Saturday, 20 February 2010

Winds of Change...

In order to understand the history of Galicia, we have to consider it from a geographical point of view. For centuries traffic between Galicia and the rest of the peninsula to the east was limited by the access afforded by the pass at Piedrafita. The south, of course, was still considered the Kingdom of Galicia and not the Portugal it was to become.

This had the impact of isolating it in many ways. It is highly unlikely, for example, that any of the bishops had any contact with the Pope. It would not be practical or appropriate. Galicia followed the Visigothic Rite in the Mass not the Roman one and there were subtle differences; differences that the Gallegos were rather fond of.

The structure of the Visigothic Church was disrupted by the short lived Islamic invasion of the north west, but not for long. The memories survived in Gallego hearts and the Rite was revived and followed by all bishops up until the time of Diego Pelaez. Including Diego Pelaez, and that is an important point for our story.

Pelaez you will remember was consecrated by Sancho II, the about to be deposed and disposed of brother of Alfonso VI of Leon and Castille with whom by now, if you are a regular reader, you will be be becoming familiar.

It was an earlier Sancho, “the Great” who invited monks of Cluny to establish a monastery at San Juan de la Peña near Jaca, in Aragon. Richard Fletcher writes in St. James' Catapult that the Cluny monks were “expert at prayer for sin laden kings, and Sancho’s dynasty was to become very rich”.

We are left to make of this what we will.

In this the Order of Cluny gained an ecclesiastic foothold on Spanish soil as early as the first quarter of the 11th century. Aragon, however, is a goodly hike from Galicia (as many of you who have walked the lovely Camino Aragones will know), and the people of Galicia remained firmly entrenched in their Visigothic ways, with a bit of left over Priscillianism and pagan ways mixed in for good measure.

In the face of the Roman Church's hegemony, it was only a matter of time.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff!
    "This had the impact of isolating it in many ways." - Galicia means 'far land' like Galicië in Poland when that was still part of the Austrian-Hungarian double monarchy;