Our Pilgrimage Continues

Pilgrims Crossing Borders began in 2015 as a relay with participants from 15 countries. People from all walks of life took part in that event where meetings between different faiths and beliefs were essential. Together we walked all the way from Norway and Calabria to Rome in approximately four months.

Pilgrims Open Horizons
Pilgrims Open Horizons was yet another pilgrim relay from Oslo to Rome. We started in Oslo on the 3rd of May 2022. Our pilgrims reached Rome on the 13th of October after nearly six months and 3,200 km on the road.Congratulations everyone 😊

Please scroll down to find information and pictures from Pilgrims Crossing Borders.

Stade, June 19th 2022: Ready pilgrims in good condition ☺

Our pilgrimage embraces ideals of dialogue and fraternization - and the urgent need to protect our environment. 

The Via Romea is marked with a red continous line from Stade to Rome.
Map by Prof. Giovanni Caselli and Dott. Rodolfo Valentini.


The relay was organized by voluntary pilgrim associations in Norway, Germany and Italy:

Participants are invited to sign up and join the relay for shorter or longer distances.  Please get in touch with our guides for further information:
  • In Northern Germany: Thomas Dahms - dahms(at)
  • In Southern Germany: Werner Binnen - wernerbinnen(at)
  • In Italy: Rodolfo Valentini - rodolfovalentini(at)
    or: info(at) 
 Updated information will be available on this blog and on our Facebook page 

In Viterbo 100 km from Rome : Pietro points out the direction for hopeful pilgrims.


About Us

You can select your preferred language by using the translate button on top of this page.
At the Brenner Pass: Pilgrims crossing the border between Austria and Italy.
Participants from 15 countries walked 4,000 km from Norway to Rome and from Rome to S. Maria di Leuca in 2015. Our pilgrim walks will continue in the years to come.

Our goal is to build friendship, engage in dialogue and cross borders literally and metaphorically. Our walks will always symbolize diversity and solidarity, and we welcome participants with different backgrounds and religious denominations to walk together.  Cultural events will be organized along the way.

Pilgrims Crossing Borders is a collaborative project made possible thanks to efforts and contributions from the following pilgrim associations and institutions:

The Pilgrim Confraternity of St. Olav, Norway
The Confraternity of St. James, Norway
The Confraternity of St. Hallvard, Oslo
Nordjysk Pilgrimsforening, Denmark
Hauptkirche St. Jacobi, Hamburg
• The Via Romea Stadensis, Germany
The Via Romea Germanica, Italy
Jakobsgemeinschaft Tirol, Austria
Gruppo dei 12, Italy
Club Alpino Italiano
Trondheim Local Authority
The National Pilgrim Centre in Norway
The regional pilgrim centers in Norway

Our blog:

Contact us 


A Walk for Diversity & Dialogue

Participants from different faith backgrounds walked together on the pilgrim way from Ranheim kirke to Ringve Museum on 25 August 2018. Our credo is to embrace diversity and give participants better knowledge of each other’s religions, life stances and values.

Ralph Buchmann and Latifa Nasser lead the pilgrims on their way.
Click to enlarge photos
Our goal is to build friendship, engage in dialogue and cross borders, figuratively and literally . We welcome participants from different backgrounds and denominations to walk and talk together.

Our walk this year came to an end at Ringve Music Museum, Norway’s national museum of music and musical instruments. Talented musical guides gave us a guided tour of the museum and a unique mini-concert, a fine finale for our event. Thanks everyone.

The walk was initiated by The Jewish Community (Det jÞdiske samfunn), One World in Dialogue (En Verden i Dialog), The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities (SamarbeidsrÄdet for tros- og livssynssamfunn) and The Pilgrim Confraternity of St. Olav (Pilegrimsfellesskapet St. Olav).

Scroll down to see our photos.

We mingled with the friendly organizers of Rotvollfestivalen :-)
Michael Momyr and his grandson Selmer
admire our pilgrim's staff

Tove Buchmann from The Jewish Community
gave an inspiring pep talk at the end of the day.

Quote for the Day:
How can there be peace without people understanding each other; and how can this be if they don't know each other?

Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1957


The Years Ahead

Brigitte Schraudolph from Ochsenfurt made this painting for Pilgrims Crossing Borders

We have walked across Europe from Norway to Italy, a formidable pilgrimage of nearly 3,000 kilometers over six months. Five hundred participants from 15 countries have taken part, and we have made new friends as we crossed borders – literally and figuratively.

Dialogue and Fraternization

Is there a way to continue our pilgrimage in the times to come? The pilgrim enthusiasts of Ochsenfurt in Germany organized a weekend meeting in November 2015 to review the pilgrim relay and to discuss possible plans for the future. Sixty participants from near and far attended the gathering to see pictures from the walk, to reminisce and hear speeches about pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca. A spirit of dialogue and fraternization was present. On the agenda in Ochsenfurt was also a brief discussion about the future of PiCroBo. Giovanni Caselli from Bibbiena in Italy pointed out the potential of global pathways and roads as a network for cultural exchange and peacebuilding. The Global Network of Ancient Ways will support and cooperate with Pilgrims Crossing Borders, said Mr. Caselli. Alberto Alberti from Rome followed suit and pointed out how pilgrimages can be incentives for international dialogue and reconciliation. We should appreciate and make use of our network of pilgrim associations, was one of the conclusions from our discussion. Click to see photos from the meeting in Ochsenfurt

Embracing Diversity
We need time to find a modus vivendi for the future. To begin with, we might consider organizing pilgrimages within our respective countries. Such walks might include participants from all walks of life – and from different denominations. International participation should be encouraged when possible. Our idealistic goal could be reflected in the diversity of the participants and the themes we choose to embrace. Our motto is inspiring and normative:
“May the faith which has inspired pilgrims throughout history, uniting them in a common aspiration and transcending national differences and interests, inspire us today, and young people in particular, to travel along these routes in order to build a society founded on tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity. We appeal to all Europeans and in particular to the youth of Europe by recalling the fundamental values and the importance of respect for cultural diversity, and intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.” (From the Declaration of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe)

Pilgrims Crossing Borders is a young movement with potential. Our credo is to embrace diversity, and we should encourage ideas from a diversified audience.  Let us continue to cross borders, literally and figuratively. “Let a hundred flowers blossom,” could be a road sign to follow in the future :-)

Enjoy this slide series from our pilgrimage in 2015 (click to open, then "Present" in the top right corner  to view)

Posts, news, queries and suggestions related to Pilgrims Crossing Borders are welcome on our Facebook page :-)


Tales from Pilgrims Crossing Borders

Click to enlarge map

This blog contains memorabilia from the grand pilgrim relay from Trondheim/Nidaros to Rome in 2015. Here are some samples to check out. Select your preferred language by using the translate button on top of this page.


Pilgrims Crossing Borders Report

Les rapporten pÄ norsk

Pilgrims Crossing Borders was an organised pilgrim walk from Trondheim to Rome, from 22 April to 14 October 2015.

 A Long Story Made Short - on Google Slides

Eight European pilgrim associations and 400 participants from 15 nations cooperated on bringing a pilgrim staff and a diary along the old European pilgrim ways to Rome. The total distance covered was around 3000 kilometres. Our planned pilgrimage on to Nazareth and Jerusalem (18 - 27 October) quite understandably had to be postponed, see the explanation for this on page 4.

In addition to the pilgrim walk from Trondheim to Rome, we also organized a walk from Rome to Santa Maria de Leuca in Southern Italy. The group left Rome on the 24th of August and reached Santa Maria de Leuca on the 12th of October, a walk of 935 km over 44 stages. A group of some 50 hardy souls walked long stretches, some of them all the way from Rome to Puglia. Approximately one hundred participants joined for just a day or two. The group was international and had participants from 12 countries. The pilgrim route through the South of Italy, the so-called Via Francigena del Sud, is a historical reconstruction and celebration of pilgrim journeys of the past, when pilgrims would follow the Appian Way from Rome to the ports of the Adriatic coast and continue by ship to the Holy Land.

The motivation behind the pilgrim walk was and is to create an idealistic endeavour. The concept was developed by pilgrim veterans Alberto Alberti from Rome and Stein Thue from Trondheim. Would we be able to use the old pilgrim ways (in our case the St. Olav’s Paths, Via Romea and Via Francigena del Sud) to build bridges between peoples and countries? The idea of a European pilgrim walk was launched and preparations started early in 2013. Six pilgrim associations contributed infrastructure and logistics assistance. Einar Vegge, the pilgrim pastor of Nidaros Cathedral joined the effort early on as a resourceful contributor and prime mover behind the cultural events and promotion of the walk. Trondheim local authority and the National Pilgrim Centre in Trondheim offered their support and contributed to the events. Due to all these efforts, the idea of a walk from Trondheim to Rome and Jerusalem quickly gained support and acceptance. Volunteers signed up as stage leaders for the 175 day stages and accommodations were arranged. An impressive international joint effort gathered force, and thanks to voluntary enthusiasts and local pilgrim associations, we were able to arrange this marathon walk through Europe.

The walk started with a divine service and launch in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 22 April. The Dean gave a sermon and the mayor of Trondheim gave a speech. The Trondheim Soloists played music composed in honour of the event and the vocal ensemble Schola Sanctae Sunnivae sang beautifully. The painting/portable altarpiece by HĂ„kon GullvĂ„g, painted in tribute to the walk, was displayed in public for the first time. After the service, it was carried in a procession to the square facing the West Front of the Cathedral. The detachable middle section of the travel altar would join the walk in Einar Vegge’s rucksack.

After being wished good luck and many greetings from enthusiastic participants, the walk commenced. Among the travelling companions on the first stage were, in addition to the many Norwegians, representatives from the Jacobi Church in Hamburg. This gave the walk an international aspect right from the first day. Participants would eventually include people from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Germany, Austria, the UK and the USA. Saba from Syria deserves special mention. She lived in a refugee camp in Scharnitz in Austria. When the pilgrims came there in late August, Saba offered to prepare dinner for us. The day after, she joined the day's stage on the pilgrim way. We saw that the mutual generosity between "Pellegrini" and permanent residents blesses the road for both parties. The pilgrims will remember Saba in Scharnitz, and she will probably remember the flock of pilgrims who visited her there.

Of the more than 400 pilgrims who participated, some only walked a single day stage. Others walked for weeks, some for months. GĂŒnter Hannig (74) from Germany walked 1600 kilometres from his home town Hamburg to Roma, while Canadian Wilma Foyle (82) walked 1200 kilometres from WĂŒrzburg in Germany to Rome. The pilgrim flock has also varied greatly in number, age and composition − from two hearty souls to 70 pilgrims.
The specially designed pilgrim staff that has been carried on the walk came from Stiklestad in Norway (the site where St. Olav died in battle). Its inscription was artfully made by Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider (the Restoration Workshop of Nidaros Cathedral): "Pilgrims Crossing Borders 2015/Nidaros/Trondheim–Roma–Jerusalem".

Right from the start we had made it a point that anybody who wanted to join was welcome to take part in the walk regardless of faith or life view. When in early August we came to WĂŒrzburg in Bavaria, meetings in accordance with the event's traditions were arranged between Jews, Christians and Muslims. These meetings were initiated by the German pilgrim association. To highlight the wish for dialogue between religions, the pilgrim staff was inscribed here with symbols for the Jewish faith, Christianity and Islam. Through these symbols on the pilgrim staff, we presented our quiet hope for reconciliation, understanding and increased knowledge about different ways of living, values and religions.

The pilgrim ways of Europe remind us about the common history and cultural heritage of the continent. Thus, we have also chosen the European Council's goal for Europe's cultural roads as the motto for our event:

"May the faith that has inspired pilgrims throughout history, uniting them in a common aspiration and transcending national differences and interests, inspire us today, and young people in particular, to travel along these routes in order to build a society founded on tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity."

Now let us make a long story short and look at the events on 14 October on the final stage to Rome. A flock of 35 hopeful pilgrims were on their way along Via Cassia, walking towards St. Peter's Basilica. The meteorologists had predicted a veritable flood of pouring rain that we were equipped for but saved from. We had sent notification of our arrival and preparations had been made, and it did not take long before friendly police officers met us to stop car traffic where we needed to cross the road. RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) insisted on interviewing us several times along the way. On the way up Monte Mario, the hill of joy for pilgrims in Rome, we were met by uniformed park attendants who guided us to places with the best views of the goal for our pilgrimage.

When we passed along the final blocks toward St. Peter's Square, car traffic had been stopped to allow us free passage. It was not without a deep sense of piety and tears of joy that we saw St. Peter's Basilica at close range. Shortly after arrival we participated in a divine service with the pilgrims who had walked from Rome to S. Maria de Leuca (935 km in 45 day stages), they also being a part of Pilgrims Crossing Borders. A party of pilgrims who had walked from Assisi to Roma to arrive the same day as us were also among the churchgoers. The service became a time of solemnity where words fail to describe what the pilgrims felt after reaching the destination for their pilgrimage,

The next day (15 October) there was a full programme in Sala Campidoglio at the Capitol (a prominent meeting room for receptions and conferences in Rome). Representatives of the Mayor of Rome and the Italian Ministry of Culture welcomed us. The undersigned introduced the Pilgrim Crossing Borders walk to dignitaries and representatives of various participant countries, and pilgrim associations gave speeches. A packed room listened when the speakers talked about and showed pictures of the walks through Europe.

In the evening, a concert featuring a quartet from the Trondheim Soloists was held at Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi, a special medieval church with a cloister garden, in the heart of Trastevere, Rome’s ancient quarter. The concert included the composition by Tormod Tvete Vik in tribute to the walk. The work, called Pilgrims Crossing Borders, has been inspired by hymns from the countries the pilgrims crossed. The concert had its premiere performance in Nidaros Cathedral on 22 April, the first day of the walk. Then, as well as on this October night in Rome, the music created a harmonious atmosphere for contemplation and reflection. The musicians received standing ovations for their performance, and the audience successfully insisted on da capos. Again, we experienced music as a universal language that reaches out to everyone. The concert was sponsored by Trondheim Local Authority and the National Pilgrim Centre in Norway.

Another part of this story concerns the altarpiece by HÄkon GullvÄg (see the picture below) which arrived in Rome the same time as the pilgrims. The middle section of the painting, which can be detached, had in late April and early May been carried in the rucksack of the pilgrim pastor as he skied from Trondheim to Oppdal.

HÄkon GullvÄg's travelling altar for Pilgrims Crossing Borders in Rennebu church.
In October, the altarpiece arrived with Einar Vegge as special air transport to Rome. Here the pilgrim pastor ensured that the artwork was on display and the story retold to the hosts and pilgrims in the meeting room at the Capitol Hill, as well as in the medieval church in Trastevere.

We had originally planned to continue the pilgrim journey from Rome to Palestine during the final two weeks of October 2015. From Rome we would fly to Tel Aviv, and then walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem. This walk had been planned by the pilgrim pastor Einar Vegge in cooperation with a Palestinian travel agency. The plan had attached importance to meetings, dialogues and interaction between pilgrims and permanent residents. The Trondheim Soloists as well as the Schola Sanctae Sunnivae choir were to give concerts in Ramallah and Jerusalem. When the situation in Jerusalem and the border adjacent to Gaza became very tense, it was decided to cancel the pilgrim walk in the Holy Land. The decision was made together with Norway's representation office for the Palestinian territories. While it must be said that this was a disappointing turn of events, it is important to take responsible action under the circumstances. When the Norwegian authorities advised against a walk where we had planned to go, it was wise to take this advice to heart. We again would like to thank Trondheim local authority and the National Pilgrim Centre for their promised support for the planned concerts with the Trondheim Soloists and the Schola Sanctae Sunnivae choir in Ramallah and Jerusalem. We hope that the situation for the local populations in the Palestinian territories and in Israel will soon improve. When the situation permits and the time is ripe, we will again consider a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Looking back, we consider Pilgrims Crossing Borders to have been a successful endeavour. We have walked through a diversified Europe on old roads where pilgrims have walked for centuries before us. We have met pilgrims and permanent residents with differing views of life and faiths and built bridges between countries and peoples. While Pilgrims Crossing Borders formally concluded on 15 October 2015, the international cooperation it has encouraged has created a European network of pilgrim enthusiasts. We will meet again to evaluate the walk and to discuss how we can use this network to strengthen the voluntary pilgrim activities in Europe. The walks and the cooperation will continue.

In conclusion we would like to point out that Pilgrims Crossing Borders was possible due to the cooperation between the following pilgrim associations and bodies:

The Pilgrim Confraternity of St. Olav, Norway
The Confraternity of St. James, Norway
The Confraternity of St. Hallvard
Nordjysk Pilgrimsforening
Hauptkirche St. Jacobi, Hamburg
The Via Romea Stadensis, Germany
The Via Romea Germanica, Italy
Jakobsgemeinschaft Tirol
Gruppo dei 12
Club Alpino Italiano
Trondheim Local Authority
The National Pilgrim Centre in Norway
The regional pilgrim centres in Norway

If you would like to find out more about Pilgrims Crossing Borders, check our blog, which features reports, photos and our handwritten diary:


Our Complete Diary

Our diary has followed the pilgrims all the way from Trondheim/Nidaros to Rome (22 April -15 October 2015). It contains handwritten entries, greetings, postcards, photos and last but not least stamps from the places we visited. This is a touching journal about the events that befell the pilgrims crossing borders.

Click on the link below to open a scanned pdf version of the handwritten diary. Enjoy :-)

Pilgrims Crossing Borders Diary ( (26 Mb)

Pages 11 - 38:    Norway
Pages 39 - 57:    Denmark
Pages 58 - 111:  Germany
Pages 112 - 115: Austria
Pages 116 - 137: Italy

Please share this link (to the pdf diary) with fellow pilgrims:


Rapport fra pilegrimsstafetten Trondheim - Roma

Read the report in English

Pilgrims Crossing Borders var en organisert pilegrimsvandring fra Trondheim til Roma som pÄgikk fra 22. april til 14. oktober 2015.

 A Long Story Made Short - on Google Slides

Åtte europeiske pilegrimsforeninger og 400 deltakere fra 15 nasjoner samarbeidet om Ă„ fĂžre en pilegrimsstav og en dagbok langs gamle europeiske pilegrimsveier til Roma. Samlet distanse utgjorde rundt 3 000 kilometer.

VÄr planlagte pilegrimsreise videre til Nasaret og Jerusalem (18. - 27. oktober) mÄtte av forstÄelige grunner avlyses, se forklaring pÄ side 4.

Motivasjonen bak pilegrimsvandringen var og er idealistisk. Konseptet ble utviklet av pilegrimsveteranene Alberto Alberti fra Roma og Stein Thue fra Trondheim. Kunne vi bruke de gamle pilegrimsveiene (i vÄrt tilfelle St. Olavsveiene, Via Romea og Via Francigena del sud) til Ä bygge broer mellom folk og land? Ideen om en europeisk pilegrimsstafett ble lansert. Tidlig i 2013 kom forberedelsene i gang. Seks pilegrimsforeninger ble involvert for Ä bidra med infrastruktur og logistikk. Pilegrimsprest i Nidaros Einar Vegge kom tidlig inn i bildet som en ressurssterk bidragsyter og drivkraft bak kulturarrangementene og profilering av stafetten. Trondheim kommune og Nasjonalt Pilegrimssenter ble involvert som medspillere og bidragsytere. Tanken om en vandring fra Trondheim til Roma og Jerusalem fikk stÞtte og tilslutning. Frivillige aktÞrer meldte seg som vandreledere pÄ 175 dagsetapper, og det ble ordnet med innkvartering. En imponerende internasjonal dugnad var i gang. Takket vÊre frivillige entusiaster og lokale pilegrimsforeninger, ble vi i stand til Ä arrangere denne maratonvandringen gjennom Europa.

Stafetten begynte med festgudstjeneste og utsendelse i Nidaros domkirke 22. april. Domprost Ragnhild Jepsen holdt preken og ordfÞrer Rita Ottervik holdt tale. Trondheimsolistene spilte spesialkomponert musikk til Êre for arrangementet og vokalensemblet Schola Sanctae Sunnivae sang vakkert. Billedkunstner HÄkon GullvÄgs maleri/reisealter, malt som en hyllest til stafetten, ble vist frem offentlig for fÞrste gang. Etter gudstjenesten ble maleriet bÄret i prosesjon ut til Vestfrontplassen. Reisealterets avtagbare midtstykke skulle nemlig fÄ bli med pÄ ferden i ryggsekken til pilegrimsprest Einar Vegge.

Etter lykkĂžnskninger og hilsninger fra entusiastiske deltakere kunne stafetten begynne. Med i reisefĂžlget pĂ„ den fĂžrste etappen var foruten mange nordmenn og kvinner ogsĂ„ representanter fra Jacobi kirke i Hamburg. Dette bidro til Ă„ gi stafetten et internasjonal tilsnitt fra begynnelsen. Deltakerne kom etter hvert fra Australia, Canada, Danmark, Frankrike, Italia, Nederland, Polen, Norge, Spania, Storbritannia, Sverige, Syria, Tyskland, Østerrike og USA. Saba fra Syria mĂ„ nevnes. Hun bodde pĂ„ et flyktningemottak i Scharnitz i Østerrike. Da pilegrimsfĂžlget sent i august 2015 kom dit, tilbĂžd Saba seg Ă„ lage middag for dem. Dagen derpĂ„ ble hun med og gikk en dagsetappe pĂ„ pilegrimsveien. Vi fikk syn for at den gjensidige rausheten mellom ”pellegrini” og fastboende velsigner veien for begge. Pilegrimene vil huske Saba i Scharnitz, og hun vil forhĂ„pentligvis huske pilegrimsfĂžlget som besĂžkte henne der.

Av de vel 400 pilegrimene som deltok i stafetten, var det noen som bare gikk en enkelt dagsetappe. Andre gikk i uker, enkelte i mĂ„neder. Tyske GĂŒnter Hannig (74) gikk 1 600 kilometer fra hjembyen Hamburg til Roma, mens canadiske Wilma Foyle (82) gikk 1200 kilometer fra WĂŒrzburg til Roma. Ellers har pilegrimsfĂžlget variert i antall, alder og sammensetning – alt fra to sjeler til 70 pilegrimer.

Den spesiallagede pilegrimsstaven som har fulgt stafetten, kom fra Stiklestad.  Den fikk sin egen pĂ„skrift kunstferdig preget ved Nidaros Domkirkes Restaureringsarbeider: “Pilgrims Crossing Borders 2015/ Nidaros/Trondheim–Roma–Jerusalem”. Vi hadde fra begynnelsen poengtert at alle som ville, uansett tro eller livssyn, var velkomne til Ă„ delta pĂ„ vandringen. Da stafetten tidlig i august nĂ„dde WĂŒrzburg i Bayern, ble det i samsvar med arrangementets intensjoner arrangert mĂžter mellom jĂžder, kristne og muslimer. MĂžtene kom i stand pĂ„ initiativ fra den tyske pilegrimsforeningen. For Ă„ anskueliggjĂžre Ăžnsket om dialog mellom religioner, ble pilegrimsstaven her preget med symboler for jĂždedommen, kristendommen og islam. Med disse symbolene pĂ„ pilegrimsstaven synliggjorde vi et stillferdig hĂ„p om forsoning, forstĂ„else og Ăžkt kunnskap om ulike levesett, verdier og religioner.

Europas pilegrimsveier minner oss om kontinentets felles historie og kulturarv. SĂ„ har vi ogsĂ„ valgt  mĂ„lsettingen til Det europeiske instituttet for kulturveier som motto for arrangementet:

“MĂ„tte hĂ„pet som har inspirert pilegrimer gjennom historien forene dem mot et felles mĂ„l, pĂ„ tvers av nasjonale skillelinjer og interesser, og bli en kilde til inspirasjon for oss i dag, sĂŠrlig for ungdom, til Ă„ vandre pĂ„ disse veiene og til Ă„ bygge samfunn basert pĂ„ toleranse, respekt for andre, frihet og solidaritet.”

Her gjÞr vi en lang historie kort og gÄr inn i begivenhetene 14. oktober pÄ den siste dagsmarsjen inn mot Roma. En flokk med 35 hÄpefulle pilegrimer bega seg i vei langs Via Cassia mot Peterskirken. Meteorologene hadde varslet en veritabel syndflod av styrtregn, noe vi var utstyrt for, men ble forskÄnet fra. Ankomsten vÄr var varslet og forberedt, og det varte ikke lenge fÞr vennlige politikonstabler kom oss i mÞte for Ä stanse biltrafikken der vi mÄtte krysse veien. RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana), insisterte pÄ Ä intervjue oss flere steder underveis. PÄ vei opp Monte Mario, gledens bakke for pilegrimer i Roma, ble vi mÞtt av uniformerte parkbetjenter som geleidet oss til de beste utsiktspunktene mot valfartsmÄlet.

Da vi gikk gjennom de siste kvartalene inn mot Petersplassen, var biltrafikken avsperret for Ä gi oss fri bane. Det var ikke uten andaktsfÞlelse og gledestÄrer at vi kunne ta Peterskirken i skue pÄ nÊrt hold. Kort etter ankomsten fikk vi delta i en gudstjeneste sammen med pilegrimene som hadde gÄtt fra Roma til S. Maria de Leuca (935 km pÄ 45 dagsetapper), ogsÄ de som en del av Pilgrims Crossing Borders. Med i kyrkjelyden var ogsÄ et fÞlge med pilegrimer som hadde gÄtt fra Assisi til Roma for Ä ankomme samme dag som oss. Gudstjenesten ble en hÞytidsstund der ord blir fattige til Ä beskrive hva pilegrimene fÞlte etter Ä ha nÄdd valfartsmÄlet,

Dagen derpÄ (15. oktober) var det fullt program i Sala Campidoglio pÄ Capitol (en prominent mÞtesal for mottakelser og konferanser i Roma). Representanter for Romas ordfÞrer og det italienske kulturdepartementet Þnsket oss velkommen. Undertegnede fikk introdusere pilegrimsstafetten fÞr notabiliteter og representanter fra forskjellige deltakerland og pilegrimsforeninger fikk ordet. En fullsatt sal lyttet da talerne fortalte og viste bilder fra vandringene gjennom Europa.

Om kvelden var det konsert med en kvartett fra Trondheimsolistene i Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi, en sÊregen middelalderkirke med tilhÞrende klosterhage, i hjertet av Trastevere, gamlebyen i Roma. Konserten bÞd blant annet pÄ Tormod Tvete Viks komposisjon til Êre for stafetten. Verket, som har fÄtt tittelen Pilgrims Crossing Borders er inspirert av salmetoner fra de land pilegrimene vandret gjennom. Komposisjonen ble urfremfÞrt i Nidarosdomen 22. april pÄ stafettens fÞrste dag. Den gangen, sÄ vel som pÄ denne oktoberkvelden i Roma, skapte musikken en harmonisk hÞytidsstund. Etter konserten fikk musikerne stÄende ovasjoner. Publikum insisterte pÄ dakaponumre, noe de ogsÄ fikk. Vi fikk igjen oppleve at musikk er et universelt sprÄk som nÄr frem til alle.

NÄ hÞrer det med til historien at HÄkon GullvÄgs altertavle (bildet under) dukket opp igjen i Roma samtidig med pilegrimenes ankomst. Midtstykket av maleriet (som er avtagbart) hadde i mÄnedsskiftet april-mai blitt bÄret i pilegrimsprestens ryggsekk pÄ ski fra Trondheim til Oppdal.

HÄkon GullvÄgs reisealter til Pilgrims Crossing Borders avbildet i Rennebu kirke.
I oktober fikk altertavlen bli med Einar Vegge som flybĂ„ren spesialbagasje til Roma. Her sĂžrget pilegrimspresten for at kunstverket ble vist frem og historien gjenfortalt for vertskap sĂ„ vel som pilegrimer – i mĂžtesalen pĂ„ KapitolhĂžyden sĂ„ vel som i middelalderkirken i Trastevere.

Vi hadde opprinnelig planlagt Ă„ fortsette pilegrimsreisen fra Roma til Palestina de to siste ukene av oktober 2015. Fra Roma skulle vi ta fly til Tel Aviv, for sĂ„ Ă„ vandre fra Nasaret til Jerusalem. Vandringen var planlagt av pilegrimsprest Einar Vegge i samarbeid med et palestinsk reisebyrĂ„. I planleggingen var det lagt vekt pĂ„ mĂžter, dialog og samspill mellom pilegrimer og fastboende. Trondheimsolistene sĂ„ vel som Schola Sanctae Sunnivae skulle etter planen holde konserter i Ramallah og Jerusalem.  Da situasjonen i Jerusalem og grenseomrĂ„det mot Gaza ble spent, ble det besluttet Ă„ avlyse pilegrimsvandringen til Det hellige land. AvgjĂžrelsen ble tatt i samrĂ„d med Norges representasjonskontor for de palestinske territoriene. Man kan si at dette var en skuffende vending for arrangementet. Men i en slik situasjon mĂ„ vi forholde oss til realitetene. NĂ„r norske myndigheter frarĂ„der en vandring dit vi hadde tenkt oss, er det klokt Ă„ ta rĂ„det til etterretning. Igjen fĂ„r vi takke Trondheim kommune og Nasjonalt Pilegrimssenter som ville stĂžtte de planlagte konsertene med Trondheimsolistene og Schola Sanctae Sunnivae i Ramallah og Jerusalem. Vi vil hĂ„pe at situasjonen for lokalbefolkningen i De palestinske territoriene og i Israel kan forandres til det bedre. NĂ„r situasjonen tillater og tiden er inne, kan vi igjen vurdere en pilegrimsreise til Det hellige land.

I tilbakeblikk vurderer vi Pilgrims Crossing Borders som vellykket. Vi har vandret gjennom et mangfoldig Europa pÄ gamle veier der pilegrimer har vandret i Ärhundrer fÞr oss. Vi har mÞtt pilegrimer og fastboende med ulike livssyn og trosoppfatninger og bygd broer mellom land og folk. Pilegrimsstafetten ble formelt sett avsluttet. 15. oktober 2015. Men det internasjonale samarbeidet har skapt et europeisk nettverk av pilegrimsentusiaster. Vi skal mÞtes igjen, bÄde for Ä evaluere stafetten, og for Ä drÞfte hvordan vi kan bruke dette nettverket til videre Ä styrke det frivillige pilegrimsarbeidet i Europa. Vandringene og samarbeidet vil fortsette.

Til slutt vil vi understreke at Pilgrims Crossing Borders kunne gjennomfĂžres takket vĂŠre  samarbeid mellom fĂžlgende pilegrimsforeninger og instanser: Pilegrimsfellesskapet St. Olav, Pilegrimsfellesskapet St. Jakob, Pilegrimsfellesskapet St. Hallvard, Nordjysk Pilgrimsforening, Jacobi kirke i Hamburg, Via Romea Germanica, Jakobsgemeinschaft Tirol, Via Romea Stadensis, Gruppo dei 12, Club Alpino Italiano, Trondheim kommune, Nasjonalt Pilegrimssenter og de regionale pilegrimssentrene i Norge.

Konserten med Trondheimsolistene i Roma var mulig takket vĂŠre tilskudd fra kulturfondet i Trondheim kommune og Nasjonalt Pilegrimssenter. Vi takker for samarbeidet og Ăžnsker Buen Camino til alle.

Trondheim, 2. november 2015

Stein Thue

  • HĂžr radioprogrammet 'Veien til Roma' om pilegrimsvandring fĂžr og nĂ„ (27 minutter).
    Sendt pÄ NRK 29. august 2015.
  • HĂžr radioprogrammet 'Veien til Nidaros' om Trondheim som valfartsmĂ„l (ca 30 minutter).
    Sendt pĂ„ NRK 5. september 2015 


Our Arrival in Rome

Rome 15 October 2015: Alberto Alberti and Stein Thue say
Grazie mille a tutti! :D
By Flavio Foietta

ROME!!! - SAINT PETER!!! A historic day for our Pilgrim: it is the aim of months and years of study, and preparation of a journey that went on for 175 stages, six months, from April 22th in Norway to October 14th in Rome: more than 3,000 kilometers on foot to bring a message of peace among Christians, the religions, cultures and among all men of good will.
Departing from La Storta with the blessing of the Lutheran Pastor Laila Olesen, after the interviews of TG3-Italian TV, we walked to Rome crossing  via dall'Insugherata (passage just opened by the City of Rome), accompanied by a Manager of the Ministry of Culture and escorted by the Municipal Police, we get to Monte Mario and then down, towards Via Beato Angelico. The group of pilgrims compact itself and together, waving flags, without feeling  the weight of mileage, of the backpacks, of the boots, they arrive at the threshold of St. Peter's Square. We must tell them that the square is farther than 50 meters, because the emotion is so great that they stop before the finish .... Then the tears of many:  the Norwegian Stein, creator of the project, Gunter, Wilma, Frauke, Sabatino, Luke, Erik Sten, Christel and the other 35 who join the group of the South Francigena and of the UNPLI-Proloco that are arrived from Assisi ... 

Finally the thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter's and then free
until tomorrow, aware of the reached objective. The next day we welcome the Campidoglio, where we are welcome by the "Authority" in terms of roads, by the Ministry, by the CEI (Italian Bishops Conference) , by the Council of Europe, by the City of Rome, by the representatives of the biggest associations. 

The logo Via Romea Germanic was there, in plain sight, on all posters and bills: this is an unthinkable result just five years ago when Lillo, Rodolfo and Flavio in Plaza Obradoiro in Santiago began to fantasize about how to reactivate the ancient Via Romea. Before this assembly Rodolfo our President speaks, and also Flavio speaks as founder and coordinator.
  But the standing ovation was for Norwegian Stein Thue, the creator of PCB and for "our" pilgrims: Gunter with 2200 km from Hamburg, Wilma by Wurzburg with 1600 km and 82 years old, and then all the others ....  Many ask us: “next year what will you do?” We answer: "…let us enjoy this time, the many found friends; but then we will go ahead ... ". 

Thanks to the many municipal administrations, to the many associations (the CAI, the Pro Loco ...), to the people who welcome us and gave us the strength to go on. The real miracle is this involvement! 
Many thanks to all. And, repeating the wish that yesterday was exchanging in S.Peter:  God bless us and bless all those who believed in Pilgrim Crossing Borders 2015 !
Photos will follow.

Flavio Foietta - VRG

See the news clip from our arrival in Rome 14 October 2015. Courtesy of RAI

RAI 3 TGR LAZIO BGR a cura di Antonella PALLANTEI PELLEGRINI ARRIVANO a ROMA. La voce dei protagonisti.PILGRIMS CROSSING BORDERS 2015. VIA FRANCIGENA.Da Trondheim a Roma, Santa Maria di Leuca.
Posted by Gruppo dei dodici on 22. november 2015


Speech given by Stein Thue 15 October 2015 in Sala Campidoglio, Rome:

Cari pellegrini, liebe Pilger, kjĂŠre pilegrimer, dear pilgrims,

Buongiorno a tutti!

We are happy to be in Rome, to have reached the Eternal City – the destination for our pilgrimage. I feel humble and grateful to be a participant in this big event.

It all began in Norway nearly six months ago. We had decided to send a pilgrim staff and diary along ancient pilgrim ways from Norway to Rome and Jerusalem.  To make this possible we have organized a pilgrim relay with participants from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, USA and other countries. Approximately 400 pilgrims (day-trippers as well as long haul walkers) have participated. Seven pilgrim associations and many idealistic volunteers have co-operated to make this possible.

So, why have we walked 3,000 km across Europe for six months? Are we insane? It is a relevant question –sometimes we wonder ourselves–  are we connected with the real world? We have walked for 175 days from Trondheim to Rome – not on our own, but as an international team of idealistic pilgrims.

We believe that our pilgrimage will encourage international dialogue and brotherhood. The pilgrim ways are the arteries of our civilization, the fabric from which Europe originated. Our map of Europe has no borders. We have invited participants from different countries and faiths to meet, walk and talk together. We have tied bonds and built friendship, we have crossed boundaries literally and metaphorically.  Being a pilgrim means becoming a “peregrinus” –a stranger– to gain insight and understanding.

Can we cross the invisible borders between us?  Can we, people from different faiths, help each other become better persons, as Christians, Muslims, Jews and agnostics? The times we live in call for bold ideas and actions. We vote for dialogue to create understanding and friendship.
We have engraved the symbols of Judaism, Islam and Christianity on our pilgrim staff. These are signs of goodwill, hope and idealism.

The pilgrim ways remind us of Europe’s common heritage and culture.  We have chosen a passage from the declaration of the European Cultural Routes as our motto:
The declaration says that we should travel along these routes to find inspiration.
Inspiration to nurture tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity.
Let us embrace cultural diversity and encourage interreligious dialogue.
Let us make way for peace and understanding.
Our cause is worth a pilgrimage – across a continent, through five countries, on ancient roads where pilgrims have walked for centuries before us.

We had planned to continue our pilgrimage to the Holy Land and finish our walk in Jerusalem. But since the security situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has worsened, we must reconsider our travel plans. We will follow the advice from the authorities and postpone our walk from Nazareth to Jerusalem to another year.  You will be invited to join again when time is right.

Our pilgrimage to Rome has been a success, and we are glad to have reached the primary destination for our pilgrimage. Now (15 October 2015) is the time to rejoice and celebrate for two days.

I would like to mention some of the many enthusiastic volunteers who have organized this relay. Please stand up when I say your names: Vigdis Vormdal from Norway, Sten Erik (alias Enrico) LĂžvgreen from Denmark, Christel Willers and Werner Binnen from Germany, Meinhard Egger from Austria. And from Italy: Roberto Valentini, Flavio Foietta, Giovanni Caselli and Alberto Alberti, the grand old men of European pilgrim ways. Let us give them a big round of applause!

An extra round of applause to the pilgrims from Southern Italy (Rome - S. Maria de Leuca), from Assisi (Assisi - Rome) and to pilgrims from all corners of the world!

Mille grazie everyone, thank you for making these events possible.

May God bless you all.

Important announcement

Our pilgrimage to Rome was completed 15 October. Thanks everyone.

We regret to inform you that our continued  pilgrimage to the Holy Land has been cancelled due to the current  circumstances in Palestine/Israel. This decision was made after consulting appropriate authorities (The Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority etc)

We wish to organize a pilgrimage to the Holy Land another year. Updates will follow.

Yours truly,

Einar Vegge
Cell phone: +47 922 00 171


From the Brenner Pass to Rome

Click to enlarge map

We have followed the ancient Via Romea from Stade in Germany since 2 July. The distance we have covered from Trondheim in Norway (since 22 April), is respectable. It's encouraging to see photos of enthusiastic pilgrims continuing our relay with renewable energy. Now we're on our way toward Rome. We plan to reach the Eternal City 14 October after 47 stages (since the Brenner Pass). We are inspired by the credo of the European Cultural Routes:

May the faith which has inspired pilgrims throughout history, uniting them in a common aspiration and transcending national differences and interests, inspire us today, and young people in particular, to travel along these routes in order to build a society founded on tolerance, respect for others, freedom and solidarity.

The Via Romea Germanica and the Club Alpino Italiano are in charge of the relay from the Brenner Pass to Rome. You can follow the pilgrims' progress on these Facebook pages:

Pilgrims Crossing Borders on the Way to Rome


From Rome to Puglia

Click to enlarge map
In addition to the grand relay from Trondheim to Rome, there will also be an over-lapping pilgrim walk from Rome to Santa Maria de Leuca in South Italy from 24 August until 12 October. This branch of the pilgrim relay is initiated by the Italian pilgrim association Gruppo dei Dodici. So, as the relay baton from Norway is crossing the border between Germany and Austria on 24 August on its way to Rome, a second group will be leaving Rome heading towards Puglia.

The hardy souls who reach S. Maria de Leuca will return to Rome by modern means of transportation (ie not feet) to meet up with the main relay group and attend the festivities in Rome on 15 October 2015.

The walk from Rome to the South of Italy reconstructs and celebrates pilgrim journeys of the past, when pilgrims continued by ship from ports along the coast of the Adriatic Sea to the Holy Land.

Pilgrims Crossing Borders on the Via Francigena del Sud
Visit the Gruppo dei 12 on Facebook