According to the Legatio Apostolica (Apostolic Legacy), the kings of Sicily ruled over the Catholic clergy in Sicily. The pope had no power in Sicily, for his acts needed the ratification by the king to be effective. Only the bishop of Lipari was under the direct rule of the pope. All the other bishops in Sicily were appointed by the king.

Lipari is a Sicilian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the largest of the Aeolian Islands. It is renowned for its fantastic beaches and coves, and for its abundance of pumice stone.

In the distant past, the Aeolian Islands were the scene of naval battles between the Romans and the Carthaginians.

In the less distant past, the Aeolian Islands were also the center of a big quarrel between the Kingdom of Sicily and the Holy See, who was eager to put an end to the Apostolic Legacy.

Here is the chronicle of the happenings:

In 1711, the bishop of Lipari sent about two pounds of chickpeas to the marketplace, to be sold there. A small amount, indeed, less than one kilo! Nevertheless, the government officers asked the payment of the tax. The bishop refused to pay the tax and requested a public apology, which he did not get. Consequently, he excommunicated the government officers. However, the Spanish viceroy of Sicily did not validate the excommunication.

Years of controversy between the Holy See and Sicily followed until, in 1729, the pope recognized the validity of the Apostolic Legacy that lasted until 1871, when the Italian government repealed the Apostolic Legacy.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind


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