Peter Stanford

A thought-provoking reflection on the practice and history of pilgrimage, and a compelling exploration of its relevance today.

Pilgrimage, a global ritual embraced by nearly all faiths, is one of civilization’s most enduring traditions. In this compelling book, author and journalist Peter Stanford reflects on the reasons people have walked along the same sacred paths through the ages. Through this history, Stanford explores how the experiences of the first pilgrims to Jerusalem, Mecca, and Santiago de Compostela compare to the millions of people who embark on life-changing physical and spiritual journeys today.

Pilgrimage traverses sacred landscapes around the world, from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to the monolithic rock-cut churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia and the riverbanks of the Kumbh Mela in India. Stanford explores the historical and spiritual significance of these places of healing and reflection and discusses their roles as crossroads., Although pilgrimage is usually viewed as an individual’s escape from the everyday to refocus the mind and soul, institutional and national struggles for power have always had an impact on the way pilgrims experience their own personal journey.

Guiding readers through the global history of pilgrimage, this thought- provoking book educates a new generation that may seek solace, clarity, and wonder by following in the footsteps of travelers from the past.


Engaging… A horizon-enlarging survey of the world's journeys of faith.

— Booklist (starred review)

Enhanced with the inclusion of 40 illustrations, Pilgrimage is an especially well researched, written, organized and presented historical study.

— Midwest Book Review


Peter Stanford


Peter Stanford is a feature writer for the Daily Telegraph, broadcaster, and author. His recent books include Angels: A Visible and Invisible History and Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident. He is a former editor of the Catholic Herald and director of the Longford Trust, supporting young ex-prisoners. His biography of Lord Longford was made into the Golden Globe-winning film Longford, and he has presented TV and radio versions of his other books, including the award-winning Catholics and Sex and The She-Pope.