Imprisonment in the Medieval Religious Imagination, c. by M. Cassidy-Welch

By M. Cassidy-Welch

This ebook explores the area of spiritual pondering on imprisonment, and the way photos of imprisonment have been utilized in monastic suggestion, the cult of saints, the early inquisitions, preaching and hagiographical literature and the area of the crusades to explain a belief of inclusion and freedom that used to be specifically significant to medieval Christians.

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Example text

Arator likened Rome itself to the captive saint, reminding his anxious audience of the protective and liberating power of St Peter: It is through these chains Rome, that your faith was strengthened, through these chains that your salvation was made eternal. Encompassed with their bonds, you will always be free: for what can these chains fail to provide which were touched by a man who has the power to set everything free? Because of his hand, these walls are invincible, because of his triumph are they holy, never to suffer total Prison Miracles and the Cult of Saints 39 destruction at the hands of any enemy.

His prayers were heard and he was released, only to be captured again. 11 Such miracles localised saintly and divine intervention while offering tales of comfort to those who heard them. The cult of St Leonard Chief among the medieval saints who freed prisoners was St Leonard of Noblac. Leonard’s cult was French in origin, and his primary shrine was in Noblac, some 20 kilometres from Limoges in the Limousin region. The cult itself is mentioned for the first time in the Chronicon of Adhemar of Chabannes,12 and it was also in the eleventh century that the earliest vita of St Leonard was composed.

These objects were donated to the shrine as mementos of prison experiences and thankful testimony to the wondrous workings of the saint. St Leonard was not the only saint to be associated with imprisonment during the medieval period. Many saints were either said to have experienced imprisonment themselves, or they were said to provide comfort to or liberate captives. But St Leonard’s particular and central association with freeing prisoners is unique. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the representation of imprisonment in the miracles of St Leonard, particularly the collection of miracles that were produced at the pilgrimage church of Inchenhofen in Bavaria (south-western Germany) from the later thirteenth century 36 M.

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