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Barriers to Pilgrimage

(1,768 words)

Author(s): Sari Katajala-Peltomaa
Medieval Christians had many reasons to embark on a journey to a sacred space. Similarly, their reasons and motivations not to make the pilgrimage were various and multiple. Some of the barriers were legal, some personal, while others arose from larger political, climatic, or geographic conditions. The first barriers pilgrims faced often related to their social station. Would-be pilgrims had to obtain permission to leave on pilgrimage from persons who had authority over them or to whom they had obligations. Both men and women needed a permi…


(1,313 words)

Author(s): Sari Katajala-Peltomaa
Pilgrimage was an essential element in the veneration of saints. On the other hand, an existing cult and a group of devotees were indispensable requirements for canonization, the official recognition of person's sainthood. The authority to canonize, to proclaim a person saint, became a papal prerogative in 1234. After this, theoretically at least, the papal curia controlled all new cults, and saints and sainthood had the same ground rules throughout medieval Europe. The candidate needed to have led an impeccable life and perfor…