In a small townabove Palermo stands one of Sicily'sgreat art treasures — the Cathedral of Monreale.
In the 11th century,when the Muslim Arabs were tossed outby the Christian Normans, the Normans made Siciliancivilization grander yet — building monumentalNorman churches.
This massive church,so richly ornamented, shows the gloryof that age.
Ancient columns and capitals –gifted by the pope to bolster his southernborder of Christendom — were shipped hereall the way from Rome.
The church was built to show offthe power of the Norman king William II –shown here boldly standing, while being crownedby Christ.
The interior is famous for itsexquisite 12th-century mosaics.
Each panel tells a storyfrom the Bible.
There's Adam and Evebeing tempted by the serpent, angels climbing Jacob's ladder, and Noah building his ark,and filling it with animals.
♪♪ It was designed to functionas a Bible storybook.
From centuries,early Christians debated whether or not imageswere appropriate in church.
To solve this controversy — called the "IconoclasticControversy" — a pope called a convention, the Council of Nicaeain the 8th century.
The result? Images are okay, if they teachthe Christian message.
Here at the Cathedralof Monreale, the art is laid out preciselyas the council prescribed.