Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Cathédrale et Pèlerinage Aux éPoques Médiévale et Moderne: Reliques, Processions et Devotions À L'église-Mère Du Diocese

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Cathédrale et Pèlerinage Aux éPoques Médiévale et Moderne: Reliques, Processions et Devotions À L'église-Mère Du Diocese

Article excerpt

Cathédrale et pèlerinage aux époques médiévale et moderne: Reliques, processions et devotions à l'église-mère du diocese. Edited by Catherine Vincent and Jacques Pycke. [Bibliothèque de la Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, Fascicule 92.] (Louvain-la-Neuve: Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique. 2010. Pp. 330. euro45,00 paperback.)

Religious typology has conventionally separated the cathedral's socio-religious experiences from those of the pilgrimage. The seventeen essays in this volume (plus an introductory essay by Catherine Vincent and a conclusion by André Vauchez) test the proposition that cathedrals as the bishop's seat of power and communal liturgies are essentially different from pilgrimages, which are individual expressions of devotion outside of institutional structures. The volume's conclusions challenge the traditional view by showing the often-successful efforts of cathedral authorities over many centuries to provide the sacred relics that would attract pilgrims to their shrines. Sites explored in the essays include many individual places- Paris, Tournai, Toul, Le Puy, Autun, Reims, Langres, Rouen, Sens, Cambrai, Vienne, and Embrun- as well as more broadly focused discussions of cathedral crypts, postmedieval developments, founding saints of Lorraine, and mendicant processions.

The majority of the essays focus on the later Middle Ages, especially the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. However, the vitality of cathedrals as pilgrimage sites did not end with the Middle Ages, as several of the essays demonstrate. For example, Le Puy-en-Velay with its famous Black Virgin was an ancient Marian pilgrimage site that, according to Bruno Maes, became an even more important Catholic destination in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when it was surrounded by Calvinist Huguenot communities. After the Council of Trent, too, there was a general move to open up cathedral choirs, to rid them of the assemblage of altars typical of the Middle Ages- a move that reached its apex in the eighteenth century, as Mathieu Lours shows. The reinvigoration of shrines in the postmedieval period also resulted from acquisition of a new relic such as the "suaire" (shroud) that moved to Besançon's Cathedral of St. …

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