Via Gates of Vienna,
SPAIN: PARISH PRIEST ‘DISARMS’ SAINT, DEVOTEES REBEL (paragraph breaks added)
Saint James ‘the Moors killer’ – ‘matamoros’ according to the Spanish tradition – remained without sword, after the decision of the parish priest of the village of Nieva de Cameros, in the province of La Rioja, to eliminate the weapon clasped by the Saint’s statue, kept in the Church of Saint Martin.
But the decision did not appeal to everyone, so much so that in Spain a widespread controversy, which also appeared on the Web, has arisen. The nickname of ‘matamoros’, which designates the apostle Saint James (Santiago in Spanish) especially along the route of the Way of Saint James towards Santiago de Compostela, was given to the Saint because of the legend which spread during the Reconquest.
The legend says that in the year 859 the King of Galicia, Ordono I, while fighting with his soldiers against the Muslims, saw a knight on a white horse appear to his rescue; the knight launched into the battle and managed to defeat the enemy. Since then, Saint James the apostle has become a symbol of the Reconquest, depicted with the sword in hand on a white horse.
This decision [Ftr Jose’ Luis Fernandez’s] has divided the devotees of the parish church and has triggered also an inflamed and controversial debate on the Internet. To begin with, don Fernandez decided to ”disarm” Matamoros on July 25, on the occasion of the day of Santiago, patron Saint of the village: ”I did not approve of the fact that the statue would be carried in procession through the village brandishing the sword”, the priest told the media. The priest had prepared beforehand the devotees to the Saint’s radical change of image with a sermon focused on the fifth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill. ”The sermon was also inspired by the sentence uttered by Jesus to the Apostle Peter: Put your sword in the scabbard,” don Fernandez explained. Then, after a quick survey among the village’s residents, the priest decided to remove the sword, embedded in the hand of the Saint through a jointed piece of iron, and to place it in front of the horse’s hoofs, ”so that, instead of representing a symbol of violence, it might be trampled and disowned by Santiago”, the priest remarked.
Thus Santiago, who has become the ex-Moors killer, appeared on the pages of the local newspapers. But he has stirred up also a lively debate on the Internet, where on the blog Urania, for instance, the disarmament is defined as ”a supreme act of violence” which responds ”to the migratory invasion of Europe by 30 million Muslims”. But the priest strenuously defended his decision: ”Santiago cannot be Matamoros, because he never killed anybody,” he said.
Father Pepe must be drinking deeply from the revisionist well.
Spanish blogger Urania titles her post VIOLENCIA CLERICAL CONTRA SANTIAGO MATAMOROS, clerical violence against Santiago, the ‘Son of Thunder’.
Mind you, disarming Santiago is a powerful symbollic gesture. There’s good reason for the debate – while the priest of that small parish disarmed Santiago, Santiago is the national patron of Spain and the subject of one of the most famous religious pilgrimages, the Camino de Santiago.