Publication details

Spaces for Miracles. Constructing Sacred Space through the Body, from Conques to the Mediterranean, and Beyond

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Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Convivium : Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean : Seminarium Kondakovianum Series Nova
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Conques; Mont-Saint-Michel; Mskheta; sacred landscape; sacred space
Description Reconstruction of the basilica that preceded the present abbey church at Conques lends itself to exploring the notion of “sacred space”. Like its successor, the original basilica, probably built around 900, was dedicated to St Foy and held her remains. Textual evidence, augmented with (albeit scarce) archeological data, enables a reconstruction of what emerges as an unusual building containing a “physical” sacred space clearly conceived as a place into which the whole cult of St Foy could be “condensed”. At the same time, textual evidence, mainly in the Liber miraculorum sanctae Fidis, hints at the existence of a “mental” sacred space in which specific movements performed in venerating the saint, as well as the comings and goings of pilgrims and other worshippers, formed a sacred space that was more fluid but no less central to understanding Conques as a place of devotion. Going farther, the analysis here suggests a notion of “sacred space” that includes the terrain surrounding a place of devotion: once worshippers’ senses of hearing, sight, and touch were activated, the natural setting itself became a place of holiness and protection.
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