UNESCO registers the “Liber Sancti Iacobi” in the Memory of the World Register

The Xunta of Galicia wishes to express its satisfaction and celebrates UNESCO’s inclusion of the Codex Calixtinus in the Memory of the World Register, thus recognising its great value and significance. Following the recommendation of the International Consulting Committee, the medieval manuscript, which is kept in the archives of the Santiago Cathedral, is now part of this prestigious and vital list containing the most important documentary sources in the history of mankind.

The initiative to achieve its inclusion sprang from the Xunta de Galicia, which took over the proposal formulated by the International Committee of Experts in the Way of St James, and submitted it to a vote at the Jacobean Council held in Santiago de Compostela in December 2015, coinciding with the opening of the Jubilee of Mercy. This possibility was then evaluated by Spain’s other regions and by the institutions present in this organisation, presided by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Mr Íñigo Méndez de Vigo. His department, in concert with the General Office for Culture, was responsible for processing the application through the Sub-Directorate General for State Archives, part of the Directorate General for Fine Arts and Cultural Property, Archives, Libraries and Museums.

The inclusion of the Liber Sancti Iacobi in the Memory of the World Register underscores UNESCO’s appreciation of its value and significance, and shows that its relevance transcends the bounds of time and culture, and that it must thus be preserved for current and future generations and be shared will all the peoples in the world. This thus protects and raises awareness of the Codex and deepens the universal value of Jacobean heritage.

Eyewitness to Medieval Europe

Along with the Codex Calixtinus, UNESCO also recognises the medieval copies stored in the libraries and archives of Spain and Portugal. In fact, the full name of the proposal was The Codex Calixtinus of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and other medieval copies of the Liber Sancti Jacobi: The Iberian origins of the Jacobian tradition in Europe, as proof of the importance that all of these documents containing the written tradition of the cult of St James and the Way of St James had in medieval Europe.

The Memory of the World programme is one of UNESCO’s three complementary initiatives that seek to protect and raise awareness of the world’s cultural heritage. The other two are the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, of which the World Heritage List is a part, and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Galicia thus expands its catalogue of properties in these programmes, which already included the historic city of Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Francés, the Walls of Lugo, the Tower of Hercules in A Coruña, the Camino Primitivo and the Camino del Norte, as well as the various sites along the aforementioned routes of St James, such as the cathedrals of Lugo and Mondoñedo and the Monastery of Santa María de Sobrado.

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