06 Apr The Strange Story of Cordoba’s Disputed Cathedral
By Peter De Trolio III
THE GUADALQUIVIR RIVER ON THE ANCIENT ROMAN BRIDGE: Cordoba is an ancient dwelling place, settled long before the Romans built their monumental city (featured image)
MASSIVE GATEWAY TO HONOR THE ROMAN GOD JANUS: The Romans built their temple to Janus, the god of beginnings and endings and doorways, near this ancient doorway opposite the bridge on the mighty Guadalquivir.
SAME PLACE, SAME USE: Earlier generations repeatedly utilized spaces/locations for government, commercial and religious use. In Cordoba, the current City Hall sits on the ruins of the Roman Forum. The position of this prominent building within the ancient city center remains precisely the same as in antiquity.
CORDOBA IN THE TIME OF CHRIST: One of the few Roman cities which the invading Muslim hordes did not demolish and re-locate, today’s Cordoba is Mozarabe Cordoba, which was previously Visigothic Cordoba and before that Roman Cordoba.
600 AD: When Hispania became Catholic, the major Roman temples were converted into Churches, and so it was with Cordoba’s temple to Janus, which made way for the Church of Saint Vincent, Martyr.
711 AD: When the Muslim Berbers overran Spain, the Christians were forced to cede half for use by the conquerors for their prayer. The Christians were guaranteed the continued use of the rest.
784 AD: As the Muslim population grew through apostasy and repopulation, the space grew too small. Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Rahman I purchased the Christian half, in return allowing them to re-construct the decayed and demolished Churches of St. Faustus, St. Januarius and St. Marcellus.
A MOSQUE TO RIVAL ANY IN THE WORLD: The Caliph demolished the Church of St. Vincent, Martyr and on its foundation began the construction of the massive edifice that his descendants would finish.
In 987 AD the Great Mosque of Cordoba was finished, including the famous patio of the orange trees, with its intricate system of irrigation.
AN ARCHITECTURAL WONDER: Supported by 110 extraordinary columns — many from Roman ruins – the Cordoba Mosque’s red and white horseshoe arches have become legendary.
A PLACE OF WORSHIP FOR THE MUSLIM OCCUPIERS OF CORDOBA until the Crusading army of the Kingdom of Castile freed the city from the oppressive yoke of Islam. In 1236, Saint Fernando III, King of Castile re-conquered the city.
SAINT FERNANDO GAVE THE MOSQUE to the Archdiocese of Cordoba, re-established, to use as its Cathedral. The most magnificent place of worship in the city, Our Lady of the Assumption has remained Cordoba’s Cathedral ever since.
MADONNA OF THE MOSQUE: Part of modifications made in order to accommodate Christian worship, always respecting the building’s essential architectonical magnificence.
OVER THE LAST DECADE AND A HALF, immigrant Muslims have agitated to have the Cathedral returned to use by them for prayer. Both the Archdiocese and the Vatican have disapproved these requests.
THERE HAS BEEN A MOVE BY EXTREME ANTI-CATHOLIC LEFTISTS in the “Junta de Andalucia” — the governing body of the autonomous community of Andalucia — to secularize the Cathedral and its priceless art and force the Archdiocese to turn it over to the government.
SUCH CYNICAL POLITICAL MANEUVERING is, of course, a ruse of the Left. Observers say that the plan is to bestow the building on the Muslims as a slap in the face to the Church.
AN ENORMOUS GRASS ROOTS CAMPAIGN HAS SPRUNG UP TO DEFEND THE CATHEDRAL, as Christians fear that if the Junta wishes to force the issue, there could be major political disturbances.
LET US PRAY that the Cathedral remains in the hands of the Archdiocese of Cordoba and the Holy Mass continues to be sung there daily as it has been for the last 779 years. “Asi sea.”