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Title: When the miracles ceased. Shrine and cult management at St Andrews and Scottish cathedrals in the Later Middle Ages
Author(s): Turpie, Thomas
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Editor(s): Brown, M
Stevenson, K
Citation: Turpie T (2017) When the miracles ceased. Shrine and cult management at St Andrews and Scottish cathedrals in the Later Middle Ages. In: Brown M & Stevenson K (eds.) Medieval St Andrews: Church, Cult and City. St Andrews Studies in Scottish History. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, pp. 84-98.
Keywords: Church History, Saints, Pilgrimage, Shrines
Issue Date: Feb-2017
Series/Report no.: St Andrews Studies in Scottish History
Abstract: By the fifteenth century St Andrew had been firmly established as the formal patron saint of Scotland. The image of the Apostle adorned Scottish coins and royal seals, while the 30 November feast day formed the focus for the communal identity of Scottish students and monks who resided abroad. Paradoxically in the same period, belief in the efficacy of the relic of St Andrew, housed in their elaborate shrine in Fife, was on the wane. This development was part of a broader Western European trend in the later middle ages which saw a gradual decline in the importance, and perhaps as significantly the profits, of long established cathedral shrines. This decline resulted from what Richard Dobson has termed the ‘widespread transfer of allegiance from the old to the new’ that characterised this dynamic period in Western European popular piety. Dobson has explored the strategies that the monastic communities at two of England’s more venerable shrines, those of St Cuthbert at Durham and Thomas Becket at Canterbury, used to protect the status of their patron saints within this rapidly changing spiritual environment. This chapter will explore similar efforts by the cathedral chapter at St Andrews to modernise the shrine of their patron saint, comparing the effectiveness of the techniques employed to those used by the custodians of other Scottish cathedral shrines in the later middle ages.
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