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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  May 2000

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION May 2000

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Subject:

Re: crowns and bones

From:

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Reply-To:

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Date:

Wed, 24 May 2000 22:15:39 -0400

Content-Type:

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>Shannon McSheffrey wrote:
>
>  The church leaders cleaned up the
>bones and put them on display, in the process encouraging people to place
>crowns (couronnes) around the casket. Does this practice mean anything to
anybody?
____________________
Shannon:
	The understanding of the life lived in Christ as a 
process__whether the metaphor be that of an athletic competition or 
psychomachic combat __ whose final metaphor is presented as the 
receiving of the victor's crown ( or the Princely crown of Royal 
sonship ) was commonly materialized in Christian burials in many 
cultures by  some adornment of the remains, especially the head and 
neck.Wreaths of laurel ( Byzantine, Balkan practice), elaborately 
marked
( woven, or embroidered) headbands as victor's crowns (N. and Central 
Slavs ),  finely plaited wreaths of palm fronds ( Ethiopia ). The 
examples abound. The Acta SS .frequently describe processions with 
the body of the saint/s  adorned/ crowned with flowers, wreaths, etc 
by those who accompany the body. It likewise  seems to be a common 
practice in the yearly rituals or festivals later associated with the 
cults of many saints. It would thus seem quite natural in your 
example, especially in the ceremony for re-interment of the 
translated, or in this case, rediscovered relics, for those gathered 
to be encouraged to do the same.
An example comes to mind:
Rose Graham, in "The History of the Alien Priory of Wenlock", 
1965,p7ff cites the example of the Cluniac monks brought to Wenlock ( 
Shropshire) ca 1080/81 to re-organize  and reclaim the site of a 
former convent, whose first abbess happened to be St. Milburge ( ca 
720's).  When the monks wished to re-locate and rededicate the site, 
her remains were not found in their supposed location
( her shrine). As the tale goes, following the lead of some unearthed 
charters, they discovered her true remains,( I guess research does 
pay off) which were then unearthed, washed, anointed, and adorned ( 
corona) and laid  in their newly built shrine on the high altar. If 
Balzac's remains could be publicly crowned with laurel leaves and 
garlands of roses, why not a 19thc. re-interment of a 17th c. bishop?
What would be of more interest to is the actual text of the 
re-interment and re-dediccation ceremony.
I hope this helps.
Josef Gulka


Dr.Josef Gulka
(215) 732-8420
FAX  (215) 732-8420
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