Homo religiosus of the late middle ages. The Bernardine’s model of popular religion

Homo religiosus of the late middle ages. The Bernardine’s model of popular religion

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Homo religiosus of the late middle ages. The Bernardine’s model of popular religion

Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Wydział Historyczny, Praca doktorska, Poznań (2004)

Szulc, Alicja (Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza)


Presented work was guided by the question: if Franciscan Observants in the late medieval period propagated a new model of popular religion, and if it was so, up to what degree their activity was successful. The research field was bordered both on the territorial and chronological level. Because for the territory the area of Polish Province of Observants (in Poland called Bernardines) was chosen, on the chronological level the research embraced the period of 1453-1555; those dates mark out certain caesuras in history of Polish Province of Observants. The first date in connected to the foundation of the first Bernardine’s Convent in Cracov; the second date is connected to the edition of two manuscript collections of popular religious songs, edited within the period 1551-1555, commonly known under the names: Kancjonał puławski and Kancjonał kórnicki. Even if chronologically settled within the renaissance period by their character those songs still belong to the stream of medieval religious literature, therefore it seems reasonable to recognize them as the border point. Diverse source material has been considered in order to recognize the specifics of Bernardine’s ministry and the forms of devotions propagated by them. The original material was consisted of: sermons, religious songs (including poetic Decalogs) and iconography. The research show up that created by Bernardines model of popular religion was expressed in a great richness both in forms and in contents. The Observants paid great attention that devotional material can be easily comprehended by non-education people therefore they use a variety of forms which were readable for them. Particularly they use the means of sermons of penitential character and songs in polish language (audible forms), Mandatum, which is the dramatical presentation for the Maundy Thursday, Nativity plays, variety of paintings and sculpture (visual forms). The content of them proclaimed cult of Christ as Human Being, particularly expressed in the Passion and Christmas devotions; cult of Mary as God’s Mother and cult of. Saint Anne as the Mother of Mary the Immaculate. The great input of Franciscan Observants was the propagation of new forms of individual devotions, like: chaplets, psaltery like prayer, icons oriented prayer. It became the real bridge between the official church liturgy and personal religious feelings “illitteratorum”.

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