St Adalbertus domesticus. Patterns of Missioning and Episcopal Power in Poland and Scandinavia, in the Eleven to Thirteenth Centuries

Wojtek Jezierski

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/APH.2019.119.12

Abstract


This article explores the ways episcopal milieus on the north-eastern 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, the 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 comparison to the Western European episcopal centres 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 building the institutional identities of bishoprics?


Keywords


episcopal relics; mythopoesis; secondary mythologization; domestication; St Adalbert of Prague; St Sigfrid; St Henry of Finland; Gniezno

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References


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