Pilgrimage is a religious practice that, though originating in antiquity and still active in various forms, constitutes the predominant ritual of the Middle Ages. Rich evidence from various traditions shows that medieval pilgrimage was not only a ritual by itself but that it also involved other rituals – and that it operated through them. Medieval pilgrims engaged in a series of rituals before, during, and after their religious journey(s). Furthermore, they participated in rituals that were performed on pilgrimage sites: sanctuaries, shrines, cult churches, cathedrals, and monasteries.
Moreover, as an essential element of medieval social, political, and religious life, pilgrimage was a relational and complex practice. Its power and efficacy did not only emanate from its associated rituals, but also from its arts. In fact, visual, literary, and performing arts were the sine qua non of medieval pilgrimage, just as they were integral elements of all important medieval rituals. As the articles of this first issue of Eventum reveal, the transformative experience that pilgrims sought through pilgrimage was achieved through the interaction of arts and rituals.
Cover Image: giorgos A. Konstantinou, details of Kyreneian Pilgrimage II, Church of Virgin Mary Chrysopolitissa, 2023, printmaking, 55x25 cm - The artist created this work for the cover of Eventum 1. The work has undergone a digital recreation by Nasia Demetriou.