Since Late Antiquity, relics have provided a privileged spiritual bond between life and death, between human beings and divinity. Royalty, nobility and clergy all tried to obtain the most prestigious remains of sacred bodies, since they granted influence and fame and allowed the cult around them to be used as a means of sacralization, power and propaganda. This volume traces the development of the veneration of relics in Europe and how these objects were often catalysts for the establishment of major pilgrimage sites that are still in use today.
The book features an international panel of contributors taking a wide-ranging look at relic worship across Europe, from Late Antiquity until the present day. They begin with a focus on the role of relics in Jacobean pilgrimage, before looking at the link between relics and their shrines more generally. The book then focuses in on two major issues in the study of relics, the stealing of relics (Furta Sacra) and their modern-day scientific examination and authentication. These topics demonstrate not only symbolic importance of relics, but also their role as physical historical objects in material religious expression.
This is a fascinating collection, featuring the latest scholarship on relics and pilgrimage across Europe. It will, therefore, be of great interested to academics working in Pilgrimage, Religious History, Material Religion and Religious Studies as well as Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Relics, Holiness and Devotion.
Antón M. Pazos
1 Relics as Historical Objects: Overview, Methods and Prospects.
PART 1 The Relics of St James in Europe
2 Relics and Pilgrimages of St James the Greater in France.
3 Keeping the Angevin Peace: The Hand of Saint James in England.
4 Roncesvalles as a Reliquary on the Way to Santiago.
5 Visiting the Apostle Santiago: Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela in the 16th-19th centuries.
Ofelia Rey Castelao
6 The Course and Consequences of the Reinventio of the Relics of St James in 1879.
Antón M. Pazos
PART 2 Furta Sacra
7 The Theft of Relics in the Middle Ages: Arguments, Typology and Legitimacy.
8 Furta Sacra in Southern Italy in the Middle Ages.
9 The Three Magi: Places of Worship in Cologne Cathedral.
Klaus G. Hardering
PART 3 The Resilience of Relics and Shrines
10 Mobile Martyrs and Forgotten Shrines: The Translation and Domestication of Relics in Post-Reformation England.
11 The life of dry bones: Pilgrimage to relic shrines in Soviet Russia.
PART 4 Relics and Science
12 The Relics of the True Cross: An Interdisciplinary approach.
Georges Kazan and Thomas Higham
13 St John’s relics from the monastery on Sveti Ivan island near Sozopol, Bulgaria: Archaeological and scientific research.
Kazimir Popkonstantinov and Rossina Kostova
Antón M. Pazos is currently a member of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences and Vice President of the International Commission for History and Studies of Christianity (CIHEC). He is also Deputy Director of the Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento (IEGPS), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and a member of the editorial committees of the journals Hispania Sacra and Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos. At the IEGPS he is the coordinator of a line of research into pilgrimage, which has been the driving force behind several research projects, especially in the organisation of the International Colloquia Compostela.