To Accept: Unification Through Travel
Death's Dominion - Power, Identity, and Memory at the Fourth-Century Martyr Shrine - Nathaniel J. Morehouse
Nathaniel J. Morehouse [+]
John Carroll University
Christians traveled to specific places associated with the history of their tradition prior to the fourth century; Palestine drew Christian travelers by the late second century. It was only by the end of the fourth century, however, that there was a significant rise in the number of Christians who could be classified collectively as “pilgrims.” Initially most pilgrimages were to the “Holy Land,” to visit sites associated with the life and death of Jesus. Chapter five traces the development of the pilgrims’ interest surrounding such prestigious locations as those associated with the life of Jesus, but quickly also focused on martyr shrines. Pilgrimage to martyr shrines could range from traveling to the shrines outside the walls of the city on feast days, to significant journeys to visit important shrines hundreds of miles away. Consequently pilgrimage created a network of memory associated with the martyrs. Ultimately it was the pilgrims who solidified Christian cultural identity and memory at the graves of the saints. This new genus of Christians determined meaning for themselves and for those to whom they wrote concerning their travels, promoting more travel to the shrines of the saints.