St. James the Moorslayer
On the 23rd of May in the year of our Lord 844, near a place called Clavijo in the Rioja region of Spain, a miracle occurred that would alter the tide of history then washing over the Iberian peninsula. José González de Tejada, a Spanish historian of the 19th century, wrote “It was at that time that Saint James appeared, mounted on a strong and beautiful white horse. The sight of him enlivened the Christians and so terrified the infidels who then cowardly turned their backs and retreated, leaving the field covered with Moorish corpses and running with rivers of their blood that, it is said, flowed to the Ebro River some two leagues away from that place.”
By this Divinely sanctioned appearance of the saint mounted on a white charger gave wings to Spanish resistance to Moorish occupation. Saint James himself was a martyr, killed by his own people over his Faith in Christ. Hence the Battle of Clavijo came to symbolize the beginnings of an restoration of the Faith to Spain ultimately to its unification under the reign of their Catholic Majesties Fernando and Isabel. The crusades against the Moors throughout Spain for nearly eight centuries became known as the Reconquest, since it was agreed that the Mohammedan usurpers must be thrown back to from whence they came.
‘¡Santiago y cierra España!’ – Saint James and Spain, charge!