to a holy place to seek supernatural assistance or to complete penance.
The practice of pilgrimage among Christians was encouraged in the fourth
century by Helena, the mother of Constantine.
Helena went to Jerusalem
to visit what were supposed to be sites associated with the life, death,
and resurrection of Jesus. Rome early
became another destination of pilgrims seeking to visit what was said to
be the tomb of Peter and Paul. The growth of devotion to martyrs and other
saints caused pilgrimages to increase. Other than Jerusalem and Rome, the
most famous place of pilgrimage in the middle ages was Santiago
de Compostela, where the relics of St. James, brother of the Lord, were
thought to reside. Trondheim in Norway is an example of a place of pilgrimage
in the far north of Christendom. The relics of St.
Olav reposed there in his shrine at Nidaros Cathedral. Pilgrims sought
the favor and help of God through their pilgrimages and sometimes undertook
them as acts of penance.
of the Holy Sepulchre.
identified this site with the burial and resurrection of Jesus