Tuesday, September 15, 2015



A basic pilgrim shelter was first established in the ruins of San Antonin in 2002 but due to lack of volunteers was often closed.  In 2006 Julian Campo and Jose Santiago, hospitaleros and well known personalities in Castrojeriz, were killed in a train accident on their way home from walking the Camino Portuguese.  Julian's brother, Ovidio Campo who owns a hotel in Castrojeriz, restored and improved the old shelter in their honour.

The monastery hospital of San Anton was run by French Antoine monks who had similar monastery hospitals in France and Italy.  They were places of healing where people suffering from the medieval disease known as San Anthony's Fire, were sent to be cured.

San Anthony's Fire was a disease caused mainly by eating mouldy rye.  In times of famine, poor people would eat the mouldy cereals and develop ergotism which led to the sufferers going berserk and caused gangrene of the hands and feet due to constriction of blood supply to the extremities. Many were healed at San Anton and miracles were attributed to the Saint.  Good food, lots of sunshine and care might also have had something to do with their recovery!

In Spain San Anton is always seen with a piglet.  He was a lover of animals and once a year, San Anton's day celebrates animals, much like Saint Francis in Italy. 
At San Anton the donations are placed in a Piggy Bank. 

The medieval Gothic builders must have had a sense of humour because the added a piglet in stone to one of the high arches on the inside of the cathedral.  When we show people they are delighted when they manage to spot the little stone pig high up near the top of the ruin.

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