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Domesticating St Adalbert: Episcopal Power and Holy Husbandry on the European Peripheries during the High Middle Ages

Magazine article
Authors Wojtek Jezierski
Published in CERGU Working Paper Series
Volume 2018
Issue 1
Pages 1-33
ISSN 1404-0026
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 1-33
Language en
Links https://cergu.gu.se/digitalAssets/1...
Subject categories History

Abstract

This article explores the ways episcopal milieus on the northeastern peripheries of Europe created and renewed their identities and symbols of episcopal authority by domesticating their immigrant saints during the high Middle Ages. By comparing the examples of holy bishops arriving to Poland and Sweden (St Adalbert, St Sigfrid, St Henry) it studies the episcopal mythopoesis, that is, creation of foundational myths and mythologies as well as their adaptation to specific local needs and changing historical circumstances. The article further probes to what extent these mythopoetic efforts were original or imitative in respect of the Western European episcopal centers and other peripheries. How similarly or differently did the bishops in the “old” and “young” Europe respond to the question: what beginnings do we need today? And what role did the appropriation, commodification, and domestication of holy bishops’ images and body parts play in providing answers to this vital question?

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