The Pilgrim Journey A History of Pilgrimage in the Western World

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-05-17
  • Publisher: BlueBridge

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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.

Author Biography

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

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