This book explores the intersection between two key developments of the fourth through seventh centuries CE: the construction of monumental churches and the veneration of saints. While Christian sacred topography is usually interpreted in narrowly religious terms as points of contact with holy places and people, this book considers church buildings as spatial environments in which a range of social 'work' happened. It draws on approaches developed in the fields of anthropology, ritual studies, and social geography to examine, for example, how church buildings facilitated commemoration of the community's dead, establishment of a shared historical past, and communication with the divine. Surveying evidence for the introduction of saints into liturgical performance and the architectural and decorative programs of churches, this analysis explains how saints helped to bolster the boundaries of church space, reinforce local social and religious hierarchies, and negotiate the community's place within larger regional and cosmic networks.
About the Author
Ann Marie Yasin is Assistant Professor in the departments of Classics and Art History at the University of Southern California. She held a two-year Rome Prize Fellowship in the School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome from 1999 to 2001 and was named a Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. for Spring 2006.
Table of ContentsIntroduction; 1. Churches before architecture: approaches to sacred space in the early Christian world; 2. Commemorative communities: the dead in early Christian churches; 3. Topographies of honor and piety: praying for the Christian benefactor; 4. At the center of it all? Framing space with saints; 5. What saints do in church, part I: focusing communal prayer; 6. What saints do in church, part II: community connections.
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