Friday, 8 January 2010

Part Six...

According to the Historia Compostelana, Diego Pelaez was consecrated by Sancho II who was the King of Galicia at the time. The HC is notoriously self-serving and says very little about this, perhaps because Diego Gelmirez patron was Alfonso VI, not Sancho who was murdered not long after Diego Pelaez became, probably - though he took an oath to deny it - on the orders of Alfonso, his brother.

We know very little about Diego Pelaez. The authors of the HC managed to skirt very diplomatically around the subject. Perhaps that was because Diego Gelmirez, who was to follow Pelaez as bishop, knew more about the fate of his colleague in the church than was good for him. Conjecture? One certainly would question why Diego Gelmirez was so reluctant to travel anywhere near Aragon where Pelaez sought refuge in his later years, and after a lengthy imprisonment.

Diego Pelaez had been arrested and imprisoned by Alfonso VI (his brothers being conveniently removed by this time) on charges of treason. Perhaps he and the nobles whom he supported were endeavouring to re-instate King Garcia who was kicking his heels with the Moors in Sevilla at the time. There is even a story – suggested by the HC – that Pelaez et al planned to hand Galicia over to William of Normandy , lock stock and barrel and amazingly there may be some fire to this smoke!

Whatever the story, Pelaez was brought to trial in chains and stripped of his see and for 15 years afterwards, the bishopric of Compostela – with two very short exceptions – remained without a bishop while King and Pope laboured to end a disagreement.

The time was right for Diego Gelmirez to follow his ambitions. He became “Vicarius” of Compostela, administering the church’s property and income while he waited for the right time to remind the Pope that his flock in Compostela had no shepherd.

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