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….