Way of St. James
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A MIÑA VIAXE
On a small knoll on the banks of the River Lérez stands the Monasterio de San Salvador de Lérez (Monastery of Saint Salvador of Lérez). It includes a small chapel to San Benito (Saint Benedict), the miracle-working saint who is believed to be able to cure skin conditions, especially warts and pustules. Pilgrims come here to attend one of the continuous masses held in the morning, approach the copper pot where miracle oil is burned to get some or spread it on themselves right there, and perform the ritual of passing under the saint’s altar to gain his blessings. The saint is given offerings of all types of food. This is then auctioned in a traditional ceremony in the afternoon in the church atrium. The attendees then confirm their faith, as the traditional song claims, that he is the most “miraculous” saint: Se vas a san Benitiño / non vaias ao de Paredes, / que hay outro máis milagreiro, / san Benitiño de Lérez (If you go to Benitiño / don’t go to the one in Paredes, / as there is another more miraculous,/ san Benitiño de Lérez). After a procession around the church, the pilgrims start the summer festival season in Pontevedra on the other bank of the river, in a really interesting natural riverside area called Os Salóns do Lérez (The Halls of Lérez), and polish off the huge amount of mussels and empanada pasties that the Town Council lays on.
The pilgrim tradition surrounding the copper pot of miracle oil. They fill up small jars with the oil or spread it on the affected area.
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