Preaching Saint Stanislaus : Medieval Sermons on Saint Stanislaus of Cracow and Their Role in the Construction of His Image and Cult
PhD Dissertation, Central European University (2010)
This dissertation offers a comprehensive analysis of the sermon corpus on St. Stanislaus within the late medieval discourse on him. Stanislaus was the bishop of Cracow in the eleventh century. His legend tells the story of his conflict with Boleslaus II, the King of Poland, which resulted in the bishop’s murder in 1079. Bishop Stanislaus was canonised by Pope Innocent IV at Assisi in 1253 and became patron-saint of Poland, one of the symbols and icons of Polish history and society. Numerous studies dealt with various issues concerning his legend and his cult, but sermons have been largely neglected. An important outcome of this work is a repertory of medieval sermons on St. Stanislaus, which I managed to identify in manuscripts and inventory in the Appendices (80 different sermons and sermon materials in 86 various codices, which comprise altogether 129 instances in which St. Stanislaus appeared in sermons in the manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries). This study examines the relationship between sermons on St. Stanislaus, the construction of his image and the operation, spread, and uses of his cult. Thus, the study presents multiple images and functions of the cult of St. Stanislaus in the Late Middle Ages on the basis of the sermons, and at the same time points to those which were the most prominent and successful. Chapter 1, “The Image of St. Stanislaus in Various Sources of His Cult,” presents the development of the image and cult of St. Stanislaus on the basis of other representations – hagiography, historiographic sources, liturgy, and visual representations. Chapter 2, “The Contexts of Preaching on St. Stanislaus – Preaching Occasions,” provides the background to the preaching on St. Stanislaus and determines the contexts in which the preaching on the saint occurred on the basis of sources other than sermon manuscripts. Chapter 3, “Sermons on St. Stanislaus of Cracow in Manuscript Codices – an Overview,” provides a comprehensive overview of the dossier, showing the variety of sermons and sermon materials present in manuscripts, a listing of which is presented in the appendices for the first time. Sermons were composed by authors from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from Mendicant friars to cathedral, courtly and university preachers, and maybe also parish priests. Chapter 4 is a case study of the most influential sermon text on St. Stanislaus, a model sermon by Peregrinus of Opole, a Dominican friar. The chapter provides a detailed analysis of the sermon, its transmission and reception. The analysis of the remaining sermons focuses on two basic aspects of Stanislaus’ cult: chapter 5.1, An Exemplary Shepherd, deals with the imitable: the image of St. Stanislaus as an exemplar of the good shepherd for contemporary clergy and non-clerical lords as well.