Publication details

The Conversion and Reconversion of Sacral Architecture in the Confessional Cultures of the Early Modern Era



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Czech and Slovak Journal of Humanities
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Early Modern Culture; Confessional Disputes; Conversions; Architecture; Sacred Space
Description This text aims at introducing the specifi c conversions of sacral buildings in the Bohemian Lands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the context of the rivalry bet ween denominations. The terms “conversion” and “reconversion” relates to logically different processes which accompanied the appropriation of sacral buildings by particular denominations. In the sixteenth century, members of new, reformed denominations usually moved into churches used previously by the general church. They often modifi ed them for their purposes and thus the buildings and interiors underwent the process of a specific conversion (or “reformation”). Also the Catholics, esp. after 1620, regained these converted churches and adapted them back according to their needs – they reconverted them. The main issue of the study, apart from several case studies of converted and reconverted churches in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, proposes a question as to what really happens when a church undergoes conversion or re-conversion? The transformation naturally aff ects its material elements but it is the socio-religious context that pri marily changes: the liturgy, rituals, prayers, chants, and various religious practices which the congregation performs. The converted sacral building was a centre of public life and had great symbolic potential. The phenomenological aspect of architecture refl ects the fact that architecture is defined by not only its forms but above all by the social relations it contains and generates. In multi-denominational areas and transitional time periods, these relations are numerous and complex, often fi nding their expression in various “building strategies” as instruments of individual denominations’ identity politics.

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