Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Precieux Sang De Fecamp: Origine et Developpment D'un Mythe Chretien

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Precieux Sang De Fecamp: Origine et Developpment D'un Mythe Chretien

Article excerpt

Jean-Guy Gouttebroze, Le Precieux Sang de Fecamp: origine et developpement d'un mythe chretien (Paris: Editions Honore Champion, 2000). III pp. ISBN 2-- 7453-0282-5. F. Fr. 160.00.

In c990 Duke Richard I of Normandy refounded the abbey of Holy Trinity at Fecamp, beside what was to become the ducal palace. In the early eleventh century, under William of Volpiano, the abbey was given to a group of Benedictine monks, by whom it was developed both as a training centre for priests and as a base for evangelization. Its importance in the Norman Church assured Fecamp of a regular flow of visitors; more surprisingly, it also attracted large numbers of pilgrims, who came to revere the abbey's famous relic, some drops of the blood of Christ. Jean-Guy Gouttebroze has relied on Latin and Old French texts of the end of the eleventh, the twelfth, and early thirteenth centuries to reconstruct the legends that quickly emerged to explain the presence of such a relic in Normandy. He sees elements of folklore, pagan superstition, and false etymologies mixing creatively with established Christian tradition, hagiography, and occasional reference to historical events to form a stirring narrative.

The first mention of Fecamp as especially connected with Christ's blood was an early eucharistic miracle, the conversion of the bread and wine into the visible body and blood of Christ, alleged by a later monastic writer to have taken place during mass in a church near Fecamp at the time at which the abbey was being consecrated in the presence of Duke Richard I. …

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