Monday, June 25, 2007

Spanish cardinal celebrates Mozarabic heritage

Toledo, Jun. 25, 2007 ( - Cardinal Antonio Canizares of Toledo, Spain celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy in the Mozarabic rite [NLM: Presumably in the post-conciliar form] on June 24 to mark the 1,400 anniversary of the birth of St. Ildephonsus, once the bishop of the city.

Later the cardinal led a procession of the relics of St. Ildephonsus, which are kept in the town of Zamora.

The Mozarabic rite, which was established on the Iberian peninsula before the Muslim conquest. When Pope Gregory VII extended the Roman rite to what was then the known Christian world, there was some resistance in Spain-- particularly among faithful Christians who lived in regions heavily influenced by the dominant Muslim culture. Those who resisted became known as "Mozarabs"-- the term used to identify Christians who had submitted to Islam.

The city of Toledo soon became a center of the Mozarabic liturgy, and the Christian tradition was preserved there through the centuries, despite Islamic pressure. In fact the Mozarabic rite became a focal point of Christian unity in Spain during the years when the society was under Muslim control.

In the 11th century, when Alphonse VI of Castille arrived in Toledo to reassert Christian control, the fate of the Mozarabic rite again became a controversial issue. Eventually a compromise was reached, allowing the used of the Mozarabic liturgy in six parish churches of Toledo. The Mozarabic tradition endures today in Toledo in among perhaps 1,000 Christian families elsewhere in the world.

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