Sunday, 20 December 2009

and more time...

In the meantime, Compostela remained without a bishop and, to all intents and purposes, a cathedral. The masons had long since left to seek work elsewhere, and the new cathedral's master builder was occupied with the construction of the cathedral at Pamplona not far away from the eventual place of exile of his patron, Diego Pelaez.

A long-standing tradition was for the king of Leon-Castille to divert the revenue from the church if the see was vacant. It was not in Alfonso's interest to fill the vacancy straightaway and perhaps he wavered in his decision for longer than necessary. Certainly with Diego Pelaez still claiming that he had been improperly deposed, there was no hurry.

According to the Historia Compostelana, both of Diego Gelmirez' predecessors as "vicarios" had taken their role a little too seriously and in the case of Arias Diaz had virtually starved the canons and clergy! Not surprisingly, Diaz' death was welcomed rather then mourned. If any tears were shed, the Historia neglects to mention them.

Perhaps remembering the good works of Diego's father in a similar post, Diego Gelmirez's name was put forward as the "unanimous" choice and he administered the "honor", as it was called, for a year.

Finally, a new bishop - acceptable to both king and pope - was selected: the pope, Urban II, having ceased attempting to bring about a reconciliation between Alfonso and Diego Pelaez.

Dalmatius, the new bishop, was a former Cluniac monk and he had formerly fulfilled the role of the administration of all the houses of Cluny in Spain. The French influence was even more entrenched now in Galicia and not surprisingly, the Visigothic rite had long since been superceded by the Roman one (even if it was still not entirely accepted by everyone).

Dalmatius, however, was not to enjoy his role for long. He died within a year of taking office.

Here was Diego Pelaez last chance to appeal for re-instatement and he went to Rome to see the Pope; however, no ruling was made and Diego had no other choice but to return to the Monastery of Leyre in Aragon - empty-handed.

We end as we began: Compostela is once more with no man as a bishop; but not without one whose dearest wish was to be one.

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