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The Cult Of Saints And Religious Processions In Late Antiquity And The Early Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to demonstrate how power accumulated in Ambrose's hands. It observes that the Catholic community under the leadership of Ambrose accrued power. After the events of 386, both bishop and community wanted to show their phenomenal victory in public. Ambrose, therefore, acted against the law by enacting a procession. He could never have claimed for himself a ritual restricted to the emperor; it was, however, easy to claim it for the relics of his saints. With the spread of relics, the form of this ritual also dispersed across the western Roman Empire. Some generations later, the same ritual had become the common way for bishops to represent the 'Christian dominance in society'. So much did it become ingrained in the episcopate that by the sixth century it was even used without relics, and the imperial adventus no longer played the crucial role that it had played.

Keywords: Ambrose; Christianity; Cult of Saints; Roman Empire; saints



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