The Credencial or Camino pilgrim passport is the modern-day version of the ‘documents of safe conduct’ given to medieval pilgrims.
This Credencial will be proof that you have walked at least the last 100kms into Santiago necessary to obtain your Compostela certificate, the official testament to your journey. You can get your Pilgrim Passport at the start of your route, from your local St James Society or from many establishments such as shops and churches along the Camino.
If you are travelling with CaminoWays.com, don’t worry, your holiday pack includes the official credencial issued by Santiago Cathedral.
If you start your Camino in Galicia you will need to collect at least two stamps per day on your way to Santiago (at least for the last 100kms). If you start from outside Galicia you will only need one stamp per day.
Once in Santiago de Compostela, you must show your stamped Pilgrim Passport at the Pilgrims Office to apply for your Compostela certificate and any other pilgrim certificate you might want to receive. You must also keep space for the final stamp of the Cathedral on arrival in Santiago.
The Credencial has panels with boxes where you can collect the different stamps along the way. These are usually collected by pilgrims in the place where they sleep such as an albergue or hotel but they can also be obtained in churches, town halls and many other places along the Camino routes to Santiago.
Correos, the Spanish postal service, has special Camino stamps available to pilgrims in many post offices along the Camino de Santiago, including the post office in Rua do Franco, Santiago de Compostela.
The Credencial issued by Santiago Cathedral and the Confraternities of St James around the world also include simple guidelines on how to use the pilgrim passport:
- This Credencial is intended for those pilgrims who’d like to walk, go on horseback, cycle or travel by boat and then complete the last few kms on foot, and take the pilgrimage to Santiago.
- The Credencial has two practical purposes: admission to hostels offering Christian hospitality along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.
- The Compostela is issued to those who have made the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation: devotonis affectul vel voti pietatis causa – motivated by devotion, a vow or piety.
- The Compostela is also issued to those who arrive at the Tomb of the Apostle having travelled the last 100kms on foot or on horseback; the last 200kms by bike or 100 nautical miles by boat and finishing the last few kms on foot.
- Organised groups with a support vehicle or on bicycles are asked to find alternative accommodation from pilgrim hostels, albergues.
- The bearer of the Credencial accepts these conditions.
Pilgrim Blessing – printed on the back of the Credencial you will find a Pilgrim Blessing:
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, receive this rucksack, the habit of your pilgrimage, so that, having atoned, you hasten to prostrate yourself at Saint James’ feet, where you yearn to arrive and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the help of God, who rules over the world without end. Amen.
Receive this staff as support for the journey and your efforts during your pilgrimage so that you are able to overcome the hoards of enemies and thus arrive safely at Saint James’ feet and, after having completed your journey, you come to us joyful with the assent of the same God, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
(Codex Calixtinus Sermón “Veneranda dies” Li, 17 Century)
Pilgrim Prayer – printed on the map in the Credencial you will also find a Pilgrim’s Prayer:
St James, Apostle, chosen among the first, you were the first to drink the cup of the Master and you are the great protector of pilgrims. Make us strong in faith and happy in hope on our pilgrim journey, following the path of Christian life, and sustain us so that we may finally reach the glory of God the Father. Amen
You can obtain it from the Confraternities of Santiago, or from approved Associations in Spain and from other countries.
If you are travelling with CaminoWays.com we will provide you with your pilgrim passport as part of your Holiday pack. This will allow you to collect your stamps along the way and request your Compostela in Santiago.
For more information about the Camino de Santiago or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists