Even before his coronation, Roger II went to the Abbey of St Mary and the Twelve Apostles in Bagnara to place the
Diocese of Cefalù
under the control of the
, the order favoured by the king and the most powerful of the non-Benedictine Latin monastic orders.
The communities of the latter, present on the island, were established in the form of colonies or were directly dependent on the four great abbeys erected by the Hauteville family: Lipari – Patti, Catania, San Giovanni degli Eremiti and Monreale. However, Latin monasteries were rather scarce on the southern and western Sicilian coasts, especially in the early period, in which the Basilian abbeys of S.Giorgio, Triocala, S.Michele di Mazara and S.Maria di Mazara had an indisputable predominance. In these places, the Muslim presence was, for a long time, active and was not influenced by Latinising agents.
Unlike what happened in Europe, where the sovereigns’ abbeys did not overpower those of the feudal lords, the opposite occurred in Sicily, although the monasteries’ loyalty established an indispensable link to which the rulers aspired. The king, as hereditary papal legate, had direct control over the appointment of abbots and bishops, as well as the religious institutions present on the island, in order to give greater impetus to the spread of the Western Christian Church.