The rock sanctuary of St. Michael of Tancia, in the province of Rieti (Lazio), dedicated to the Archangel from at least 774 AD, is one of the most significant examples of the micaelic shrine, because has all the main features of the angel’s cult, in regards to the natural context (sacred mountain, presence of water, paths) but also to devotional context (pilgrimages, presence of relics, preexisting cults, deep continuity of religious and cultural traditions). It was a holy place from an older age, as evidenced by the presence of a little anthropomorphic statue in the cave, identifiable with a pagan divinity of the Roman or pre-Roman age. Even the organization of the sacred space inside (entrance door, altar-ciborium, steps, but also the different light conditions, material and tangible cult signs), reveals continuous processes of transformation and stratification. In St. Michael of Tancia, the signs that define the place as sacred have a dual nature: tangible and intangible, as demonstrated the archaeological analysis of the sanctuary, but also the religious-historical documentation. The sources reveal the particular importance of the topographical aspect relatively to the main events: dedication of place to the Archangel, subsequent use of pilgrim’s aim and contended by competing istitutions (Sabina’s bishopric and Farfa’s Abbey.) The foundation legend (Revelatio seu apparitio s. Michaelis Archangeli in Monte Tancia) places particular importance on the entrance door of the sanctuary, in front of which a battle takes place, between s. Michael and the dragon that plagued the area, and the most hidden and inaccessible zone to the sanctuary, where the dragon is finally sent away and where the pre-Christian divinity artifact was placed. The following documents (Chronicon Farfense) also emphasize the fundamental role of the entrance door to the place of worship as part of a long pilgrimage, articulated in the final part of a particularly arduous climb, up steep trails alongside the mountain and difficult steps. The archaeological analysis of the sanctuary, also across a 3d survey, was conducted using range-based techniques, integrated with image-based and digital photogrammetry, has permitted also to identify an older entrance, that also allows a reflection on the different distribution and function of spaces within the rock santuary to be connected to the presence of the two cults. The current entrance allows you to better observe the altar-ciborium, and it seems to be directly related to the path of climb/ascent of the faithful follower/pilgrim, marked by several steps, as if to mark a deliberate break with the previous pagan worship. The physical path of the follower is accompanied by the light that penetrates from the entrance door and the window and illuminates the sacred space up to the ciborium-altar, while the rest of the sanctuary is wrapped in the shadows reaching complete darkness. This work will emphasize, through an interdisciplinary approach, the fundamental dialect of the sanctuary, based on antinomies dark/light, entrance/bottom, up hill/down hill, also highlighted by the replacement with the original entrance to the next one, which are also graphically the opposition between true and false religion, between Christian worship and demonic devotion

THE ROLE OF THE DOORS IN THE CHRISTIANIZATION OF SACRED PLACES: THE CASE OF ST. MICHAEL OF TANCIA’S ROCK SANCTUARY

PATTI, DANIELA;
In corso di stampa

Abstract

The rock sanctuary of St. Michael of Tancia, in the province of Rieti (Lazio), dedicated to the Archangel from at least 774 AD, is one of the most significant examples of the micaelic shrine, because has all the main features of the angel’s cult, in regards to the natural context (sacred mountain, presence of water, paths) but also to devotional context (pilgrimages, presence of relics, preexisting cults, deep continuity of religious and cultural traditions). It was a holy place from an older age, as evidenced by the presence of a little anthropomorphic statue in the cave, identifiable with a pagan divinity of the Roman or pre-Roman age. Even the organization of the sacred space inside (entrance door, altar-ciborium, steps, but also the different light conditions, material and tangible cult signs), reveals continuous processes of transformation and stratification. In St. Michael of Tancia, the signs that define the place as sacred have a dual nature: tangible and intangible, as demonstrated the archaeological analysis of the sanctuary, but also the religious-historical documentation. The sources reveal the particular importance of the topographical aspect relatively to the main events: dedication of place to the Archangel, subsequent use of pilgrim’s aim and contended by competing istitutions (Sabina’s bishopric and Farfa’s Abbey.) The foundation legend (Revelatio seu apparitio s. Michaelis Archangeli in Monte Tancia) places particular importance on the entrance door of the sanctuary, in front of which a battle takes place, between s. Michael and the dragon that plagued the area, and the most hidden and inaccessible zone to the sanctuary, where the dragon is finally sent away and where the pre-Christian divinity artifact was placed. The following documents (Chronicon Farfense) also emphasize the fundamental role of the entrance door to the place of worship as part of a long pilgrimage, articulated in the final part of a particularly arduous climb, up steep trails alongside the mountain and difficult steps. The archaeological analysis of the sanctuary, also across a 3d survey, was conducted using range-based techniques, integrated with image-based and digital photogrammetry, has permitted also to identify an older entrance, that also allows a reflection on the different distribution and function of spaces within the rock santuary to be connected to the presence of the two cults. The current entrance allows you to better observe the altar-ciborium, and it seems to be directly related to the path of climb/ascent of the faithful follower/pilgrim, marked by several steps, as if to mark a deliberate break with the previous pagan worship. The physical path of the follower is accompanied by the light that penetrates from the entrance door and the window and illuminates the sacred space up to the ciborium-altar, while the rest of the sanctuary is wrapped in the shadows reaching complete darkness. This work will emphasize, through an interdisciplinary approach, the fundamental dialect of the sanctuary, based on antinomies dark/light, entrance/bottom, up hill/down hill, also highlighted by the replacement with the original entrance to the next one, which are also graphically the opposition between true and false religion, between Christian worship and demonic devotion
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/117937
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