Cathedral of Monreale

Source: Willem Vandenameele

Monreale Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nuova , is the main place of Catholic worship of Monreale, in the Metropolitan City of Palermo.

According to legend, William II the Good , who succeeded his father to the throne of Sicily, is said to have fallen asleep under a carob tree while hunting in the woods of Monreale, seized by fatigue. In a dream, Our Lady appeared to him, to whom he was very devoted, who revealed to him the secret of a "truvatura" with these words: " In the place where you sleep, the greatest treasure in the world is hidden: Count up and build a temple in my honor." When he uttered these words, the Virgin disappeared and William, convinced of the revelation in a dream, ordered that the carob tree be uprooted and dug around it. With great surprise, a hoard of gold coins immediately destined for the construction of the cathedral of Monreale was discovered , which Greco-Byzantine mosaic masters ("the masters of l'oru") of the interior were called for its realization.

In the 12th century there was a political rivalry between the city of Palermo and the archbishop of the time. King William II of Sicily, who ruled the Norman kingdom of Sicily, supported the archbishop and decided to build the cathedral outside the city of Palermo, in nearby Monreale. This created a new religious and political center outside the city's sphere of influence. The construction of Monreale Cathedral was a project of King William II to show his political power and prestige. By building a majestic cathedral outside of Palermo, he wanted to emphasize his status as king and immortalize his name.


Source: Willem Vandenameele - ChatGPT

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