Compostela enjoys a singular privilege that was first granted around the year 1122. It is mentioned in another papal bull of 1179, which still exists: Pope Alexander III’s Regis aeterni, which confirms the privilege granted to the Cathedral by Pope Callistus II (1118-1124). Two of his brothers, Raymond and Henry of Burgundy, were married to daughters of King Alfonso VI, Urraca and Teresa, heirs to the territories of Galicia and Portugal. This served to further strengthen the solid links between the Compostela see and the Papacy, which were clearly demonstrated by Callistus II and King Alfonso VI’s promotion of the Jacobean pilgrimage.
Thanks to the granted privilege, which was confirmed by Alexander III, during the year in which July 25th, St. James’ Day, falls on a Sunday, the grace of the Jubilee may be obtained in the Church of Compostela.
Holy Years thus take place with apparent irregularity, separated by intervals of six, five, six and eleven years. The last Holy Years in the 20th century where 1993 and 1999. The first ones of the 21st century will be 2004, 2010 and 2021.
During the Jubilee Year, the Church institutes a special period of grace in which it is possible to obtain plenary indulgence for the forgiveness of any sins committed. The conditions for obtaining the Jubilee are:
1) Visiting the Cathedral of Santiago, where St. James the Greater’s Tomb is housed.
2) Saying some prayers (at least the Creed, Our Father and praying for the Pope’s will.) Attending Holy Mass is also recommended.
3) Receiving the sacraments of penance (during the fortnight before or after) and communion.