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Panels

(P21)

Relics, altars and other sacred things in the juridical construction of religious spaces in Ibero-America (15th-17th centuries)

Location Antifeatro 1, Piso 0
Date and Start Time 19 July, 2013 at 11:30

Convenors

Benedetta Albani (Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte) email
Osvaldo Rodolfo Moutin (LOEWE-Schwerpunkt „Außergerichtliche und gerichtliche Konfliktlösung“) email
Otto Danwerth (Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

Between 15 and 17 century, new Christian communities were constituted in the new discovered lands. This panel wants to analyze the juridical tools, practices and norms acting and developed in order to built and set up sacred spaces for the proper catholic worship and the missionary activities.

Long Abstract

With the arrival of a small handful of Europeans at the new discovered lands in Africa, America and Asia between the 15 and 17 century, new Christian communities were de facto constituted. These communities needed suitable spaces, instruments and facilities for the proper catholic worship. At the same time, missionary activities also required a materialization and definition of these spaces, according to the thousand-year-old Christian tradition, the typical structures of ecclesiastical institutions and the stratification of the ruling normativity.

These conceptions came along with the Europeans, but new realities required adjustments and changes for the configurations of sacred spaces and of the ecclesiastical institutions. The strictness and flexibility of European canonical and liturgical norms were sized up. Places and furnishings designated for divine worship, such as churches, shrines, hermitages, relics, altars, images, sacred vestments, sacred music, liturgical and devotional books, as well as the field of the practice of ecclesiastical authority - parishes, cathedrals, chapters of canons, Tribunals -experimented changes appreciable in historical sources.

Purpose of this panel is to make these changes explicit, to study how sacred spaces were built and expressed through juridical practices, and to analyze the coexistence of accords and disputes of men and institutions in these spaces. Our focuses will be the relationship of the new Churches with the European authorities and the interaction of rights and traditions of old and new Christians.

Although Ibero-America will be our centre of interest, papers concerning other territories under Spanish and Portuguese authority will be welcome.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Relics, altars and other sacred things in the juridical construction of religious spaces in Ibero-America (15th-17th centuries): an historical-juridical introduction

Authors: Osvaldo Rodolfo Moutin (LOEWE-Schwerpunkt „Außergerichtliche und gerichtliche Konfliktlösung“)  email
Benedetta Albani (Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte)  email
Otto Danwerth (Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte)  email

Short Abstract

New Christian communities were constituted in the recently discovered lands. This paper is an introduction to the analysis of juridical tools, practices and norms acting and developed in order to built and set up sacred spaces for the proper Catholic worship and the missionary activities

Long Abstract

With the arrival of a small handful of Europeans at the new discovered lands in Africa, America and Asia between the 15th and 17th centuries, new Christian communities were de facto constituted. These communities needed suitable spaces, instruments and facilities for the proper Catholic worship. At the same time, missionary activities also required a materialization and definition of these spaces, according to the thousand-year-old Christian tradition, the typical structures of ecclesiastical institutions and the stratification of the ruling normativity.

These conceptions came along with the Europeans, but new realities required adjustments and changes for the configurations of sacred spaces and of the ecclesiastical institutions. The strictness and flexibility of European canonical and liturgical norms were challenged. Places and furnishings designated for divine worship, such as churches, shrines, hermitages, relics, altars, images, sacred vestments, sacred music, liturgical and devotional books, as well as the field of the practice of ecclesiastical authority - parishes, cathedrals, chapters of canons, tribunals -experimented changes appreciable in historical sources.

Purpose of this paper is to present a series of core questions that serve as an historical-juridical introduction for all the papers submitted to this panel, analyzing the construction of sacred spaces and its expression through juridical practices, as well as the coexistence of accords and disputes of persons and institutions in these spaces. Our focuses will be the relationship of the new Churches with the European authorities and the interaction of rights and traditions of old and new Christians.

Crisis in the cathedral: the controversial and reluctant Archbishop of Mexico, García de Santa María

Author: Robert Ferry (University of Colorado at Boulder)  email

Short Abstract

As prior of the Jeronymite monastery at El Escorial, García de Santa María had presided over the burial of Philip II. Reluctant to accept appointment to Mexico as archbishop, his arrival there 1602 triggered heated controversies with the ecclesiastical chapter, the viceroy, and the Inquisition.

Long Abstract

This paper addresses a set of conflicts based on the introduction of liturgical novelties into Mexico during the first years of the 17th century by the new archbishop, García de Santa María, who was the Jeronymite friar who had attended Philip II at the Escorial and had officiated at his burial. Promoted to archbishop of Mexico by the Duke of Lerma, probably as part of Philip III's valido's project to remove the influence of former king's councilors and to move the court to Valladolid, García de Santa María only reluctantly went to New Spain in 1602. Once there, flush with ideas about liturgy and relics based on his years as prior at the Escorial, the new archbishop had considerable difficulties in implementing his desired practices, and both his plans and his personal authority were challenged by the cathedral chapter, the viceroy, and the Inquisition. A series of serious confrontations, some spectacularly public, were the result. The paper examines these troubles in an effort to light on a variety of religious, juridical and social issues that characterized Mexico at the turn of the 17th century.

Sacred objects in the battlefield: manipulation of sacred objects during urban disturbances in colonial Mexico city (circa 1620s)

Author: Angela Ballone (University of Liverpool)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will present a selection of cases from colonial Mexico City in which different sacred objects were put into use as tools of political opposition within the context of the Tumult of Mexico in 1624. Sacred spaces too were involved in the battlefield.

Long Abstract

While it is difficult to assess the different agencies involved in the disturbances of the 1620s in Mexico City, what is clear from the documentation available is the involvement of Mexican clergy. From among the lower levels of secular and regular clergy up to the very head of the archiepiscopal chambers, it was impossible not to have something to say about the new viceroys appointed by Philip IV (1621-1665). Indeed, Diego Pimentel, first Marquis of Gelves, had landed in New Spain in the middle of the great debate upon the administration of Indian priesthoods and, similarly to his predecessor Guadalcazar, had suspended the king's orders in favour of the superiority of the diocesan clergy over the regular clergy. As a result, the Mexican clergy had been engaged in a strong lobbying at all levels of the Spanish Empire.

In the context broadly sketched above, the Tumult represents an opportunity for the scholar in search of practical cases of how sacred objects were differently put into use within the Atlantic worlds. Not only were they differently used by the Archbishop of Mexico to stop his forced exile (ordered by Viceroy Gelves) from his diocese, 'sacred things' were reported as being publicly offended by the newly converted population of Mexico, as well as being reported as 'taking part' to the disturbances of the day of the Tumulto grande de México. This paper will present a selection of such cases, put them into their context, and assess their implications in terms of religious spaces and sacred objects in the early modern Iberian Atlantic.

Altarpieces, Christians and spices: the Indo-Portuguese retable art

Author: Mónica Esteves Reis (UALG-CHAIA)  email

Short Abstract

The architectural composition of the indo-Portuguese altarpieces share proximity points with the national production but one soon realizes we’re looking at two distinct artistic realities. Comprehending the singularities in each artistic scenario not only envisions us with the artisans/workshops areas of actuation but also approaches us to the definition of indo-Portuguese retable art.

Long Abstract

The altarpieces, in the scenario of the quest for evangelization of the Indian sub-continent, began to acquire different forms, different artistic grammars and most of all, a spectacular inter-religiosity dialogue, for local long term generation artisans were now in the making of these altarpieces. The altarpiece is in this perspective the representative of faith through art, the book in images. The symbols are replaced, the forms are altered and the scales are enlarged. The (in) comprehension of the Christian symbols, the immersion into the Christian religious culture and the absorbing of religious values that in last analysis would provide the desired conversion would be given majestically without any adulteration in the quality of its making. As local artisans are introduced in the artistic process, the classical model of the altarpiece begins to undergo changes that individualize each specimen.

Dying in the rule of law: images of martyrdom in colonial Mexico

Author: Carolin Behrmann (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut)  email

Short Abstract

Images forge considerably the prevailing notions of the lawfulness and unlawfulness of power. The paper will focus on European artistic influences in Mexico since the 1580s and discuss impacts of the notion of law on the representation of Christian martyrdom.

Long Abstract

The paper will focus on the work of the second wave of European artistic influence since the 1580s in Mexico and discuss the influence of colonial law, when invasion-violence converged into enduring legal ground rules for living in convivencia, a shared social order. While the artistic production of most of the missionary orders had mainly depended on Indian produced images, the new repertoire of pictures and church design were to be made by European hands. Alonso Vázquez or Baltasar de Echave Orio were key protagonists here, who visually formulated the idea of Christian martyrdom that were displayed in churches, hospitals and convents. Alonso Vázquez, one of the most esteemed painters in the New World, migrated to New Spain with the entourage of the 10th Viceroy of Mexico Juan Mendoza y Luna, marquis de Montesclaros in 1603. His paintings reveal a new conception of martyrdom that refer to the western imaginaire but also to the imported figurative thought of the Christian image which promoted a new concept of the "event" considered as typical European formula ranging from the representation of emotions and the Aristotelian notion of causality to those of determinism and free will. The proposed paper will consider the legal implications of images of tyranny and martyrdom by examining the production of images in the New World and reflecting on contemporary concepts of colonial law. It aims to examine the imposition of a new visual order not just as Western iconographic repertoire but more so from a juridical perspective.

To-be-relics: dealing with the remains of Jesuit martyrs in America

Author: Renato Cymbalista (School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of São Paulo)  email

Short Abstract

The paper focuses on the treatment of Jesuit Martyrs's sacred relics in America. Facing Rome's strict regulation of cults, Jesuits also pushed martyrs towards canonization, documenting miracles related to theirs relics

Long Abstract

Society of Jesus has developed a special cult of its more than 300 martyrs killed in all continents. Crime weapons and martyrs's bodily remains were objects of supreme attention by the Jesuits. This paper, focused on Jesuit sources from America, from Canada to Chile, analyses the Order's complex relations with these non-official relics. Discipline had to be shown towards Roman Regulation that strictly regulated cults. Relics could be demanded from Rome to prevent veneration. There were demands of relics from martyrs's native relatives or native towns back in Europe. Central colleges in America also kept relics: Mexico had arm and fingers of Gonzalo de Tapia, killed in Sinaloa in 1594; Bahia's kept the weapon of Francisco Pinto's murdering in Ceará in 1608. In paralel, jesuit pushed for canonization causes, preserving memory, documenting (carefully, but very decidedly) wonders such as the light shining from the place of deposition of Lucas Caballero's dead body; the conversion of a protestant who drank a tea where the bones of one of the Canadian Jesuit Martyrs had been dipped; the non-corruption of Roque Gonzalez's heart and the miraculous protection of Juan de Castillo's body from the beasts in Paraguay in 1628; the miraculous floating of Inacio de Azevedo's body in the sea after his killing in 1570. Approaches towards martyrs's relics were notably coherent, allowing us to relate documents coming form very different contexts. The cult of relics was one of the instruments that helped Jesuits to address overwhelming distances and isolation of American missions

Jesuits, relics and images in colonial Brazil

Author: Maria Cristina Osswald (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)  email

Short Abstract

This paper intends to analyse the role played by Jesuits in the spread of certain devotions (often base on the import of relics from Europe or other parts of the wold, for instance of India) and related iconographies in Colonial Brazil.

Long Abstract

This paper intends to analyse the role played by Jesuits in the spread of certain devotions (often base onthe import of relics from Europe or other parts of the wold, for instance of India) and related iconographies in Colonial Brazil. More precisely, I will analyze the relative role attributed by Jesuits in Brazil to general Catholic devotions and devotions, to devotions typical of Portuguese territories, to Jesuit devotions and finally to devotions highly influenced by local context, as Saint Thomas or Zome or that originated locally, as the cult fomented in particular by them to Anchieta or the Jesuit martyr Francisco Pinto, known locally as Aimanara.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.