Return to origins and spiritual renovation. The Romanesque
Throughout the Medieval Period, the spirit of reform often arose in the middle a Church too accommodated to the temporary powers. Abbot and bishop Oliba starred in the beginning of the 11th century, alongside the countess Ermessenda of Barcelona, a movement of renovation that culminated with the material and spiritual restoration of Barcelona’s canonical and the foundation of a canteen for the poor that would later on become Pia Almoina.
In the end of this century, the Gregorian reform was searching for a return to the origins of Christianism and a profound spiritual renovation of the Church to end the abuses of feudal lords and simony. Bishop Oleguer had a key role and a substantial influence, also political as a councillor of the count house.
Barcelona’s counts, now independent de facto from the Frankish kingdom, broke the dependency of the Catalan bishoprics from the archbishopric of Narbonne, recovering the metropolitan see of Tarragona. Saint Oleguer was appointed archbishop of Tarragona in 1131 and started its repopulation and reconstruction.
The parish: cultural, social, and spiritual referent
From the 11th century, the parish became a vital institution, both from a social point of view and from the ecclesiastical administration. Geographical unit of reference, it is the basis of the current municipal net. The church is a shared space by its inhabitants and used for many different activities, that from the “Pau i treva” (“Peace and truce”) movement will become protected from feudal violence. Thanks to the “sagrera”, a sacred and inviolable land of thirty steps that surrounded the consecrated churches, many current population centres were formed.
Bishop Oleguer consecrated many of these churches, providing them with their “sagrera”. The archaeological excavations have permitted to expose abundant silos that were used to save the farmer’s grain and the fruits of the tithes that the parish received, which were often perceived in the later centuries by the feudal lords.