The statue of Fray Domingo de Silos Moreno It has suffered numerous vicissitudes since its placement in the Plaza de la Catedral; site changes, demolition attempts, transfer to municipal offices and solemn restoration. But the most curious thing happened to him after its founding in the arsenal of the Carraca in 1856.
Benedictine monk, Silos Moreno was appointed bishop of Cádiz in 1824, making his solemn entry into the diocese the following year. With a very humble and simple character, he put all his efforts into the completion of the Cathedral, which he was able to consecrate in 1832. Good proof of his humility is the motto that he had placed on his tomb “Unworthy Benedictine monk and most unworthy Bishop of Cádiz.”
However, as soon as he passed away, unwanted honors began for him. The City Council changed the name of Tablas square by that of Silos Moreno and a group of fifteen people from Cádiz raised enough money to erect a statue in his honor and memory. Many were the voices that were raised in our city to indicate that Silos Moreno would not have liked so many tributes, since he was a very simple priest.
Complaints were useless. The statue was commissioned to the Sevillian sculptor Lorenzo Baglietto, while the pedestal was designed by the Madrid architect Jerónimo de la Gándara. Director of the works was appointed Juan de la Vega.
When Baglietto finished his work, the statue of Silos Moreno was taken to the Carraca arsenal to be found in legitimate copper. Once these works were finished, the organizers of the monument were notified to transfer it to Cádiz. But the commission had run out of money and moving the statue was difficult. Admiral de la Carraca, Quesada, tired of waiting, he decided that the statue of Silos Moreno should be placed at the entrance of the arsenal, covered with large cloths.
He stayed there for a long time, until, finally, a barge was sent from Cádiz for the final transfer. When uncovering the canvases, the surprise was general: The statue had disappeared!
Rumors of a so-called ‘miracle’ immediately began; the monk Silos Moreno did not want honors and had done the ‘miracle’ of making his statue disappear. But Admiral Quesada was not very happy with this supposed “miracle” and ordered an investigation. It was soon discovered that in the trinkets of Cádiz and San Fernando abundant bronze had entered in recent times and that Carraca workers were toasting in the bars of both towns to the health and memory of Silos Moreno.
In those years, the entrance to the Carraca was not located where it is today. The door to the arsenal was next to the spout and opposite the Outpost. To get in and out, you had to cross the pipe through the floating ‘drums’, which opened up to make way for ships and smaller boats. These maneuvers caused the workers to be forced to remain for a long time at the gates of the arsenal and that circumstance was taken advantage of by some to gradually tear pieces of the bronze from the statue.
Admiral Quesada took responsibility for what happened and ordered the statue to be re-cast. After the work was finished, Quesada gathered all the arsenal personnel to tell them. “Bishop Silos Moreno was a saint. In life he did not want statues and now he has done the ‘miracle’ that he disappears. It has faded again, but I will put armed guard so that the ‘miracle’ is not repeated and I will also demand responsibilities if it is repeated ”.
Indeed, there were no new ‘miracles’ and the statue of Fray Domingo de Silos Moreno was taken to Cádiz and could be inaugurated in the Plaza de la Catedral on September 8 of that same year, 1856, in a solemn ceremony as bishop of the diocese of Cádiz, Juan José Arbolí and constitutional mayor of the city, Adolfo de Castro.