Saint James Matamoros




Saint James the Moor-slayer (SpanishSantiago Matamoros) is the name given to the representation (painting, sculpture, etc.) of the apostle James, son of Zebedee as a legendary, miraculous figure who appeared at the also legendary Battle of Clavijo, helping the Christians conquer the Muslim Moors.

The story was invented centuries after the alleged battle was supposed to have taken place.[1][2] “Matamoros” is not a name nor an advocation of the saint. Aspects of the historical Battle of Monte Laturce (859) were incorporated into this legend of the battle of Clavijo, as Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz demonstrated in 1948.[3] Historian Jean Mitchell-Lanham says: “While this event is based on legend, the supposed battle has provided one of the strongest ideological icons in the Spanish national identity.”[4]

In the 17th century, followers of his cult (Santiaguistas) proposed the patronage of Spain under his name, in contrast to those who favored Teresa of Ávila. The Santiaguistas overcame and won this religious debate, naming him the Patron Saint of Spain, until November 1760 when Pope Clement XIII rescinded this honor and officially declared the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of Spain as a country, and installed the historical apostle James as patron of the Spaniards

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