Chickens in the Church


Monday, June 13, 2016
Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Day 13

What a change from Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada!

The cathedral was open for  business, and full of visitors there to see the famous cock  and hen, kept in a lovely coop high up on the cathedral wall. These are the only chickens in a church in Christendom, allowed to be there by a specific Papal ruling. The chickens are supposed to be the direct descendants of the original miraculous chickens. In this story, a cooked cock and hen sprang back to life, fully fledged, in order to prove the innocence of a falsely accused pilgrim.

Santo Domingo himself, who is buried in the cathedral, is a delightful saint. Turned away by two snobby monasteries who thought he was too stupid to be a monk, he dedicated his life to helping pilgrims and ended up with a town and cathedral named after him.

Although James was still not feeling well, we did walk half-way to Santo Domingo. While James slept in the afternoon, I explored the cathedral and a souvenir shop or two.  In the evening James and I returned to the cathedral for a guided tour.

The  guide was a very erudite gentleman who seemed to take delight in debunking some Christian myths. He pointed out what I already knew–from living in Portugal–that the story of the chicken(s) springing back to life is a common tale from many places in Europe. Santo Domingo de la Calzada has the distinction, though, of backing up the story by keeping chickens in the cathedral and by having had a pope give his backing to the miracle.

Steps Today: 21,976

Be sure to check out the additional photographs at June 13: Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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