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Pilgrimage in the Western world is enjoying a growing popularity today, perhaps more so than at any time since the Middle Ages. Paths, trails, and roads once again greet spiritual travelers who seek out grand cathedrals and roadside chapels, mountain shrines and ancient abbeys, sacred wells and holy islands. Pilgrim destinations across Europe and in the Americas are visited as much for the physical journey they demand as for the spiritual power they radiate.
The Pilgrim Journey tells the fascinating story of sacred travel in the West: how pilgrimage was born and grew in antiquity, how it blossomed in the Middle Ages and faltered in subsequent centuries, only to reemerge stronger than before in modern times. It describes the pilgrim routes and sacred destinations past and present, the men and women making the journey, the many challenges of travel, and the spiritual motivations and rewards. And it explores the traditional stages of pilgrimage, from preparation, departure, and the time on the road, to the arrival at the shrine and the return home.
The Pilgrim Journey is both the colorful chronicle of numerous pilgrims of centuries past searching for heaven on earth and an illuminating guide for today's spiritual traveler.
James Harpur is a Cambridge-educated author who has published a number of books, including Love Burning in the Soul, Revelations: The Medieval World, The Gospel of Joseph of Arimathea, and The Atlas of Sacred Places. He is also an award-winning poet. A passionate walker and traveler to sacred sites, he lives in the west of Ireland.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 1. What is Pilgrimage? 5 2. Sacred Journeys in Ancient Times 11 3. Early Paths 21 4. The Age of Constantine 29 5. Celts and Anglo-Saxons 37 6. Decline and Revival 51 7. The New Millennium 59 8. Pilgrimage, Relics, and the Afterlife 65 9. On the Road 75 10. Rome 89 11. Santiago de Compostela 97 12. Canterbury 105 13. Jerusalem and the Holy Land 113 14. Changing Attitudes 119 15. From Reformation to Romanticism 125 16. Orthodox Pilgrimage 137 17. Modern Shrines 145 18. Sanctuaries in the Americas 161 19. Reviving the Past 169 Afterword 183
Notes 188 Bibliography 191 Index 196 Acknowledgments 202