Thursday, 25 February 2010

Hurricane Cluny

It must have been a bit of a shock when the king Alfonso VI began to import his wife Constance’s relatives from Burgundy almost lock, stock, and barrel and with them came a lot of Cluniac influence. Raimundo, who as we have seen married Alfonso’s daughter, Urraca, had close ties with Hugh, the powerful abbot of Cluny. Alfonso began to set up Cluniac houses in places such as Sahagun which was to become very powerful. Bernardo of both Auch and Cluny was consecrated as its bishop. He was later to become Bishop of Toledo, the Primate of Spain, and the most powerful churchman in the country. He was to become a constant thorn in Diego Gelmirez’ side.

In the meantime, Roman winds of change were speeding across the mountains and they spoke in French accents. Diego Pelaez, being bishop of Compostela, would have been expected to spearhead the new movement to replace the Visigothic (sometimes called the Mozarabic) Rite with the more “fashionable Roman” one. The chances are he did not like this at all; and neither did the nobles of Galicia. Galicia was no longer the undisturbed and inaccessible province it once was. It was about to become a small clerical outpost of France!

In the wings, the nobles muttered amongst themselves; the townspeople saw their established ways of worship about to be obliterated before a French onslaught.

And so without the need to draw a sword, through the mighty arm of the Order of Cluny, the Roman Catholic church swept all ecclesiastical opposition in its path and established itself across the length and breadth of the Peninsula, and thus achieved what the Moors never had: total dominion.

It is no surprise that the Gallego nobles, with their powerful connections to the Cathedral of Compostela, acted...and when it came, it was a surprise to all.
(See post Wednesday 18th November 2009 "The Bishop Rebels")

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