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A SPANISH LEY - John Palmer



According to legend, the Montserrat monastery, surrounded by weird rock formations, dates back to 880, when the image of the Virgin (actually carved in the C12), said to have been brought to Barcelona by St. Peter, was hidden in a recess in a mountain at Montserrat at the time of the Moorish invasion, where it was rediscovered by shepherds. Gondemar, bishop of Vic, attempted to remove the image to Manresa, but on reaching the ledge where the monastery now stands, it refused to proceed further. (The idea of an image, or a saint's corpse halting at a certain spot is found at several other ancient places, connected with foundation legends of shrines.) A chapel was erected there, to which was added a nunnery, replaced in 976 by a Benedictine convent. The Spanish Pope Benedict XIII Luna raised the abbot in 1410 to the dignity of a mitre, with independence of Episcopal authority. During the Peninsular War the abbey was sacked by the French under General Suchet, after it had been fortified by the Somatenes (Catalan guerilleros.)

Consequently, the present monastery is largely modern and architecturally not of great interest, whilst the spectacular rock formations looming high above the monastery buildings can also be appreciated from the metalled main road below the site.

An alignment runs from San Miguel chapel (hermitage) through Montserrat monastery. Beyond Montserrat it bisects S.Antonio, and Ermita San Jeronimo (hermitage) and the summit of Tura de S.Jeronimo mountain, the highest peak in the Montserrat massif (1238m). From this mountain the view presumably extends along the alignment towards Montserrat. The alignment of sites here divulged is based upon a map, (to scale in abstract kms) printed in 1922.

The Sa.Cecilia chapel and Los Apostoles are two further points to be taken into consideration, for when connected by a straight line, this runs parallel to the Montserrat ley. A line drawn from Sa.Cecelia to S.Antonio also bisects Sn. Joan.

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