There are two ways of reaching Padrón’s Santiaguiño do Monte recreational area. The first of them is on foot, climbing up the 132 stairs that start very close to “Convento do Carme.” The second possibility is by car, taking the AC-299 road towards Rois, turning off to the left about 300 metres from the bridge of Santiago. There you will find a matchless setting for resting and leisure, since the area is equipped with tables, barbecues, fountains and a children’s playground ideal for enjoying as a family or with friends.
The chapel of Santiaguiño is located nearby. The date on which it was erected is unknown, but we know that Rodrigo de Luna promoted its reconstruction in the 15th century.
INSIDE THE CHAPEL
The chapel houses the tomb of the canon Gregorio. He was probably the builder of the church, since in the 15th century the name of Monte del Burgo was changed to Monte de San Gregorio, in honour of the canon from Iria that rebuilt the chapel with his own money and built houses for poor families, although he did not live to see his project completed. Until the church was remodelled in 1960, the tomb was located in the centre of the chapel.
This place was identified with the grotto where the Apostle James hid, and since the 15th century, it has been linked with the forgiveness of sins. This was where pilgrims, who came to visit the region where the Apostle preached almost 2,000 years ago, washed and drank.
According to popular tradition, the fountain resulted from a miracle by the Apostle, who made water come out of the rock by hitting it 3 times with his staff in order to quench a kind woman’s thirst.
The water is still collected on the eve of “San Xoán” (St. John’s Day) and mixed with herbs in order to purify and chase away evil spirits.
The figure of St. James on a base stands out at the centre of the series of 10 large batholiths. In front there are several carved crosses and an inscription that reads, according to some: “Alms for the apostle St. James the Greater,” and according to others, “Alms for Jesus and Mary.” Whatever the case, there must have been a peteo (shrine) beside it. In the rock at the top you can see a stone cross, which already existed in the 17th century.
In the 16th century, pilgrims climbed up to these rocks on their knees, praying on each of the stairs, and completed the rite by passing through them. According to popular belief, if you do not go up the stairs while alive, you will have to do so after death. Furthermore, each of the three openings is given a name: hell, heaven and purgatory.
Popular tradition attributes the formation of these holes to the Apostle, so that he could escape from those chasing him; the stone supposedly gave way so that St. James could hide his head and right arm there. But others claim that they are the hoof marks of his horse.