The Fight for the Mozarabic Rite Continued: Liturgical Trial by Fire

One of our earlier posts recounted the story told by Roderic, Archbishop of Toledo, about the trial by combat in held in 11th century Spain between the champions of the Roman rite and of the autochthonous Mozarabic rite. The imposition of the Roman rite on Spain was an enterprise pursued by King Alphonse VI, who reconquered Toledo—the ancient capital of the Visigothic kingdom—from the Mohammedans in 1085. As part of his efforts to consolidate his power, he saw fit, like Charlemagne centuries before him, to promote liturgical unity within his kingdom, with the support of Rome and Cluny. The Chronicle of the Cluniac monastery of Sahagún explains:

Alphonse VI, king of Castile, Leon, and Galicia, “Emperor of the Spains”.

After rising to the lofty and magnificent royal estate of his kingdom, in the eleventh year of his reign, he [Alphonse VI], amongst other things he very laudably and piously did, procured that in all Spain the divine office be celebrated according to the use of the Roman Church, seeking the approval of the most honourable lord Gregory the Seventh of the apostolic see. [1]

Alphonse carried out his design of establishing the Roman rite in Spain ruthlessly, despite the setbacks not only of the trial by combat, but also of a trial by fire. The chronicle of Nájera reports:

Thus the aforesaid king Alphonse, after he had taken up the government of the kingdoms, sent emissaries to Rome to Pope Hildebrand, who is called Gregory the Seventh, that he might establish the celebration of the Roman rite in all his kingdom. And so the Pope remembered his cardinal Richard, an abbot from Marseilles, and sent him to Spain. He held a noble and general council in Burgos and ordered that the divine office be done according to the Roman custom in the whole kingdom of the aforesaid king.

In the era 1115, on Palm Sunday [9 April 1077], two knights fought in Burgos, one of king Alphonse for the Roman law and the other a Castilian, namely Lope Martínez de Matanza, for the Toledan law; and the king’s knight was defeated. Moreover, while they were still fighting, a great fire was lit in the middle of the plaza, and two books were thrown therein, one containing the Roman office and the other containing the Toledan office, under this condition: that the office be kept of whichever book might escape the flames unharmed. But since the Toledan [book] made a great leap out of the fire, the king, made wroth, forthwith returned it to the fire with a kick, saying, “The horns of the laws bend before the will of kings”. [2]

We return to Archbishop Roderic’s chronicle, which recalls the trial by fire thus:

Since a great riot broke out after this [the trial by combat] amongst the knights and the people, it was finally resolved that the book of the Toledan office and the book of the Gallican [i.e. Roman] office would be placed in a great bonfire. After the primate, legate, and clergy ordered everyone to fast, and everyone having made a devout prayer, the book of the Gallican office was consumed by the fire; and, while everyone watched and praised God, the book of the Toledan office jumped out of all the flames of fire, remaining altogether unharmed and untouched by the burning of the fire. But since the king was bold and pertinaciously carried out his will, he was not afraid of the miracle, nor was he persuaded to bend to the supplications. Instead, threatening those who resisted with the death penalty and expropriation, he ordered that the Gallican office be observed in all the lands of his kingdom. And then, while everyone wept and was grieved, he coined the proverb, “Laws go whither kings will.”

And thereafter the Gallican office, which had never before been received, was observed in Spain in the psalter as well as in everything else, even though in some monasteries [the Mozarabic use] was kept for some time, and indeed the [Hispanic] translation of the psalter is still to-day recited in many cathedral churches and monasteries.

One cannot help but admire the fortitude and tenacity wherewith against such powerful forces these doughty Castilians defended the liturgy bequeathed to them by their forefathers Sts Isidore and Leander. Would that more of the faithful had shown the same zeal for the liturgy handed down by their forefathers during the calamitous course of the 20th century liturgical “reforms”!

An illustration of the trial by fire found in an edition of the Mozarabic Missal published in 1770 in Mexico (taken from the Liturgical Arts Journal).

[1] El qual, despues que suuio en el alteça e magnifico estado rreal de su rreyno, entre otras cosas muchas que muy loable e rreligiosamente fiço, en el onçeno año de su rreino procuro, suplicando al baron de muy onrrada vida Gregorio setimo en la silla apostolical, que en toda España fuese çelebrado el diuinal ofiçio segun que la iglesia rromana acostumbraba.

[2] Prefatus itaque rex Aldefonsus postquam regnorum suscepit regimina, nuntios Romam misit ad papam Aldebrandum qui cognominatus est Gregorius septimus, ut Romanum ministerium in omni regno suo constitueret celebrandum. Memoratus itaque papa cardinalem suum Ricardum, abbatem Massiliensem in Yspaniam misit; qui apud Burgensem ciuitatem nobile et generale concilium celebrans diuinum officium iuxta Romanam consuetudinem in omni regno predicti regis haberi mandauit.

Era MCXV.a in Dominica de ramis palmarum apud Burgis pugnauerunt duo milites, unus regis Aldefonsi pro lege Romana et alter Castellanus, scilicet Lupus Martinez de Matanza, pro lege Toletana; et uictus est miles regis. Super quo illis adhuc contendentibus, accenso magno igne in platee medio missi sunt in eum duo libri, unus Romanum officium continens alter uero officium continens Toletanum, sub tali conditione: ut cuius modi liber ignem illesus euaderet, eius officium teneretur. Sed cum Toletanus magnum extra ignem saltum dedisset, mox rex iratus illum in ignem pede reiciens dixit: «ad libitum regum fletantur cornua legum». (Until the introduction of the Anno Domini system in the 14th-15th centuries, years were reckoned in Spain as “eras” starting on 38 BC, considered to be the beginning of the Pax Romana in Hispania.)

[3] Cumque super hoc magna sedicio in milicia et populo oriretur, demum placuit ut liber officii Toletani et liber officii Gallicani in magna ignis congerie ponerentur; et indicto omnibus ieiunio a primate, legato et clero et oratione ab omnibus deuote peracta, igne consumitur liber officii Gallicani et prosiliit super omnes flammas incendii, cunctis uidentibus et Deum laudantibus, liber officii Toletani illesus omnino et a combustione incendii alienus. Set cum rex esset magnanimus et sue uoluntatis pertinax executor, nec miraculo territus nec supplicatione suasus uoluit inclinari, set mortis supplicia et direptionem minitans resistentibus precepit ut Gallicanum officium in omnibus regni sui finibus seruaretur. Et tunc cunctis flentibus et dolentibus prouerbium inoleuit: «Quo uolunt reges uadunt leges».

Et ex tunc Gallicanum officium tam in Psalterio quam in aliis, numquam ante susceptum, fuit in Hispaniis obseruatum, licet in aliquibus monasteriis fuerit aliquanto tempore custoditum, et etiam translatio Psalterii in plurimis ecclesiis cathedralibus et monasteriis adhuc hodie recitatur. 

The Cross in the Sand: Missionaries in Spanish Florida

Spanish Florida
Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Augustine

Michael Gannon’s The Cross in the Sand is a moving account of the Church’s missionary efforts in Spanish Florida from its origins up to the 20th century. Among stories of heroic martyrdom, it contains several marvelous episodes of a liturgical nature. The book gets off to an encouraging start with this triumphant introduction:

“…on six subsequent Spanish explorations to the Florida shoreline from 1521 to 1565, priests of the Church were here to raise the Cross in the sand and to offer unnumbered Masses on wilderness altars. In the striking phrase of the nineteenth-century historian John Gilmary Shea, ‘The altar was older than the hearth.’

Wherever the historian’s eye is cast, there stands the altar with its surmounting Cross–Stat crux cum [sic] volvitur orbis. Around that altar there gathered, at one date or another, all the great names that made up our state’s early history, when La Florida was an outpost of empire and a curve on the rim of Christendom. With but one brief interruption, from 1763 to 1768, the practice of the Catholic Faith was a distinguishing feature of our state’s early culture, and the proudly worn badge of many of her people: priests and friars, conquistadors and hidalgos, soldiers and statesmen, Indians from the swamps and shoreland, Spaniards and Minorcans, rich and poor, the innocent and the repentant–they were a long line of stout men, and if there was any evil in them, there was also much good; and if at times they stooped to small and mean things, they also rose to heights of courage and generosity and sacrifice which are the real patens of nobility and the expected fruits of Christian life.”

1) During Hernando De Soto’s “indomitable procession” through parts of Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas in the 1540s, all of the vestments and vessels needed for Mass were destroyed in a battle. A chronicler relates how the expedition proceeded:

“Thereafter, an altar was erected and decorated on Sundays and holy days of obligation. Standing at the altar, a priest, vested in a buckskin chasuble, said the Confiteor, the Introit of the Mass, and the Oration, Epistle, and the Gospel, and all the rest up to the end of the Mass without consecrating. The Spaniards call this the Misa seca; and the one who said the Mass, or another priest, read the Gospel and delivered a sermon on it. From this they derived consolation in the distress they felt at not being able to adore our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ under the sacramental species. This lasted for almost three years, until the time they left Florida for the land of the Christians [Mexico]” (pg. 8).

2) The celebration of the Spanish landing at what would become St. Augustine parish, Sept. 8th, 1565:

“On Saturday the 8th, the General landed with many banner spread, to the sound of trumpets and salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a Cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn, Te Deum Laudamus. The General, followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the Cross, knelt, and kissed it. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all they saw done.

A solemn Mass was then offered in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. . . It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land. It was also the beginning of the parish of St. Augustine and of the permanent service of the Catholic Church in what is now the United States” (pp. 26-27).


3) The education of the Indians at a mission near St. Augustine:

“The chapel at Nombre de Dios was a handsome stone structure complete with statues of the saints, and his Indians were by this time so well instructed they sang High Mass and Vespers on Sundays” (pg. 43).

4) From a detailed report written by the visiting bishop of Havana, Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon, on the piety of the Florida Indians:

“As to their religion, they are not idolaters, and they embrace with devotion the mysteries of our holy Faith. They attend Mass with regularity at eleven o’clock on the Holy Days they observe, namely, Sunday, and the feasts of Christmas, the Circumcision, Epiphany, the Purification of Our Lady, and the feast days of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and All Saints’ Day, and before entering the church each one brings to the house of the priest a log of wood as a contribution. They do not talk in the church, and the women are separated from the men, the women on the Epistle side, the men on the Gospel side.

They are very devoted to the Virgin, and on Saturdays they attend [church] when her Mass is sung. On Sundays they attend the Rosary and the Salve in the afternoon. They celebrate with rejoicing and devotion the Birth of Our Lord, all attending the midnight Mass with offerings of loaves, eggs, and other food. They subject themselves to extraordinary penances during Holy Week, and during the twenty-four hours of Holy Thursday and Friday. . . they attend standing, praying the rosary in complete silence–twenty-four men, twenty-four women, and twenty-four children–with hourly changes. The children, both male and female, are taught by a teacher whom they call the Athequi [interpreter] of the church–[a person] whom the priests have for this service; as they also have someone deputized to report to them on all parishioners who live in evil” (pg. 66).

Theophilus Raynaudus’s Christianum Sacrum Acathistum (2): Section One

(See the introduction to this work in a previous post.)

In the first section of Christianum Acathistum, Fr. Raynaud explains the surprise with which he had discovered, upon his return to France (in 1651?), after his Roman teaching days, that the people of Lyon had begun the novel practice of sitting during Mass, on small seats and chairs brought in for that purpose. It appears the practice had not abated ten years later when he published this treatise.

Before he begins his invective against pews, he summarizes some plausible arguments for the practice from Scripture, the Fathers, reason, and tradition.

The novel custom of bringing in seats for those assisting at the Christian sacrifice

Session of Christ
Session of Christ, Book of Kells

Scarcely a decade has passed since I returned from Italy and was astounded to discover the novel practice of bringing in a seat [sellam] or chair [cathedram] for those assisting at the Mass, for which one is charged a small fee. When I asked at what point  and on whose watch this novelty had arisen, I was told things it would be better not to repeat. For many things are shamelessly invented about good people and freely bandied around. It is better to be discreet about such things, lest innocent men be sullied or besmirched by the telling alone. What is at least clear is that, once this novelty was brought in, it instantly attracted the attention of  superfluous little busy-bodies. Now it happens that on feast days, whenever someone comes to the Church to fulfill the Church’s precept of hearing Mass, some contemptible men from the basest grade of the people, along with their wives and young children, run up and accost him with great obsequiousness. Even unbidden and unpaid, they bring in a chair on which the person may lean or sit upon as they please. It is as if the chair were a monastic psyatius (?), upon which the monks of old would lean or sit on in turns (as Nebridius correctly observed in Monastic Antiquities). This “session” [sessimonium] (to use a word of Varro) causes so much impediment in the holy temple that those who want to move around can do so only with great difficulty, since the seats are dispersed so tumultuously through almost the whole church that it is a great labor even to approach the chancery.

Interior with a friar preaching, a follower_of_hendrick_van_steenwyck_ii_interior_of_a_gothic_church_with)
Interior of a Cathedral with Friar Preaching, A follower of Henryck van Steenwyck

There are some who find it useful to bring in a sort of ground-covering for themselves. For most people are frail, and unable to pray on their knees for very long. What would happen to these people if they fell into the hands of a prolix priest—the sort William of Paris rails against for mixing gall into the food of the people of God and rendering the highest exercise of Christian piety bitter by protracting the celebration of Mass. Knee-butchers and candle-wasters, executioners of patience, you might justly call them, following Gabriel and Major on this point. So, what is weak man to do, falling into the hands of one of these interminably-sacrificing priests, if he is deprived of a seat? But with the help of a seat he can assist piously at even a longish Mass, as long as he puts down his knees when the divine host is raised, sitting for the rest of the sacred service to flatter his infirmity. And he may find refuge in the precedent of St. Anselm who (as Edinerus relates), sought use of a chair to sit on when he assisted at Mass, and did sit for many days. Being so weak in body, and not wanting to be deprived of hearing daily Mass, yet unable to assist praying on his knees, he sat on a small chair for the duration of the sacrifice at which he so greatly desired to be. Therefore, why should those who know themselves to be weak not follow the example of such a great man?

interior engraving.jpg
For those who are not able to protest their bodily weakness and tired limbs, a seat is useful for avoiding dirt and stains from the unwashed floor.  For many arrive with shoes caked in the muck of the muddy streets, by whose tracks the floor becomes filthy . Nor is the place any less soiled, most of the time, by spit and other disgusting excretions that distract one at prayer (as the Master notes in S. Benedict of Aniane’s book). For the devil quickens and relaxes the excrements: as Cassian also warns. For not everyone is as S. Macarius of Alexandria, who (as Palladius says) for the sixty years after he received baptism, never spat upon the earth lest his tongue, sanctified by the touch and saliva of the priest who conferred his baptism, be dishonored by that ejection of spit. There are many who, no matter where they are, even in the temple of God, spit out the saliva that has richly collected, stimulated by the vigor of their humor, or when a copious fluxus of saliva urges. Not everyone has the same tender piety of S. Nonna who was careful not to spit in church, as Nazianzus records about her. Not everyone has that piety toward the church that the Roman had even toward that sewer called (according to Varro) Doliola. This was a ditch dug long ago when the Gauls were besieging the city, in which it was impious to spit, since the place was considered sacred. In the same way it was impious to spit in the sea because the whole of it was considered sacred, as Pliny notes when writing about Tyrides Magus. Thus many who come to the temple, restrained by no religious sense to abstain from spitting, strew the floor with the excretions of evil liquids and thus dishonor it.

Church interior  
There are even dogs who make their way into the temple whose feet are  often feculent and filthy, and they foul the floors with their muck and grime. It is also difficult, especially for the philocosmic sex (as S. Jerome calls the female one), especially for those whose expensive clothes might be sullied by brushing against the dirty floor as they kneel to pray during Mass. Thus a seat is a safeguard against all such ordure and justly despised filth. And so seats and stools are permitted on good grounds, at least for leaning, lest contact with the grimy floor spoil their splendid clothes and people make themselves unwholesomely dirty in the grime-coated floors.

dogs in belfast.jpg

Peeter Neeffs, Interior of Antwerp Cathedral. Note the wooden screens around all the altars.

But lest we think that either of these reasons settles the matter, we must also consider a third reason, which arises from the need to support the attention of the worshipper at prayer as conscientiously as possible. Tranquility of soul and body greatly conduces to this attention, and sitting contributes to quietude of mind. No weakness of body will weigh down the blessed in heaven, for all will be strong in justice, as Isaiah said. All will receive strength, and a corporal vigor excluding all weakness will abide forever in them. There will not be any violation of beauty, neither of the resurrected bodies nor of their clothes if the Blessed have them (this problem was amply discussed by Gabriel of Enhaus.) We need fear no such things there; for the world will all be gold as in the vision given to John, nor will any dirt be allowed in, but it will be more transparent than crystal and shinier than any glass. And yet the blessed, perpetually praising God, will have seats, seated upon which they will measure out an eternal hymnody, signifying their tranquility and rest. Many scriptures tell us this, as Christ says in Matthew 20: “to sit ad my right hand is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father”; Apocalypse 3 “to the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with my on my throne.” Paul in Ephesians 2 “raised us up with him and seated us with him in heaven.” A resplendent seat in heaven which belonged to one of the apostate angels was given to S. Francis as a reward for profound humility, and has been shown to one of that glorious Patriarch’s confreres, as St. Bonaventure says in his legend [….].

Interior of a Gothic Cathedral, Paul Vredeman de Vries

Christ sits at God’s right hand, as our faith teaches and Suarez proves very amply from the Scriptures and Fathers. Thus it is just that the sons of adoption, who belong to the Son of God, should be similar to him also in this. Thus the blessed will have seats to rest on in heaven, as an expression of their eternal rest. Why then should it not be allowed to the viatores to express by imitation the state of the comprehensi, and to sit while carrying out the work of God, acquiring tranquility of mind and body, which of all things is fitting for those at leisure for the worship of God? [….].

Of course the Apostles and the whole crowd of the faithful upon whom the Holy Spirit descended when he established the Catholic Church at the moment when the first Christian sacrifice was being performed (as we have shown in a complete work de prima Missa), are portrayed by Luke sitting as the spiritual flames rained down upon their heads. Hence Cardinal Cajetan has rightly argued that sitting is not a posture incongruous with Christian prayer. St. Gregory has this to say about sitting in order to exercise an interior judgment upon our souls, when he speaks about solitude: “When everything has been properly composed within him, he will sit down in peace. He will sit, subjecting his flesh to his soul, and issuing edicts from the tribunal of reason as if from a judicial bench, all his interior motions being as so many citizens. I say he will sit, with no fear of the adversary, conscious of no hostile attack. For to stand belongs to those who fight, but to sit belongs to those at leisure. He will also sit alone, which is to say, far removed from every disturbance of the carnal desires.”

Now both sitting and withdrawing are most appropriate for one receiving an internal judgment. So many have thought that during an exterior judgment the one who judges is required to sit. This is not only from seemliness, as Bouchius thought, but also from necessity, and the validity of the sentence depends on it. Though Menochius rejects this opinion, it is in conformity with the Scriptures, in which judgments are portrayed as taken place while sitting, as in Daniel 7: “iudicium, sedit, et libri aperti sunt.” and in Psalm 121: “Illic sederunt sedes in iudicio.” And elsewhere: “adversus me loquebantur qui sedebant in porta” [….]

In civil law, when the Praetor brings a case before the tribunal, he sits [….]

Interior of a cathedral, David Roberts (1822 or 1829)

All of which goes to show that Aristotle was right when he said that the soul is made prudent by sitting, because tranquillity makes it quiet. Therefore, in order to bring rest to the soul and quietness to the flesh while performing an action for God, sitting is fittingly used.

What else? Men of surpassing piety approached God while sitting. This was done by Moses who leaned on a rock, extending his hands and praying against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and by Elias (3 Kings 18) [….] About St. Ignatius of Loyola we read this, in Masseus, who has it from the secret observance of Ignatius’s domestics: “When he had climbed to the top level of the house where there was an unobstructed view of the stars, he stood for a little while with his eyes fixed on the heavens. Then casting himself on his knees, he humbly adored the creator of all this beauty. Thereafter, due to his infirmity he sat on a small bench [scabello] as copious rivers of tears flowed from his eyes, and that without any sobbing or noise. In this way, with his soul serene and his body still, he received the rays of the divine light, and was joined to the Father in a wonderful sweetness of spirit.” Ignatius’s sitting did not disturb him but led to greater composure, which aided his peace of soul and recollection.


(to be continued…)

Wine-Tasting Party during the Gradual in the Rite of Lyon

The experimentum vini

Pontifical Mass in the Lyonese use features an interesting ceremony that takes place between the epistle and gospel: while the Gradual and Alleluia are sung, the chalice is prepared in a separate chapel by a group of clerics. In the 17th century, the gustatio of the wine during this ritual caused some scandal, as Archdale King recounts in his description of the Lyonese rite:

An interesting ceremony connected with the offertory takes place between the epistle and gospel—the ‘administration’ and testing of the wine (experimentum vini). Neither the 12th-century statues of Archbishop Guichard (1164-81) nor the 13th-century ordinary (St. John) make any reference to the rite, but it is mentioned in the 14th century ordinary (Barbet of St. Just). It was not, however, peculiar to Lyons, and a somewhat similar ceremony was performed at a side altar in the cathedral churches of Amiens, Soissons, Chalon-sur-Saône, and Tours before the Revolution. This rite was formerly conducted in the church of the Holy Cross, and today in the chapel of the Holy Cross, which was known at one time by the name of Notre Dame du Haut Don.

The participants in the ceremony include the acolytes, subdeacons, deacons, a priest in a cope, the first ‘perpetual’ [chaplain], another in a mozetta, and the sacristan (manilier). It was formerly the custom for five acolytes to take part, while the other two stayed behind in order to hold the ‘tablets’ before the canons who were singing the gradual, but, as the chant is now conducted by petits clercs, it is possible for all seven to assist at the ‘administration’.

The senior subdeacon carries the empty chalice with the paten and host, covered with a veil (pavillon); the senior deacon, the cruet of wine raised in his right hand; while the priest in mozetta brings the burse and corporal. On arrival in the chapel, the acolytes and ministers form two lines, with the senior acolyte in the middle near the entrance. The priest in a cope goes up to the altar, where he unfolds the corporal, places the vessels on it, and, extending his hands over the host, says: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis, etc. The deacon then presents the wine, which the manilier tastes, an bonum et conveniens sit.


The wine was formerly provided by the collegiate churches of the city, which seem to have been generous in their gift, and in the 17th century we find not only the manilier, but also the clerks and clergeons tasting the wine. With such an arrangement, abuses were inevitable, and writers of the time accused the authorities of organizing a miniature ‘drinking party’: Ils ont une espèce de beuvette derrière l’autel de Notre Dame de Haut Don. The scandal was brought to an end by the chapter in 1621, when it was decided that the surplus of the offering should be given to the sick.

A small handbook, describing the ceremonies of the pontifical Mass at Lyons, gives a reason for the ‘tasting’ other than the traditional fear of poison. It says that it is useful for the purpose of making certain that water has not been put into the cruet instead of wine, as the mistake ‘would singularly complicate the ceremony, when at the Communion of the pontiff he should perceive his error’!

[Footnote: Cf. the suspicious incident at the Cistercian abbey of Trois-Fontaines, recalled in one of the letters of St. Bernard. Guy, the abbot, discovered at his Communion that there was no wine in the chalice, whereupon he added the wine and ‘sanctified’ it by placing a particle of the Host in the chalice. There is no mention of water, although it seems probable that this had been added at the offertory.]



Liturgical Trial by Combat

The traditional Mozarabic rite in Hispania was suppressed and substituted with the Roman rite principally through the efforts of Alphonse VI, King of Leon, Castile, Galicia, and Portugal, soi-disant Emperor of all Spain, with the support of Pope St Gregory VII and the Cluniac congregation. Such a liturgical revolution was by no means easily achieved, however, as is evident in the chronicle written by Archbishop Roderic of Toledo:

The clergy and people of all Spain were troubled, for they were compelled to take up the Gallican [i.e., Roman] Office by the legate [Richard] and king [Alphonse]. On the appointed day, when the king, the primate, the legate, and a great multitude of clergy and people were assembled, there was a long quarrel: the clergy, the knights, and the people firmly resisted any change in the Office, whereas the king, counselled contrariwise by the queen, thundered terrible threats. Finally, on account of the obstinacy of the knights, it was decided that this dispute would be settled by combat. Two knights were chosen, one by the king that he might fight for the Gallican Office, the other by the knights and the people to fight for the Office of Toledo. The king’s knight was defeated forthwith, and the people rejoiced because the victor was the knight of the Office of Toledo. But Queen Constance persuaded the King not to abandon his designs, saying that the duel was not lawful. The knight who fought for the Office of Toledo was of the house of Matanza, near Pisorica, and his family still exists to-day.

[…] clerus et populus tocius Hispanie turbabatur, eo quod Gallicanum officium suscipere a legato et principe cogebantur; et statuto die rege, primate, legato, cleri et populi maxima multitudine congregatis, fuit diutius altercatum, clero, milicia et populo firmiter resistentibus ne officium mutaretur, rege a regina suaso, contrarium minis et terroribus intonante. Ad hoc ultimo res peruenit militari pertinacia decernente, ut hec dissensio duelli certamine sedaretur. Cumque duo milites fuissent electi, unus a rege, qui pro officio Gallicano, alter a milicia et populis, qui pro Toletano pariter decertarent, miles regis ilico uictus fuit, populis exultantibus quod uictor erat miles officii Toletani. Set rex adeo fuit a regina Constancia stimulatus, quod a proposito non discessit, duellum iudicans ius non esse. Miles autem qui pugnauerat pro officio Toletano, fuit de domo Matancie prope Pisoricam, cuius hodie genus extat.

Roderic of Toledo, De Rebus Hispanie, book VI, chapter XXVI