Holy Year 2021 Extended to 2022
- A Holy Year falls in those years when Saint James’ Day of 25th July is a Sunday
- The Cathedral of Santiago’s magnificent Holy Door is Opened to all pilgrims
- The Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago is located in the Plaza de la Quintana and only opened during the Holy Years
- After 2022 the next Holy Years will be 2027 and 2032
- There are just 14 Holy Years every Century
The current Holy Year of 2021 has been extended to the end of 2022, as granted by The Pope. This dispensation has been allowed in consideration of the effects of the global pandemic and the interruption of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, all pilgrims who wish to obtain plenary indulgence (forgiveness for their sins) can have that granted during any day right up to the end of 2022. Achieving plenary indulgence is also known as the Jubilee. To do so, the pilgrims must comply with a number of requirements laid down by the Church such as visiting the Cathedral of Santiago, praying and receiving the Sacraments of Penance (Confession) and Communion.
A Holy Year heightens the experience of pilgrimage for Christians and is a date that is eagerly anticipated by pilgrims from across the world. The Caminos or Ways of St. James host additional events throughout the Holy Year, such as concerts, art exhibitions, conferences, talks, films, educational events, volunteering, gastronomy and much more.
The arrival of any pilgrim at the Cathedral of Santiago is always something special. But a Holy Year makes it even more so as the Holy Door is opened to the public.
The Holy Door grants a plenary indulgence to those who pass through it to enter the Church. Plenary indulgence means the absolution of all sins, following confession, receiving Holy Communion, recitation of the Creed as well as prayer for the Pope and for one's intentions.
The Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago is normally sealed and only opens during Holy Years, (of which there are just 14 each century). It is opened only during Compostela Holy Years, which are those years in which the feast of the Apostle Santiago (25 July) falls on a Sunday. This occurs in a five, six and eleven-year cycle.
The ancient ritual opening of the Holy Door is performed by the Archbishop of Compostela during the December preceding the Holy Year. This consists of striking and shattering a wall of slabs covering the Door, three times with a silver hammer. Then the Archbishop anoints the Door with holy water and olive branches, before crossing through to enter the Cathedral. The Holy Door will next close on 31 December 2022.
The Holy Door that we know today was built in the first half of the sixteenth century and can be found on the Plaza Quintana - to the righthand side of the main facade of the Cathedral. On entering the pilgrim crosses to the main altar, to the tomb of the Apostle and then to embrace the medieval statue of the Saint. This last is said to ensure your return to Compostela in the future and symbolises the momentous culmination of pilgrimage on the Camino.