Christ in Motion: Portable Objects and Scenographic Environments in the Liturgy of Medieval Bohemia

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Christ entering Jerusalem on an assChrist in Motion: Portable Objects and Scenographic Environments in the Liturgy of Medieval Bohemia

Petr Uličny

Masaryk University, BrnoDepartment of Theatre Studies, Faculty of Arts, Drama and Space in the Liturgy of Medieval Bohemia (2011)

Abstract

During the 1421 siege of Prague Castle, rebellious residents demonstrated their aversion to the rich furnishings of St Vitus Cathedral in an event described by the chronicler Vavřinec of Březová; at that time, Prague residents: to make their violence more obvious, displayed an image of Christ mounted on an ass on the crenellation of the church, and by turning his face towards the city of Meissen, they uttered the following blasphemy: ‘If you are Christ, then bless Meissen!’ Then they instantly threw the statue from the crenellation, breaking it into pieces. The sacred object was destroyed in this astonishing action; nevertheless, the remarkable tradition of the procession with a statue of Christ on Palm Sundays resumed in the same way after the end of the Hussite Wars.




Liturgical books preserved in great numbers describe the events of a ceremony of this sort regularly held in St Vitus Cathedral. They were published at the end of the fifteenth century as imprints in a form that codifies the programme of performance throughout the previous century. Hence, in a breviary published in 1492, it is first recorded that in the Church of St George (a station church) branches were blessed by a priest and distributed to the gathered congregation.

Click here to read this article from Masaryk University, Brno

Sharan Newman