Menorca and Christianity

Menorca and Christianity appears to have been well established by the end of the third century AD.There is however no records of how, or who brought Christianity to the Island. Geography suggests that Menorca could have been visited in the Apostolic era as history shows that ships roamed the Mediterranean in the early days of Christianity and usually hughed the north or south coast or hoped from island to island as a means of navigation on their way to what is now mainland Spain.

In 417AD Severo, Bishop of Menorca, addressed an encyclical letter to the Christian world. This nowadays regarded an important document regarding the history of Menorca. We know this because a medieval copy of this letter was found in the XVI century by Cardinal Cesar Baronio in the Vatican Library. This letter is in fact the oldest Christian document about the Balearic Islands.

It reads very much like a modern day travelogue with reference tothe Islan's smallness, its rugged countryside and the woods andthe caves; he obviously knew the Island well and had travelled extensively around Menorca. He also commented on the towns, the legal position of the Jews, and about the dress of the Islanders. Apparently they still used the Roman Toga instead of the Braccae, or trousers introduced by the Barbarians.

During the restoration of the cathedral of Ciudadela, a Latin inscription was added on each side of the Bishop's chair which reads "In the V century Bishop Severo had his Seat in Ciudadela".

Further evidence of the strength of Christianity at this time is to be found in thethree remaining Basilicas on the Island at Son Bou near Alaior, Fornás de Torelló near toSant Climent and on King Island in Mahon harbour. These Bascilicas were all built around the Fifth Century AD.

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Son Bou Bascilica

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