After two centuries of Muslim dominion in the territory, the advent of the Normans who conquered Agrigento in 1086 returned Christianity to the land of Sicily.
Gerland, a Celtic warrior related to the Hauteville family, arrived in Agrigento after the Norman troops. His mission was to bring Christian doctrine back to the people.
He was appointed by Roger I, The Great Count, bishop of the city in 1088, on the advice of Pope Urban II.
Gerland worked to reorganise the diocese, and in a few years he had built the bishop’s residence and the cathedral which he dedicated to Our Lady and St. James.
It is said that while trying to persuade Jews and Muslims to change religion, his words were as “sweet as honey”.
For his great conversion work, today he is the patron saint of Agrigento, where St. Calogero is also equally adored.
The Patron Saint is celebrated twice a year: on 25 February, the day of his death, and on 16 June.