What is a Compostela Certificate?
Historically a Compostela certificate was a very valuable document. The so-called Cartas Probatorias (probatory letters) were gained as a means of penance. Returning home with a pilgrimage certificate indicated you had been relieved of your sins.
A document proving a virtuous life, therefore gaining you entry through the gates of heaven. Of course, a lucrative business of the time was producing false Compostela documents.
The current certificate
James the Apostle was given official status during the 9th and 10th centuries. Then reaching the tomb of St James in Santiago became the purpose of the Pilgrimage. The certificate is issued by the Catholic Church at the Pilgrim’s Office located in Santiago.
How to Achieve your Compostela Certificate today.
Walking a minimum of 100 km and completing 200 km on a bike or horseback finishing in Santiago is the criteria.
You carry a Pilgrims Credential/Passport and have it stamped daily. When walking the last 100km you must have it stamped twice per day. Stamps are available from many different places hotels, hostels, post offices, Churches and even some cafes.
There are two different types of certificate
When claiming your certificate you will state your motivation for completing Camino de Santiago. Declaring religious or spiritual reasons you receive the Latin Certificate, your name will be written in Latin. When declaring for historical or cultural reasons this one is written in Spanish. Both are a testament that you have done the Camino de Santiago.
Pilgrim mass announcement
An announcement at midday daily during the pilgrim mass will be made of countries and the number of arrivals from that country. If you were not recorded before midday you will be included in the list for the following day.
Other Certificates Available.
Fisterra and Muxia Certificate.
In the same way as the Compostela, you require two stamps per day as evidence of your journey along each stage. The Finisterre hostel or Muxía tourist office issues these certificates.