military expeditions against the Moors and in 844 the Christian army defeated the Arabs in the Battle at Clavijo for the first time. It was believed that the victory was due to the aid from St. James, who became the patron of Christians struggle against the Muslims. After the battle, the king Alphonse II went with his whole court to the ‘field of stars’ and ordered the construction of a small church to replace the chapel. It was there that the bishop Theodomir moved the seat of the diocese. In 824, the settlement that grew around the church became officially known as Santiago de Compostela. Being aware of the importance of the worship of St. James for the local community, the Muslim caliphs tried to destroy the sanctuary, in order to crash the source of power and hope for the Spaniards to free their land from the hands of the Moors. On 11 August 997, the Vizier of Cordoba Caliphate seized Santiago and destroyed it completely, sparing only the tomb of St. James. At that time the construction of the present cathedral started and the city was rebuilt larger and more beautiful.
Sculpture ‘St. James, the Vanquisher of the Moors’ The Battle of Clavijo became the turning point of the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1246, Muhammad I became the vassal of King Ferdinand I. The Reconquista ended in 1492 with the capture of the Emirate of Grenada, the last bastion of Muslims on the peninsula, by the combined armies of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. The fights under the patronage of St. James made Santiago de Compostela a symbol of values that united Europe at that time.
1.4. What circumstances made the idea of pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela permanent?
The successes in the struggle against the Moors made St. James more popular as the patron of Spain. After the victorious battles his grave became the place of pilgrimage for the rulers of the Spanish kingdoms and, gradually, for common followers as well. At the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, the today’s church was constructed, which incorporated the previous temple. The work was completed in 1128. The temple was consecrated in 1211 and houses the relics of St. James placed in the crypt under the main alter. The tomb in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela with relics of St. James Pilgrimages to that tomb grew in importance at that time. Pilgrims received a safe conduct from the king who guaranteed their safety and cared for them on the territory of Spain. Moreover, at the beginning of the twelfth century Pope Kalist II announced so-called ‘three holy addresses’: Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. The same Pope decided that a year when the 25th July, i.e. the festival of St. James, falls on Sunday would be the holy year in Santiago de Compostela. The first Holy Year took place in 1182. Moreover, the Pope gave the sanctuary of St. James the right to grant the plenary indulgence. The indulgence is due to a pilgrim who, having covered a section of the Route, attends the Mass at the St. James Cathedral, confesses, and receives Communion within 15 days before or after the pilgrimage. Cape of Finisterra The legend of St. James made Santiago de Compostela famous. Pilgrims from all over Europe started visiting the tomb of St. James and the Cape of Finisterra, situated three-day walking journey away. The cape, according to the then knowledge, was considered to be the end of the world. Pilgrims covered hundreds and even thousands of kilometres to touch the relics of St. James and receive the plenary indulgence for their cardinal sins. Upon getting to the Cape of Finisterra, pilgrims burnt their penitential clothes and washed their bodies in the water of the ocean, leaving their sinful life behind and starting a new stage of their life with new faith. As a keepsake they took a shell from the Atlantic beach, which today has become the symbol of the Way of St. James. In those times pilgrimage was hazardous and there were no organised forms of protecting pilgrims. They could only hope for the assistance of local residents in the villages and towns they passed.
1.5. What are the basic conditionings and motivations of the pilgrimage movement?
Finally, two institutions were established to defend pilgrims: a safe conduct and knightly orders. A safe conduct protected pilgrims in territories of military activity and was to deter robbers. It was issued by a local duke. A pilgrim and his personal belongings were sacred during the pilgrimage. Already in 1123 the First Council of Lateran threatened to excommunicate those who robbed pilgrims. In 1434, the King of Navarra, John II, issued a document that gave pilgrims the guarantee of unrestricted and safe movement in the whole territory of his kingdom. The responsibility for the safety of pilgrims rested with knightly orders, especially the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and the Knights of the Temple of Solomon3. The route to Santiago de Compostela had its own knightly order as well. In 1161, the Knights of St. James were established, which operated both on the Spanish and French part of the Way of St. James. The involvement of different individuals and local communities in the maintenance and operation of the pilgrimage route encompassed numerous areas of life. A very important role was played by the monasteries located along the route and their monks, who often dedicated their lives to the service for the pilgrims. The duties of the orders covered four main needs of people: food, accommodation, medical care, and spiritual assistance. The followers gradually came to believe that it is the duty of every Christian to accommodate and feed a pilgrim. Regardless of all the kindness of local communities, it was necessary to establish shelters and hospitals to help pilgrims in the areas where they travelled. Such institutions were founded mostly owing to the generosity of princes, bishops, and abbots. A pilgrim was then perceived from the religious perspective and was recognised by the people living along the Way of St. James as an obligation to render help to the maximum possible extent.
In the Middle Ages, pilgrims travelled mostly to repent, strengthen their face, fulfil an oath, ask for healing or as thanksgiving. The Medieval role models of knights also imposed the obligation to visit holy places. In addition, cities and parishes sent pilgrims to request for things important for the local communities, for example the end of drought or epidemics. In some states, courts used to sentence criminals to travel to the tomb of St. James. Pilgrimages to Santiago were also ordered by priests to do penance for deadly sins. Another important reason for pilgrimage was the faith in the intercession of saints, oaths, and the fulfilment of last will. Sometimes, pilgrimages were made for love of adventure and to meet other people. All the above-mentioned incentives have both social-moral and cognitive nature and are based on religious foundations. They involve the self-improvement, the fulfilment of duties towards oneself and one’s neighbours as well as the communal duties4. Pilgrimages were started traditionally from the threshold of one’s home, with the emotional involvement of the whole local community.
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the road to Santiago de Compostela was travelled mostly by the well-off, because the journey was long, expensive, and hazardous. There were numerous renown persons among the pilgrims, such as Charles the Great, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, St. Bridget of Sweden, Isabella of Castile, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Johannes Dantiscus, as well as some popes. As the conditions of pilgrimages improved, the representatives of all estates started going to Santiago. In the fourteenth century, during the peak popularity of the Way of St. James, the route was followed by million persons. Some of them, in particular pilgrims from the Central and Eastern Europe, who travelled for example along the Pomeranian Way of St. James, noticed and appreciated the educational values of the journey. The Route crossed, among others, Hanseatic cities such as Gdańsk, Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and next French cities of Rouen, Paris, Tours, Nantes and Bordeaux. Finally, on the French-Spanish border in the Pyrenees it joined the historic French Route, which ran westwards on the hills of northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Those cities were the economic and cultural centres of Europe at that time. They constituted rich and modern centres with flourishing science and culture. There were numerous churches and knightly orders there, prepared to host pilgrims and give them medical aid. The evidence of that greatness can be admired today as well. Church of St. James in Gdańsk-Oliwa The epidemics and wars, including the religious Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) destabilised the politics of Europe. The Great French Revolution and Napoleon wars, followed by the social and political upheaval in Europe, two world wars, and the confrontation of social and political systems after the II World War as well as the limitations in the international travels of people due to the passport-visa system, hindered the pilgrimage movement significantly. Such phenomena were not conductive to the revival of the tradition of pilgrimage to the grave of St. James. The post-war integration processes in Europe and the Conference of Safety and Cooperation in Europe held in 1975 initiated the process of political détente in Europe and the world. The conditions were created for reviving the tradition of pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela.
3See B. Frale. Templariusze, Wydawnictwo Świat Książki, Warszawa 2008.
4See J.B. Szlaga, Biblijna idea pielgrzymowania(w:) Drogi św. Jakuba na obszarze krajów południowego wybrzeża Bałtyku, praca zbiorowa, Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna, Lębork 2010. S. 11-17
1.6. What are the reasons for the present revival of the pilgrimage movement?
Santiago de Compostela is travelled to individually or in small groups―on foot, by bike or on horseback. Nobody asks people about their denomination on the route. The first thing to do is to get the credencial del peregrine―the passport of a pilgrim. The passport makes it easier to find accommodation, offers discounts, and confirms the covered route. The passport has pages for appending stamps in visited places, e.g. hostels, post offices, agencies or local parishes. The minimum distance is 100 km on foot or 200 km by bike or on horseback. The way can be taken with breaks, even during several years. Those who fulfil such conditions and display the passport of a pilgrim at the cathedral office with required confirmation are given the above-mentioned compostela.
The Pope John Paul II contributed to the revival of the pilgrimage tradition to Santiago de Compostela. He visited Santiago de Compostela twice, and once even went along a short section of the Way of St. James. After his visit in 1982 and a call to revive the tradition of pilgrimages to the tomb of St. James, the Council of Europe recognised the Way of St. James as the route of special importance for the culture of the European continent and appealed for the restoration and maintenance of former pilgrimage routes. In 1987, the route was declared by the European Union as the first European Cultural Route. In 1986, Santiago de Compostela was the first city to receive the title of the European Capital of Culture and in 1993 the Way of St. James was entered in the UN ‘World Heritage List’ of Culture, Science and Education. In 2010, the Sanctuary of St. James was visited by Pope Benedict XVI5.
The above-mentioned facts show the international recognition of the historic tradition and a very important role of the Route of St. James as the factor that contributes to the development of the cultural community of Europe and the formation of the social-economic cohesion of the continent6. Travelling along the Way of St. James helps to build the sense of community among people. ‘Only those, who can be moved, should visit Compostela’, wrote the Spanish writer, the winner of the prestigious Cervantes award, Gonzolo Tarrante Ballster (1910-1999).
5See B. Mazur, Przewodnik pielgrzyma, Wydawnictwo Publicat, Poznań 2011, s. 140-148
6See A. Jackowski,Szlaki pielgrzymkowe Europy, Wydawnictwo Znak. Kraków 2000
1.7. What requirements should be fulfilled by a good product of pilgrimage tourism?
- people, and,
As regards the Way of St. James, the marketing product is the offer of pilgrimage tourism dedicated to tourists (including pilgrims) who have specific needs related to tourism as such and special requirements due to religious aspects. In case of pilgrimage, the object of promotion is the product in the spatial sense, as the route in the areas, regions, and places the pilgrim will move through.
In this case, promotion should be understood as promoting the advantages of specific regions, which enhances the positive image that will attract tourists. Promotion involves the presentation of historic, cultural, natural and social-economic values of a region and taking measures that emphasize its attractiveness for potential tourists. Therefore, a tourism product is a set of goods and services used by tourists. Such goods and services should be of particular interest for them. In a narrow sense, a tourism product is everything a tourist buys during pilgrimage. The narrow concept developed with elements related to the sphere of sensations and feelings of a tourist creates the comprehensive concept of a tourism product. The sales opportunities of a tourism product are determined by the following factors:
- the resources of cultural and natural heritage in the region,
- the infrastructure and services available in the region,
- the transport accessibility of the region,
- the image and perception of the region, and,
- the price competitiveness of the region.
- religious monuments made available mostly for tourist and including relevant information,
- the present sites of religious worship, such as churches and sanctuaries, and
- regular or one-off religious events organised exclusively within a religious tradition or on special occasions (beatification, canonization or jubilee celebrations).
Entities involved in the promotion of the region that is crossed by the pilgrimage route include not only professional enterprises that deliver finished market products but also state and local government administration, municipal companies, territorial communities, non-profit organizations, social organizations, associations, and individuals.
The special role in the promotion of pilgrimage tourism is played in the Catholic Church by parishes, which stimulate the interest of parishioners in pilgrimages, thus developing the scope of promotional activities in the direct contact with a pilgrim. They include mostly sites of religious worship as very important for tourism, affecting the motivations of pilgrimages, their forms and programmes8. 7See P. Kotler, Marketing, Rebis Dom Wydawniczy, Poznań 2012
8See A. Panasiuk, Dylematy promocji produktu turystyki religijnej, Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego, nr 65, Szczecin, s. 361-370
1.8. What should the effective promotion of the Route of St. James be like?
- sales promotion,
- public relations,
- direct marketing,
- word-of-mouth / virus marketing, and
- loyalty programmes.
Advertising is the mass, impersonal, and paid method of presenting products by a specific author. In this case the promotion may concern the route itself, i.e. the Way of St. James, as well as all the attractions that may be encountered thereon, such as religious and national monuments, natural features of historic importance, reserves and national parks, museums, festivals, fairs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc. A downside of using this instrument is the necessity to incur specific costs. The highest outlays are involved in television commercials, while lowest in radio, press or Internet advertisements.
Another instrument is the sales promotion, which means a short-term action involving different methods aimed at increasing the volume of sales. Such activities may be recommended mostly to entrepreneurs who offer specific products to pilgrims, e.g. souvenirs, regional products, etc. The oldest and also the strongest promotional instrument is personal sale. It involves the direct presentation of an offer by a seller to a potential buyer and the application of all forms of direct interpersonal contacts.
The nature of public relations activities can be described as the planned and systematic campaign dedicated to building and maintaining mutual understanding and trust between the organization and its environment. It consists in creating, strengthening, and expanding the positive image of a region. Forming positive opinions about an organization / venture / project (in this case the Way of St. James) is, importantly, free of charge. Such an activity is targeted at opinion-forming circles, i.e. journalists, artists, politicians, and other known figures of public life.
Direct marketing is another instrument of promotion that may be recommended to all organizations that participate in activating the pilgrimage movements along the Way of St. James in order to achieve the set goals. Activities carried out within direct marketing involve the establishment and using direct relationships to communicate with potential buyers. For this purpose, mailing or e-mailing can be used and telemarketing can be applied. In addition, catalogues or other informative materials can be sent to potential buyers and the social media can be taken advantage of.
In case of services where a client meets a product directly, an important role is played by word-of-the mouth marketing / verbal communication / virus marketing / grapevine (Word of Mouth – WOM). Recommendations, especially those given by priests, family, friends, acquaintances or people we know, are a strong motivational instrument, although their range is relatively limited. However, their use can be extended with Internet. If a person who has gone on the pilgrimage along a selected section or sections of the Way of St. James recommends it to others, they have a certain and reliable source of information about the route.
Loyalty programmes are another tool used in marketing communication. Their objective is to maintain present customers, keep partnership relationships with them, and encourage them to use the offered product again. Such activities are also aimed at building databases of clients, which are useful in creating the customer relationship management systems. In the case of the Way of St. James, one could create a group of ‘friends’ or ‘ambassadors’ of the route, who could propagate the idea of the Way of St. James (word-of-mouth marketing), keep blogs, and place information in social media or e-mails, thus encouraging others to make pilgrimage and enlarging the group of followers of this route. Such persons should certainly have access to the most important information related to the operation of the Way of St. James.
The Way of St. James leads from Lithuania through the Kaliningrad Oblast, across the northern part of Poland and next through Germany, Belgium, and France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The Pomeranian Way of St. James begins at the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast (the town of Braniewo can be recognised as its beginning) and ends in Świnoujście. The route in Europe, including Poland, has numerous separate connected sections of ways, which usually originated as a result of local initiatives. The largest concentration of the Ways of St. James is in the south of Poland, especially in Dolnośląskie Voivodeship. On the other hand, the eastern part of Poland is completely devoid of the route. The list in Table 2 shows the origins of consecutive sections of the Way of St. James in Poland.
The Pomorska Way of St. James is the extension of the eastern road Via Baltica and is the farthest north pilgrimage route. Some alternative roads and loops have been constructed along it, for example the Sianowo–Sierakowice loop, which is connected to the Lęborska Way. Almost the whole Pomorska Way of St. James goes across the area that became the territory of Poland after 1945 and is inhabited mostly by incoming population. Kashubia makes the exception, inhabited mostly by the Kashubian people, who nurture and develop their cultural tradition, including the Kashubian language. For all sections of the Pomeranian Way of St. James, which encompasses the extremely variegated area in terms of its cultural-religious and natural resources, the Lęborski Route may be an excellent example of implementing the idea of pilgrimage. The Lęborska Way of St. James is about 100 km long. As the pilot project, it constitutes a model that, with some modifications depending on local conditionings, may be copied by other centres interested in reviving the tradition of the Way of St. James.
Grass-root initiatives are very important for the promotion of the Way, including the support of local civil and church authorities. What is most important, however, is the involvement of local communities, in particular volunteers. It is worth remembering that pilgrimage is not the typical tourist activity and one cannot expect that profit-motivated tour operators will become permanently involved in rendering services for the users of the Way. People often travel alone or in small groups; therefore, the assistance of volunteers and local communities is necessary. They and local tour guides may aid pilgrims in reaching the sites of religious worship, tell them about their origin and history and show the monuments of material culture, hand down the tradition, tales and legends related to specific places, draw the attention of pilgrims to highlights from the world of nature in the region and take them to interesting persons who live in the neighbourhood, such as local artists or representatives of rare and vanishing crafts. Finally, they should care for the created Way of St. James, its visual quality and signs and should create the friendly atmosphere that will make pilgrims propagate the positive opinion about the place, thus encouraging their relatives and friends to go on the pilgrimage along the Pomeranian Way of St. James.
Both religious and national monuments and natural features of historic importance encountered along the Pomeranian Way of St. James can make the pilgrimage an unforgettable spiritual experience and provide numerous aesthetic impressions and help one meet people, their tradition, customs, and culture. While monuments, both religious and national, can be learnt about in guidebooks, on websites, and from other sources, meeting people and their customs is not that simple. Therefore, making the local communities involved in this aspect cannot be overestimated. However, it has to be noted and remembered that some pilgrims do not need assistance of others, because they prepare carefully the plan of their trip and know in advance what, where, and when they want to see. They want to think of certain things alone, in peace and concentration, and be dedicated to their internal experiences. On the other hand, it is worth realising that there are others who do not plan their journeys in detail, because they enjoy the element of uncertainty, surprise and improvised situations, as they value the possibility of contacts with other people. For such users of pilgrimage routes the assistance of volunteers will prove useful. It is also noteworthy that the aid of volunteers is invaluable as regards the elderly or persons with disabilities, who go on pilgrimage.
Local communities play a crucial role in promoting a region and making the project of reviving the Way of St. James as the cultural route a success. As the ambassadors of their region, persons involved in the service of the route need to have large knowledge both of religious and national monuments as well as the natural environment, on-going events in the region (theatre plays, concerts, exhibitions, tournaments, etc.), people of interest and any curios phenomena. Finally, local communities are responsible for caring for the pilgrimage route, its visual aspects and the condition of signs and for creating pilgrim-friendly atmosphere.
9Praca zbiorowa, Turystyka. Zarys wykładu, Fundacja Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego, Szczecin 20014, s. 155-186