The Puerta Santa, or the Holy Door, is open.  On the 13th of March 2015, Pope Francis surprised the world when he announced the Jubilee de Miscericordia, or Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, for the year 2016.

Pope Francis declared the start of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on the 8 December 2015, from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; until the 20th November 2016 – the Feast of the Christ of King. This Jubilee is an “extraordinary” one because it was not predetermined in advance; usually Jubilees take place every 25 years and the last was in the year 2000. The focus of the Jubilee of Mercy is a period of forgiveness and mercy for all.

It is unclear as to why Pope Francis declared the Jubilee of Mercy for 2016; however he stated, “the Holy Door will become a door of mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.”

Here in Santiago de Compostela, whenever St James’ Day, 25th of July, falls on a Sunday, the Cathedral declares a Holy Year. Holy Years are rare and normally happen every 6, 5, 6, and 11 years. The most recent Holy Years for St James were 1982, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2010. The next Holy Years will be 2021, 2027 and 2032. This is when the Holy Door of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is normally open.

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is the third time the Holy Door in Santiago has been opened, other than within the designated Holy Years, since the start of the 19th Century. In 1885, the door was opened following the further discovery of the remains of Saint James. In 1937, the door remained open for a second year, following a Holy Year, in hopes it would bring an end to the Spanish Civil War.

The Holy Door was opened in Santiago for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year on the 15th of December 2015 by the Archbishop of Santiago, Julian Barrio. Also in attendance was the Minister of Culture, Inigo Mendez de Vigo. Following a procession inside the Cathedral, the door was opened with a special key. The Holy Door will be open until November 2016; and then not again until the next Holy Year in 2021.

The Puerta Santa is located off the Plaza de la Quintana; which is located in the back of the Cathedral. Whether you walk the Camino de Santiago or are just here for a visit, be sure to get a glimpse or even walk through the Holy Door.

The Cathedral is open 7 AM – 8:30 PM.

Official website of the Cathedral in Santiago

La catedral abre hoy con una llave su Puerta Santa por el Jubileo de la Misericordia. (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2016, from
Proclaiming the Holy Year at the Holy Door. (2015). Retrieved February 27, 2016, from
The Confraternity of Saint James. (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2016, from