Saints Colloquia Series: Public lecture by Ottó Gecser

March 25, 2014 - 17:30 - 19:15
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Open to the Public
Stanislava Kuzmová

The Department of Medieval Studies of CEU and OTKA Saints Project cordially invite you to the public lecture of the Saints Colloquia Series by


Presence and Integrity: Attempts to Keep Saintly Corpses Together in the Later Middle Ages

That relics of saints are tiny bits of bones in big golden reliquaries is, beyond doubt, not the whole truth about their cult. If the fragmentation of the saints’ earthly remains can be represented on a continuum, then at the opposite extreme of disassembled body-parts there are mummified corpses like that of the Observant Franciscan preacher, St. James of the Marches (died in 1476, canonized in 1726), which was recently translated from Naples to the Franciscan convent of Monteprandone, his place of birth. The existence of such whole saintly bodies raises the double question of how and why they were kept together. The paper will try to answer these questions through a survey of the changing attitudes to whole vs. fragmented relics from the early Middle Ages onwards, and through analysing in more detail the renewed interest in preserving the corporeal totality of living saints in the later Middle Ages.

Ottó Gecser is a lecturer (adjunktus) at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and a research fellow at the Department of Medieval Studies of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. His most recent publications include The Feast and the Pulpit: Preachers, Sermons and the Cult of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 1235–ca. 1500 (Spoleto, 2012), and “Sermons on St. Sebastian after the Black Death (1348-ca. 1500),” in Promoting the Saints: Cults and Their Contexts from Late Antiquity until the Early Modern Period; Essays in Honor of Gábor Klaniczay for his 60th Birthday, ed. Ottó Gecser et al. (Budapest and New York, 2011).