Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thomas Becket and Sicily

Today the Roman Catholic Church commemorates Saint Thomas Becket, the 12th-century Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered by knights under King Henry II of England.

Very few people, including Sicilians, know about the connection between this famous archbishop and Sicily, but he was so important to the Normans of Sicily that after his death they had a Cathedral built in his honor in the Western Sicilian town of Marsala, and an effigy of him done in mosaic for Monreale Cathedral.

Thomas Becket was a friend and confidant of the Sicilian Queen Margaret of Navarre, with whom he kept up a long-standing correspondence.

When he was murdered on December 29th of the year 1170, the scandal within the Church was so great that the engagement between Henry II's daughter Joan of England, and the young Sicilian Norman King William II was called off for a few years.

Read more about him in our article.

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