King asks patron saint for guidance in economic crisis as Spain marks Holy Year
King Juan Carlos on Sunday asked Spain's patron saint to lead the country out of its severe economic crisis, as the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela celebrated its Holy Year, dpa reported.
The king was attending a special service in the city's cathedral with Queen Sofia as part of the pinnacle of the Holy Year, which only occurs when St. James' Day - July 25 - falls on a Sunday.
Dozens of bishops and archbishops from all of Spain also attended the ceremony in the north-western Spanish city.
Juan Carlos additionally asked St. James for an end to "the barbarism of terrorism" and for his own personal recovery. The 72- year-old monarch had a small, benign tumor removed from his right lung in May.
Santiago de Compostela is a destination every year for tens of thousands of pilgrims who follow the more than 1,000-year-old St James' Way to the cathedral, where legend says the apostle is buried. Some 114,000 pilgrims have already been counted this year.
According to church tradition, all Catholics who undertake the pilgrimage to St James' burial site and confess their sins during a Holy Year will have them pardoned.
Many visitors are also drawn to Santiago de Compostela by the extensive cultural programme surrounding the Holy Year, or Xacobeo, celebration.