Munio de Zamora (died 1300) became the seventh Master General of the Dominican Order in 1285, thanks in large part to the manipulations performed by his patron Sancho IV of Castile, but was dramatically removed from his office in 1290, in an action that involved the archbishop of Genoa, Jacob de Voragine, who is remembered as the author of the Golden Legend. Munio's career was rehabilitated in 1294, when he was appointed Bishop of Palencia, thanks to the interventions and bribery of his protector, King Sancho. And perhaps brother Munio was also in the background when Sancho had authorized a payment of 30,000 maravedís to Cardinal Ordoño in 1285, just one month after Munio had been elevated to Master-General. Brother Munio, dissolute and violent, made an earlier appearance in the Dominican nunnery affair in the small provincial city of Zamora, which occasioned a visitation by the bishop of Zamora in 1279. The convent of Dominican nuns was split with faction and the Dominican friars were behaving like characters from the Decameron. The resulting depositions survive, to form the basis of a highly readable history by Peter Linehan (1997) that lays open more than just the social history of Dominican friars and nuns in 13th century Castile. Pursuing Munio, his friends and his enemies, from Zamora to the papal Curia over a twenty-year period, Linehan shows how events in a Castilian nunnery could influence high politics in the medieval Church.
In 1285 Munio promulgated the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of the Blessed Dominic (Regula Fratrum et Sororum Ordinis of Paenitentia Beati Dominici), which provided a rule of life (lasting into the 20th century) for the "penitent" laymen and women that were linked to the Dominican Order of Preachers. In its opening, the rule lays down the prerequisities: "They must be filled with the utmost jealous, burning zeal, after their own fashion, for the truth of Catholic faith".
The Master of the Order thus offered an opportunity to lay people, who had been independent until then, to adopt a rule of life and be placed under the jurisdiction of the Order of Preachers by making a promise of obedience to the Master General of the Order.
Thus Munio de Zamora receives reverential official biography from the Dominican order.
Munio is entombed in the ancient basilica of Santa Sabina, the center of the Dominican order in Rome.
- Mary Laven's detailed review of Peter Linehan, The Ladies of Zamora 1997 (http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/publications/eagle97/Eagle97-Peter-2.html)
- Peter Linehan article in History Today (http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m1373/n3_v47/19261675/p1/article.jhtml) March 1997.
- The Dominican Story (http://www.veritas.com.hr/spirituality/the_golden_years.php): brief laudatory biography