For mange pilgrimme har det store røgelseskar, der er navngivet, Botafumerio, i katedralen i Santiago en helt særlig betydning ved afslutningen af deres pilgrimsfærd.
Nogle gange finder jeg små historier på andre hjemmesider, som jeg mener er så sjove, interessante eller direkte inforamrende, at jeg gerne vil dele dem ud her på www.jakobsvejen.dk.: Her kommer en ode til"ære" for det store røgelseskar i katedralen i Santiago, som stort set alle pilgrimme, der kommer ind til Santiago efter endt pilgrimsfærd, ser svinge frem og tilbage, så man næsten føler, at det ryger ud gennem tårnet. For nogle pilgrimme - og især mange turister - er det et særligt højdepunkt ved besøget i Santiago. Oden her er taget fra en engelsksproget hjemmeside: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/ (forfattern er ukendt).
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The iron shovel clanked against the stone floor as the scarlet robed tiraboleiro bent and filled it with chunks of ebony coal. Again and again, the shovel scraped until 40 kilograms of dark rock filled the silver thurible, or incense burner. Also known as a censer, the empty container was the size and weight of a small man curled into the fetal position. Filled with coal, it took eight of Santiago de Compostela’s strongest Spanish men gripping the knotted ends of heavy ropes to lift it.
The tiraboleiro reached into his black velvet bag and withdrew half a handful of resin pellets. Frankincense and myrrh, precious scents used to honor the magi’s gifts to baby Jesus, pinged as they fell between the coals. Frankincense, more valuable than even gold, offered a priceless gift for the newborn king. Myrrh, however, was used to embalm bodies and symbolically foretold the death of the Savior. Still used two thousand years later, the resin crackled as the tiraboleiro lit the spices with a candle flame. A low fire sizzled among the coals and the first heady scents enveloped the altar a few feet in front of me.
Burning embers gave off a warm, woody scent, though not nearly enough to cover the fetid odor of pilgrims gathered in the cathedral. The crowd had walked eight hundred kilometers over many weeks to pay homage to the bones of St. James, apostle of Jesus. They arrived in the cathedral sweaty and unkempt, trusting their souls would be cleansed by the grace of God, even if their bodies were not.
The priest finished the sacrament of communion, covered the ornate chalice with an embroidered cloth and deftly nodded at the men. In unison, the eight pulled the heavy ropes straight down to the stone and I could hear the rustle of their crimson cassocks mixed with the sharp inhale of their exertion. The censer dropped heavily and the tiraboleiro pulled in unison again. The dry, heavy rope squeaked as it ran through the pulley far above my head in the cathedral’s dome. The silver vessel plunged and then picked up momentum. As it fell, it looked as though the censer would strike the tiraboleiros and kill them. But they pulled in unison again and it swung faster and faster, building a steady rhythm. Suddenly, it took off on a trajectory of its own and swayed in an enormous arc. The whoosh of the breeze caressed my face as it swung and I heard snaps as oxygen fed the embers and flames exploded. Down, almost to the floor, until the eight pulled yet again at the last instant and rescued it from crashing to earth. Up it swung to the ceiling, roaring to life as the pellets caught fire and burst into billows of white smoke.
The Psalmist King David wrote “Let my prayer rise like incense.” I heard murmurs around me and, like David’s prayers, the pilgrims’ words co-mingled with the sweet smoke on their way to heaven. The frankincense and myrrh filled the vastness with a pungent, woody odor.
They say the censer flew out the highest window while Catherine of Aragon celebrated mass on her way to marry Henry VIII. I can imagine the shattering glass and screams of the congregation as the tiraboleiros fell to the floor, suddenly devoid of their earthly weight. I wonder if Catherine’s prayers also flew out the high window that day, an omen of her doomed marriage.
I like to think my own prayers rose on the momentum of the heavenward smoke, grateful for a little extra boost!