Custodi del sacro: monache, reliquie e immagini miracolose nella Roma della Controriforma digital
formato: Articolo | RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA CHIESA IN ITALIA - 2012 - 2
In the sixteenth century, the cult of relics was attacked as a form of superstition from Protestants and banned from the Reformed countries. However, it was transformed by the Catholic Church precisely in an instrument to respond to the Lutheran and Calvinist polemics, through the re-launching of devotional practices such as pilgrimages, public expositions and feasts of patron saints. Feminine monasteries were among the favorite places for the custody of relics and icons considered miraculous, which were collected over the centuries in the Christian lands. Indeed, the presence of sacred relics contributed to the prestige of the various cloisters, together with the rigorous and exemplary life conducted by the nuns and with the “fame of sanctity” which enjoyed some of them. Moreover, the exposition of relics and images as well as the magnificent ceremonies, organized on the occasion of their discovery and translations, allowed the nuns to keep a prominent role on the stage of the devotional life of the city, despite the constraints imposed by the enclosure. Ceremonies and processions were also functional to exalt Rome as the “holy city” par excellence and, consequently, its reigning pontiff.