• St Pientia and the Château de la Roche-Guyon: Relic Translations and Sacred History in Seventeenth-Century France

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2017-05-26)
      This article seeks to explore the connections between the translation of an early Christian relic to the Château de la Roche-Guyon in the mid-seventeenth century and the writing of local sacred histories by the priest and prior Nicolas Davanne. It finds that the translation of a finger bone of St Pientia was the culmination of efforts by a local scholar to revive the sacred history of the Vexin and to celebrate the regional liturgical traditions associated with its early Christian martyrs. In doing so, it finds support for the recent historiography on local, sacred histories which emerged during the Counter-Reformation in response to liturgical standardization. The article also discusses the unstable nature of relics as material objects and explores the ways in which relics were continually reinvested with meaning. It is shown that Pientia’s relic was not only part of a defence of a local spiritual heritage in response to Trent, but also part of a claim to an early Christian spiritual heritage for a deviant and heretical movement within the Church.