Thursday, September 28

The irreducible Llerena | Today

I was speaking to you a couple of Saturdays ago about Arroyomolinos de León, that town in the north of Huelva that in 1833 was forced to leave the province of Extremadura and rebelled because it wanted to be from Badajoz. I also told them about Cañaveral de León, the ‘matrioska’ town, which first split from Fuentes de León and then saw a part of its municipal area break off, absorbed by the neighboring town of Hinojales.

These rebellions are not isolated cases, but are part of a rebellious and schismatic historical tradition that characterizes this region in the north of Huelva and the south of Badajoz, which for 700 years was an independent diocese and when a papal bull ordered that it had to go to depend on that of Badajoz, the authorities and citizens of this region stood up and said no.

These towns belonged to the so-called priory of San Marcos de León, that is, a diocese constituted by the Order of Santiago (whose origin is the order of Los Fratres de Cáceres), founded in the convent of San Marcos de León in 1185 and with headquarters in the bishop’s church of Our Lady of Granada de Llerena.

Between 1185 and 1875, the diocese of Llerena functioned with all its pageantry, power and spiritual light. But in 1873, the bull ‘Quo Gravius’ ordered that these towns pass to the diocese of Badajoz. Francisco Maesso, provisor of the Llerena diocese, said none, that his bishopric was deeply rooted in the region, that the faithful did not want to change their episcopal jurisdiction, that the bull had not been authorized by the government and that, finally, green They have been mowed down.

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And the dance began, which was not small because the entire ancient diocese rebelled with the priests of each parish in front and the citizens behind. It was a complete revolution. Here there were not only documentary protests like in Arroyomolinos de León when 40 years before they were forced to go to Huelva, but there were bull runs, demonstrations and, finally, a very modern movement in which they participated from Llerena to Fuentes de León, from Arroyomolinos , which would later pass to the diocese of Seville, up to Cabeza la Vaca.

This Francisco Maesso, a man of arms, expelled the very attorney general of the episcopal curia when he arrived in the capital of the old and current diocese, that is, Llerena, to take possession of the new diocesan territory of Badajoz. Once the emissary was expelled, he ignited the schismatic revolt with the faithful locking themselves in the churches with their priests and the people demonstrating. There was no mayor who did not give his approval to the schism of Llerena and his former priory of León and even the judges rose up, supported the revolt and refused to recognize the Bishop of Badajoz.

The situation became tricky in all those towns with the surname of León: Calera, Segura, Fuentes, Arroyomolinos, Fuentes… And the authorities, who could not allow so much opposition, began to imprison the priests who refused to obey the bishop of Badajoz.

Despite the repression, the schism lasted two years. Between 1873 and 1875, Llerena and the priory of León were an independent and indomitable diocese. But the Church itself had run into the Church, the government took action on the matter, forced the equidistant governor to take sides with the Bishop of Badajoz. It didn’t help at all because Llerena mutinied again. But the powerful won. The rebellious Llerena and its towns ‘of León’ were returned to the fold, Maesso surrendered, the rebellious priests were expelled from their parishes and thus the schism in these irreducible towns ended.

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