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In recent decades scholars have primarily concentrated on the political dimension to the royal saints' cults, more specifically their promotion by the secular and ecclesiastical authorities. In this context the sense of communal guilt over the death of an innocent individual is also a noteworthy feature. According to the thirteenth-century Dominican friar Stephan of Bourbon, a cult had sprung up in the diocese of Lyons around a dog that had saved a child from a serpent but was subsequently killed as a result of a misunderstanding. It hardly needs emphasising that this is precisely the essence of saints' cults in general; from their exalted place the saints act as intercessors between God and men. Another observation is that although pagan ideas regarding the nature of kingship may have filtered into the Christian era, this did not necessarily result in the appearance of princely saints' cults.

Keywords: communal guilt; ecclesiastical authorities; intercessors; royal saints' cults



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