Days ago we spoke in an entry of this WEB of the inscription that is on the door of the church. We add something about it that may be of interest to our readers.
After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Monforte by order of Carlos III, the Prosecutor of His Majesty Don Pedro Rodríguez Campomanes, ordered that all the arms, emblems and symbols of the Society of Jesus be erased, with the obligation to put in their place the “Royal Arms of the Crown.”
It was, at that time, Corregidor de Monforte D. Bernardo Cayetano Losada y Somoza, who was commissioned by the Government to take over the affairs of this “Royal House of Education” and eagerly assumed the task of making the shields, emblems and symbols disappear of the Company that erased …
– the anagram of the Jesuits of the two main doors of the façade,
– from the upper internal part of the doors that connect the church with the two cloisters,
– from the main altar
– from the pulpit
– and four rose windows in the vault of the main cloister.
There is a tradition among the people of Monforte, according to which this Government Commissioner, after erasing all the insignia of the Jesuits that he could, even wanted to erase the inscription that exists, although somewhat deteriorated, on the main door of the church, But, when he began his destructive work, a gentleman of the town, seeing what the Commissioner wanted to do, could not contain his indignation, he approached determined to prevent him, pulling the ladder where he was standing, causing him a resounding fall, with great damage to their physical integrity.
Given this fact, opinions were divided into two opposing sides and some disorders occurred, but the inscription was never erased, and some damage caused in such an attempt can still be seen.
In an entry on this page of March 12 of this year, entitled “VISIT OF THE COSELLEIRO DE CULTURA” we reported on the restoration works that are going to be carried out in the Cardenal College building, affecting the church, among other areas . After a meeting held last Friday, April 30, and after addressing the intervention and safety studies, it has been decided to provisionally close the church to worship because it is impossible to combine worship and restoration works.
Therefore from next week the service will be closed until next August, we understand that at the end of it.
Since the main works have to be done when there are no children at school and for that, take advantage of the months of June, July and August.
We really feel this circumstance that in some other case has been repeated. In the eighties of the last century because of a lightning strike and at the beginning of the twentieth century due to the restoration works, a circumstance that forced the church to be re-consecrated as stated on the marble plaque that is located in the presbytery.
Father Esteban Martínez tells us, in his book on the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua, that for the good organization and progress of the College, after the expulsion of the Frs. Jesuits of Monforte by order of Carlos III, the Countess of Lemos, Mrs. Rosa María de Castro, commissioned her confessor, Dr. D. Melchor Borruel, to draw up some “Constitutions or Regulations”, which would serve as a norm and guide for the development of school life. She knew how to reflect them in the 34 chapters that make up said “Constitutions or Regulations.” They are striking for their rigidity and demands, which, to a modern mind, would seem too rigorous and almost inhuman, but it was the usual in those days.
To illustrate what has been said, we copy some of the provisions that most reflect the mentality of the times in which they were written.
The second chapter contains the obligations of the students, both internal and external, she says like this:
1°) The children of the Schools, Grammarians, Philosophers and Theologians will attend every day to the literary exercises at the appointed hours, and with the greatest punctuality, to the Seminary Mass, as well as the days of study and those of party and holidays.
2 °) At the ring of prayers they will be collected from their homes and will not leave them again until the next day; not occurring any urgency that makes it precise and indispensable.
3 °) All card games are strictly prohibited; tabas and dice; and they are only allowed that; on holidays and holidays; in the afternoon; They can enjoy fair and honest games on the College Field and not elsewhere.
4th) They are banned, equally, entry into taverns; suspicious ovens and houses.
5 °) Likewise, they are prohibited from keeping hunting dogs; shotguns; pistols and any other genre of weapons.
As we can see, the concerns of those times were different, but we can see the concern for the good of the students and their good customs….
Having just counted the accounts of the FCNSdlA, they show the following balance of income and expenses, although we note the € 11,309.16 that the foundation contributed from its own funds to meet the expenses of the past 2020.
We want to thank all those who have made donations for their effort and interest in maintaining the cultural heritage and educational quality of Colegio PP. Piarists.
Starting in 1546, Rodrigo de Castro lived under the protection of his brother, Pedro, who had been promoted to the bishopric of Salamanca and who in 1548 was appointed chaplain to the still Prince Felipe. This allowed Rodrigo de Castro to be part of the entourage of the future monarch, who in that year began a great triumphal journey through the territories of the Empire. He returned to accompany Philip II in 1554, when he traveled to England, on the occasion of the King’s marriage to Queen Maria Tudor. The following year he went to Rome, commissioned – as secretary of the figure – to help his other brother, Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Marquis of Sarria, in his difficult but successful embassy before Paul IV. In 1559, credited as a skilled diplomat, he returned to Spain and received priestly orders in Cuenca. Shortly after, he participated directly, as an advisor to the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, in the long process against Archbishop Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo.
At the end of 1564, he was commissioned by Felipe II to manage in Rome the authorization that would allow the Inquisition itself to be sentenced.
After several months of sterile negotiations, Rodrigo de Castro chose to suggest an intermediate solution: the sending of a special legacy with broad powers, which would sentence Carranza in Spain.
His good offices were decisive to achieve the concord granted in Elvas, on Christmas Eve 1580. Shortly after, Rodrigo was proposed to rule the archdiocese of Seville; But before taking possession of it, he had to attend a new royal commission: to receive in Barcelona the Infanta Maria, widow of Emperor Maximilian II, and accompany her after her to Lisbon, where Felipe II had planned to wait for her. After fulfilling the assignment, in which he invested a good part of the year, Rodrigo still remained in Lisbon for nine months, intervening as a witness at the same time in the process that followed Antonio Pérez, former royal secretary.
In the summer of 1598, Rodrigo de Castro moved to the Court, responding to the call of Felipe II, who died shortly after his arrival. In Madrid he still remained for several months and at the beginning of the year he moved to Valencia, as the late monarch had commissioned him to receive the future queen Margarita in Vinaroz. The de Castro returned to Seville in mid-May, Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, whose life would be extinguished shortly after his return to Seville, stood out as a detached protector of writers and artists, but his memory survived above all due to his gestures and foundations, all generously endowed. The Collection of Lost Girls and the Annual Alms for Poor Prisoners are well known in Seville, as well as the support he provided to the schools of San Hermenegildo and San Gregorio and other Jesuit foundations in Jerez and Écija. But more than these stood out those that benefited his native Monforte; here ended the Franciscan convent founded by his grandfather, Count Rodrigo Osorio, and continued by his mother, Countess Beatriz, who died without seeing them finished.
In 1593 he also founded the magnificent Colegio de Nuestra Señora de la Antigua – better known as del Cardenal – in Monforte de Lemos, which was his great project and whose management he left entrusted to the Society of Jesus. He died on September 18, 1600. He was buried in the Cathedral of Seville and later, in 1603, according to what was expressed in his will, which he had granted on August 12, 1598, his remains were transferred to the church of the Montfort school. that he had founded.
In the book that Father Esteban Martínez wrote about the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua, he gives news of an epidemic that severely affected the works. He tells us like this:
“The works continued, at the beginning of 1598, under the direction of Juan de Tolosa; but, a few months later, they suffered another stoppage, perhaps due to the shortage of workers caused by a terrible epidemic that, coming from France, spread rapidly through Spain, becoming more serious in Santander and Galicia. Six of this Jesuit community died, among them the Rector, Fr. Juan Sa, and his successor, Fr. Juan de los Cobos, “an amateur and expert in architecture, who was not content to encourage the workers, but he He himself was working so that the College could be used as soon as possible.
Others left, after resisting for some time, leaving only, for two or three months, Brother Valentín Rodríguez, guarding the house and other property, in the company of some dogs. “
Thus we find news about this epidemic of which it was said.
“Starting from the Cantabrian Sea, the plague ravaged Castile between 1598 and 1602, being more virulent in the north and west of the peninsula. Historians such as Bennassar and Pérez Moreda underlined its intensity, with an average mortality rate of over 60%, as well as its dire consequences for the economic development and social balance of the neighborhoods. ” (ABC Toledo 03/05/2020)
“« The plague that struck Vigo in 1598 only left 22 of the 800 existing houses without being infected » Jorge Lamas, Vigo / La Voz 04/11/2020
Felipe Aira, historian from Monforte published in the Voice of Galicia an article in this regard, entitled -Monforte, closed at the end of the 16th century due to the plague and a “cold epidemic” from which we take part of a municipal document of the time.
«En la villa de Monforte de lemos a catorce dias del mes de julio del nobenta y ocho años, el licenciado Ruy gomez corregidor desta villa dixo que por quanto las puertas de esta villa y los postillos de la cerca en las partes que estan caidas y la puerta de nuevo se hiço en la puente y otras que estan en Santo antonio estan mal hechas y todo tiene necesidad de repararse de nuevo y de cerrarse del todo algunos caminos para guardedela peste y que no entren en estadha villa y suarrabaldo persona ninguna de los pueblos inpcionados».
This epidemic was the culprit of another stoppage in the works of the College.
In the biography of the founder of our school in Monforte, D. Rodrigo de Castro Osorio, we find the following dates on his ecclesiastical career:
• Bishop of Zamora from 1574 to 1578 • Bishop of Cuenca from 1578 to 1581, • Archbishop of Seville since. October 20, 1581 to September 20, 1600 • Cardinal on December 15, 1583, being he already Archbishop of Seville, appointed by Pope Gregory XIII.
In addition, he was a member of the Council of the Kingdom of Spain and of the Supreme Council of the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of Felipe II, who died two years before the Cardinal died in September 1600.
As the works of the school began in 1593, a simple check of dates shows us that when the Nª Sª de la Antigua School began to be built, its promoter Don Rodrigo de Castro Osorio was already a cardinal for ten years, archbishop since 12 years and bishop for 19 years. These dates should not be relevant except because in the heraldry of the Building in which there are several shields of the Cardinal, we find shields that speak of the three stages of the ecclesiastical life of the Cardinal.
Thus we find shields of the cardinal as bishop, with the cord that comes down from the hat with three tassels on each side. These shields are eight, four are on the pendentives of the dome carried by angels, the work of Francisco de Moure, another two are in granite in the presbytery itself, one on the left over the Cardinal’s tomb and one on the right, over the painting of Nª Señora de la Antigua behind which is the tomb of her mother, the Countess of Lemos Beatriz de Castro “A Fermosa” (1480 – 1570). The other two shields, in walnut wood, crown the Moure altarpiece in the attic of the same, one to the right and the other to the left.
We find another shield, this time as an archbishop, that is, with a hat and a cord with four tassels. It is found in the monumental cloister, in the south panel, matching three other shields: Alba’s house, in front of the Cardinal’s shield; Lemos House to the west and the coat of arms of the Order of PP. Piarists to the east.
Along with these, another magnificent shield, this time cardinal, with a hat and a cord of five tassels that stands magnificently carved in the granite stone of the façade above the church door and under the imposing coat of arms of King Felipe III, surrounded by the golden fleece with its hanging fleece. There are many unanswered questions to this. Why is it that all the shields are not those that corresponded to him as a cardinal? Is that distribution intentional? What was the intention behind the distribution? I think that the message that Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro wanted to send is simple and simple and triple: • For the church I am a bishop – which is the highest degree of the priestly order – For this reason the eight episcopal shields are found within the church. • For the palace I am an archbishop. The archiepiscopal shield is found in the monumental cloister, the living area of the religious community. Since being Archbishop is nothing more than an appointment of an administrative-managerial type, an archbishop is nothing more than “a coordinator of bishops”, but being an archbishop does not add anything to being a bishop in terms of the sacrament of orders.
• I am a cardinal to the world. That is why the only cardinal’s shield appears on the façade, in the center, under that of the king. It is a princely title, a Cardinal is an official of the Catholic Church, a member of the Vatican College of Cardinals. His main function is to help and advise the Pope in the decisions and purposes of him to fulfill. The title of Cardinal is imposed only by the Pope and represents one of the highest endowments in the Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church.
The etymology of the word Cardinal perfectly describes its function, as it comes from the Latin “Cardo” which means “Hinge or Support Point”. The axis on which all the weight rotates….
In the center of the façade and on the door of the church is the dedication that tries to explain the existence and destiny of the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua. The inscription reads like this:
RODER, CARD´DECASTRO AR CHEP HSPS TEMPLUM VIRGI NI MAR COLEG SOCIET.JES. IN M USZUM IVVET. UT DOTAVIT.
Father Esteban in his magnificent book on the school of Nº Sª de la Antigua makes the following translation:
Cardinal D. Rodrigo de Castro; Archbishop of Seville, donates to the Society of Jesus for the use of the youth temple and school consecrated to the Virgin Mary.
This translation is something free and omits some element and adds others that do not appear in the dedication. Thus, the treatment of “Don” to the Cardinal does not seem to be justified from the inscription itself, as well as the “consecration” of the temple and school to the Virgin Mary.
The abbreviation “M” at the end of the third line is not clarified either. It is also understood that due to the reduced space and the visibility that the text must have from the height of the street, some particles are omitted and words are abbreviated, which in the end ends up causing difficulty in interpreting the text.
On the “Don” it is undoubtedly an addition of Fr. Esteban since it does not appear in the inscription nor is it usual to place it before the name of the cardinals. Similarly, the idea of the “consecration” of the temple does not seem to be justified in the text.
On the “M” at the end of the third line, we see that it is preceded by the particle IN, which translated by “EN” opens up two explanations:
You can refer to a place. If this is so, the “M” would represent a place and there is no other explanation in this case than to refer to “Monforte”.
Another explanation with more possibilities would explain the intention of the dedication and we would have to see after the “M” the Latin word Memoriam. IN MEMORIAM, this would be telling us that the inscription is an invitation to remember the Cardinal for what he did.
Therefore, I dare to suggest a new translation of the said dedication, which, without varying much in essence from what Father Esteban indicated, I think is more in line with the literalness of this beautiful stone inscription. It would be like this:
R0DERICUS CARDINAL DE CASTRO, ARCHIEPISCOPUS HISPALENSIS, TEMPLUM VIRGINI MARIAE COLEGIUM SOCIETATIS JESUS IN MEMORIAM USUM IUVENTUTEM UT DOTAVIT
The first option and in the most understandable Spanish
In memory of Rodrigo, Cardinal de Castro, Archbishop of Seville, who donated the Temple of the Virgin Mary and the College to the Society of Jesus for the use of the youth.
The second option would be
Rodrigo, Cardinal de Castro, Archbishop of Seville, who donated to the Society of Jesus in Monforte the Temple of the Virgin Mary and the College for the use of the youth.