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Recalibrating through Remembrance

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The Apostles as Guides of Spiritual Renewal in Mediaeval Europe

image of Religion and Theology

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries witness a complex appeal to the “age of the apostles,” referring to the first centuries of Christianity as model and foundation. Both the Catholic Church and various apostolic movements claim to be true imitators of the vita apostolica. In early thirteenth-century centres of reform, the apostles as founding figures of the Christian religion are frequently visualized, most elaborately in stained glass windows where the apocryphal Acts or “Lives” of the apostles inspired the scenes distributed over the panes of each window dedicated in general to one apostle (or pair of apostles). The choice of scenes and the analysis of what in the apocryphal Acts is left out reveals the way the Catholic Church, in its endeavour to reform, applied the apostles as breaches and bridges in the development of its doctrine and self-definition, also in response to claims to apostolicity outside the mainstream Church.

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University


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