Monday, 7 December 2009

After Diego Pelaez...

Alfonso couldn't allow Galicia to remain without a bishop, that was for sure, and so he appointed Pedro of Cardena to fill the vacant post. Trouble was this was not exactly his job...that is to say the Pope knew nothing about it. This was simply Not Good.

Once he found out (the Pope at the time was Urban II) Alfonso's choice was outright rejected and we can be sure that letters had been flying back and forth from Diego Pelaez and the Vatican at this time also (Diego Pelaez had found refuge at the court of the King of Aragon, not exactly a friend to Alfonso VI). Pope Urban rejected outright the deposition of Diego Pelaez and chastised Alfonso most resoundedly for having the gall to remove, seize, and imprison a bishop. Alfonso was forthwith instructed to reinstate Diego and no backchat! Urban then backed up his demands with a letter to the clergy and people of Compostela which said: "We forbid you to accept or obey this upstart so-called bishop, Pedro," or something more ecclesiastical and Latin to that effect, and poor Pedro, who likely had had little choice but to obey his king, was summoned to Rome toute de suite!

In the meantime, Alfonso himself had other problems to consider. For one thing he was surrounded by the Moors on virtually all sides; for another, his Queen, Constance, had produced the Infanta Urraca, but so far there was no male heir. And everyone around him was very aware of it. He was obliged to hold on to what he had so far gained and turn a blind (though watchful) eye to Galicia for the time being.

In Compostela, the building of the cathedral came to a grinding halt, and in the words of historian Bernard Reilly, it was: "scarcely more than a handful of piers, melancholy and silent in the winter rains of the northwest".

Never had Galicia needed a champion more.

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