H.B. Patriarch Gregorios III’s
Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
With the Order of Saint Lazarus
May 20-24, 2010
Arriving in Santiago on 20 May 2010, His Beatitude went to the Parador Hotel to prepare for meeting members of the Saint Lazarus Order, of which he is the Spiritual Protector. Accompanying His Beatitude for his stay was Archimandrite Mtanios Haddad, Patriarchal Apocrisary in Rome and Archimandrite Gabriel Ghanoum, who arrived on 21 May from Mexico, together with Deacon Naji Youssef and his family from the United States.
On the first afternoon, His Beatitude and Father Mtanios made a private visit to the Cathedral to venerate the tomb of the apostle, who reputedly evangelized Galicia and requested that after his death, his body be transported from Jerusalem to the region of his apostolic activity.
On 21 May, His Beatitude and other pilgrims were taken on a tour of the cathedral museum and roof, whence it is possible to survey the whole town which since the ninth century has grown up around the tomb.
The pilgrims were then formally welcomed by the Grand Master and Chevalier Joaquín Cayuela representing the Grand Priory of Spain at a reception in the former chapel of the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, founded on the order of the sovereign in the fifteenth century for the purpose of sheltering the pilgrims arriving from various routes by sea and land. Some forty-two heads of jurisdictions had gathered from around the world to discuss the Order’s plans for its charitable work.
On 22 May, some members of the Order walked the final stage of the pilgrim road from Monte de Gozo before attending a Pilgrims’ Mass in the Cathedral, at which His Beatitude and Melkite clergy concelebrated with the Dean of the Cathedral, Rev. José María Díaz Fernández (in the absence of the Archbishop). The Dean in his sermon spoke admiringly of the role of the Eastern Churches and the Melkite Church, especially the late Patriarch Maximos IV, whom he met during the Second Vatican Council. His Beatitude was given the honor of putting incense into the botafumeiro swung over the heads of the congregation at the end of the Mass.
Later that day, His Beatitude with the Grand Master, Don Carlos Gereda de Borbón, Marqués de Almazán, presided over an investiture ceremony at San Martín Pinario seminary. A celebratory dinner for over four hundred members of the Order and their guests was afterwards held in the refectory of the monastery.
On Sunday, 23 May, the Feast of Pentecost, His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios, with concelebrants Fathers Mtanios and Gabriel at the altar and Deacon Naji and family leading the people’s chanted responses, celebrated (in six languages) a pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Church of San Fructuoso, which was packed with members of the Saint Lazarus Order and their guests. In his role as Spiritual Protector of the Order, His Beatitude preached a sermon to encourage members of the Order to live out their solidarity with Jerusalem in a spiritual and practical way. (See full text)
His Beatitude left Spain for Lebanon on 24 May at the end of this memorable and moving Jubilee Year visit to Santiago de Compostela.