THE PILGRIM RESORTS
The most important pilgrim resort have always been Palestine and Rome .
Several monographs on places of resorts for pilgrims were written between at the beginning of 8th century and later in the 12th and 13th century.
Many books describing the holy sites and the pilgrim resorts were later translated in the modern tongues in the 13th century and new books were written in mode 838e47i rn tongues by the French and the Germans between 13th and 15th century , books which became very popular.
These initiatives led to a steady increase of the number of pilgrims and as a result the old arrangement for accommodation became deficient and inadequate .
Consequently many new hospices arose , designated exclusively for pilgrims among which are very well known those on the Alpine passes .
Similarly the Mediterranean towns and Jerusalem in particular had their pilgrim refugees .
Services in these hospices were performed by the " hospital fraternities , association working under authorization of the Church.
The most important were the Hospitale hierosolymitanum founded in the 11th century, other association were formed to assist pilgrims as the order of St.John , the " Confrerie des pelerins de terre Sainte" .
Since the Middle Ages the Holy Land was no more held by a Christian Power and the protection of pilgrims became more important than their sustenance .
This fact led to the Crusades; the conquest of Jerusalem and the erection of a Christian empire in Palestine increased the number of pilgrims ; since the strongest motive in the pilgrimage was the acquisition of indulgences unnumbered thousands of pilgrims moved to the Holy Land .
The pilgrimage still proceeded also though in the 1187, the Holy City again fell into the hands
of the "infidel" .
Only after the "Reformation ,the wars of the 16th century and the loss of Rhodes, Candia and Cyprus to the Turks the situation was really altered : when Ignatius de Loyola left from Venice only some 13 pilgrims could be boarded on the ship while a considerable number abandoned the pilgrimage and returned home on the news of the fall of Rhodes .
The pilgrims used to made their journey in a grey cowl fastened by a belt , with a red cross on the cowl, they used to prepare for departure by confession and communion .
The pilgrims formed themselves in "Unions" and used to elect Master and conclude their agreements for the outward and return journey in common , travelling on ships belonging to the knights of St. John and to the Knights Templars.
Expenses for the journey to Palestine were quite high at that time for the ordinary pilgrims and were ,of course, much heavier for the princes and lords.
For the pilgrimage overseas the permission of the Church was still required.
Even if very high , the number of overseas pilgrims was yet far exceeded by the visitants to Rome mainly during the inauguration of the so called year of Jubilee.
Among the other pilgrim resorts the most important are St.James of Compostela located in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia -Spain), due to the supposed possession of the body of St. James , the son of Zebedee .
In England the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became the most favoured devotional resort.and in the 12th century it attained such popularity to be ranked on the same level as Rome or Jerusalem .
In France the most important pilgrim resort was St. Martin ,while also " Notre Dame de Chartres "
( with a portrait of the black Virgin) , and "Le Puy en Velay (in the region of Haute Loire) enjoyed considerable celebrity.
In Italy the church of Archangel on Mount Gargano was one of the most ancient centers of pilgrimage , but later the " Portiuncola" church in Assisi displaced all other resorts with the exception of Rome .
In the 15th century the shrine of the Holy House in Loreto became the most important pilgrim resort in Italy. The pilgrimage attained such importance that the popes in the Renaissance found themselves constrained to erect a pilgrim church above the " Holy House"
The significance of the pilgrimage for the religious life of later medievalism cannot be adequately estimated : the possession of any extraordinary relic was considered a sufficient claim for privileges and indulgences , and wherever this privileges existed pilgrims were gathered together , encouraged by the Church.
Anyway there were also many suspicions in their regards ,many pilgrims were actuated by dubious motives and many protests were made also by religious and even in a Synod against the exaggerations and superstitions which arose from the pilgrimage .
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