Just Too Cool: the stolen “Codex Calixtinus” found in a garage

Remember THIS?

From Vatican Insider:

This is not another one of Dan Brown’s mysteries but the unravelling of a story that seem to go way beyond any creative fiction. Finally, after one year of investigations, police found the stolen “Codex Calixtinus” in a garage in Milladoiro, Galicia, near Santiago de Compostela, in Northern Spain.

Spanish police arrested four people yesterday: an electrician, his wife, their son and the son’s partner. The investigations are being focused on a former technician who had worked at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral for 25 years before getting himself fired for forging a work related document. His poor relations with the Cathedral’s dean, José María Díaz, led investigators to this conclusion.

The “Codex Calixtinus” (whose value is hard to estimate in economic terms) is a jewel of XII century literature, a precious source of information on the customs and mentality of Medieval Europe. This is because it is a collection of sacred texts and canticles that are typical of the Santiago liturgy. It also contains a description of the journey of the saint’s relics from Jerusalem to Galicia and the Chronicle of Turpine, which describes the death of Roland and the twelve peers.

History Blog has more.  See there the fantastic hi-res image.

I still would like to to part or all of the Camino.  Perhaps for my 25th?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Random Friar says:

    Where there’s a will, there’s a Way.

  2. JLCG says:

    The story is much richer. The alleged thief had one million and a quarter euros in his home, he had purchased numerous residences including one for his son. Apparently he had been stealing funds from the cathedral for a long time and absconding works of art that the he sold.
    What this shows is what the bureaucratization of the clergy does. The clergy is in charge of the cathedral but they really have no interest on it.. It is a way of living. The thefts had been going on for years.
    The people contribute funds constantly and obviously the clergy does not care much about them since they are stolen and the clergy is unawares. We are aware of that which we love and appreciate
    There is much more in our church than worrying about homosexuality or the use of Latin encompasses.

  3. BaedaBenedictus says:


    What say you about an El Camino Blogrimage for your 25th?

    [I love the idea. And I love the neologism. I will now assimilate it and add it’s distinctive to my own.]

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    What the heck does an untrustworthy handyman have to do with the bureaucratization of the clergy? People steal. People who are insiders can be very good at stealing. And a place that is one of the attics of Christendom has plenty of stuff that’s stealable, put away carefully where it’s hard to tell if anything goes missing.

    If a box were missing from your attic or your garage, when would you find out? How many boxes could somebody steal over the course of years without it being noticed, especially if they removed contents and left the containers in place? If it were being stolen by the person who puts stuff out for the trash, how would you tell that apart from doing his job?

    The way to keep librarians from stealing books is to hire honest librarians. The way to solve museum theft by insiders is to hire honest curators. Whenever virtue fails in responsible insiders, security is not going to help you much.

  5. Traductora says:

    Do the whole thing, starting at Roncesvalles or St Jean Pied de Porte, in Le Puy. Warning: St Jean is a the foot of the mountains, so your first day will be straight up hill. Roncesvalles is at the top of the mountains, and gives you a much better first day. Also, it’s a beautiful, non-commercial place.

    The Camino takes about five weeks at a slow to moderate pace. I think it’s best done alone, because then you meet people and get outside of your normal “zone.”

    That said, I’m in Spain now to go back on the Camino as an Hospitalera, one of the people who takes care of the pilgrim hostels, tries to solve problems, etc.

    Getting back to the Codex, the dean (who identified it because he had written on the inside cover!) said perhaps they treated it in a way that was too familiar. As for the person who stole it, they had suspected him of stealing in the past, but I think the fact that he went to mass every day and led the rosary and other devotions probably made them either careless or reluctant to believe that he could have done this (although he was apparently the main suspect since the very beginning).

  6. JLCG says:

    @ Suburban.
    Naturally I would not find anything that was missing from my garage. I grant you that I am incompetent.
    But the fury in the Spanish press is palpable. The incompetence of the religious authorities is immense. Sloth is like lust a sin.

  7. Volanges says:

    Since watching “The Way” last week, I now want to walk it too, all of the French Way. I’m trying to find someone who might do so with me. I’m planning to go to Europe for the first time next summer. Husband has been there a couple of times and is not interested in a laid back backpacking trip so my friend and I are going. Now I’m trying to convince her that if we do that successfully we can return in a few years and do the Camino.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    It is very hard to walk the Camino, as friends of mine and family have told me in the past. I would love to join a group and tried to get one together for this year, but too many people could not get away for the 33 days it takes most people. Father Z, when is your 25th? I shall go with, but I would need to start getting in shape now. For me, the hardest part would be the student or pilgrim hostels. Little food, heat, sore feet and legs, sore knees–no problem. Hostels=problem

    As to the codex, how absolutely beautiful. Sad that someone would stoop so low to take such a priceless item. Glad it was found. I can’t imagine putting anything into a garage…

  9. Supertradmum says:

    PS right now, it costs about one-thousand pounds, for food, water, hostels and pilgrim passports, not including excellent boots, gear, etc. That would be, today 1,548 American dollars, or 1,260 euros for the walk. Information is from one person I know who did it recently. Travelling to the starting point would be in addition to that. 1,000 pounds for 33 days in two countries would be considered good value. Gear would probably cost a lot, as one needs hot and cold weather jackets, rain gear, all the camping equipment and rucksack, etc. In the old days, even in the 1980s, it was a lot cheaper, as farmers would put people up, but places are more organized and therefore, more pricey. Most places do not have banks, so one must bring cash. Also, July and August are very crowded and the hostels fill up quickly; otherwise, one sleeps outside. Some hostels are only for pilgrims, so you have to buy the stamps or “passports”, which most people want for souvenirs anyway. Private places, like b and bs, as shown in the movie, are way more expensive. But, if it is raining hard, one might want such a place.

  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    It’s less money and time to travel a shorter portion of the Camino, making sure to cover enough distance to get the handsome engraved certificate. My daughter did that one summer with a group of American students. She’s very fluent in Spanish, and although she’s rather shy ordinarily she becomes very voluble and animated in her second language, so she had a great time making friends all along the way – met some Hungarian Gypsies and a fellow who was traveling with a donkey ala RLS.
    If I could get hold of a good little Arab or Barb endurance horse, I’d do the whole thing . . . I’ve done a good deal of hiking on the AT but I prefer to ride if it’s a long haul. My seat is much more durable than my feet.

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m pleased to see that my old law enforcement instincts hadn’t deserted me when I pegged this thing as an inside job back at the time the theft was discovered.

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