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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 303: Cloister, Reform, and Town: Religious Communities and Laity in 15th-Century Central Europe, II

Monday 3 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:EXPRO Project No. 20-08389X 'Observance Reconsidered: Uses & Abuses of the Reform (Individuals, Institutions, Society)' / Katedra historie, Filozofická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého, Olomouc
Organisers:Kateřina Horníčková, Sonderforschungsbereich Project 'Visions of Community', Universität Wien / Southern Bohemian University, České Budějovice
Judit Majorossy, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Moderator/Chair:Paweł Kras, Instytut Historii, Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Paper 303-aReform, Social Climate, and the Religiosity of Late Medieval Urban Communities: Examples of Wiener Neustadt, Ödenburg, and Pressburg
(Language: English)
Judit Majorossy, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 303-bThe Reformer Katherina von Mülheim's Journey from Nuremberg to Moravia: Female Dominican Monasteries in 15th-Century Urban Culture
(Language: English)
Klára Mezihoráková, Ústav dějin umění, Akademie věd České republiky, Praha
Index terms: Art History - General, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 303-cTransformations and Forms of Piety of Moravian Towns(wo)men in the 15th Century: The Example of Brno and Olomouc
(Language: English)
Michaela Antonín Malaníková, Department of History, Palacký University, Olomouc
Index terms: Gender Studies, Lay Piety, Religious Life, Social History

Over the late 14th and 15th centuries, when urban laity gradually became more involved in religious activities, various strategies were developed to spread the ideas of religious reform among religious communities and social groups in urban contexts. In the 15th century, urban milieus formed a backdrop to local religious developments, with strong internal differentiation (such as client systems, patronage, confraternities), which, in the 16th century, grew into even more complex denominational urban stratification. These varied developments were closely related to the developments of religious houses in the urban and suburban space, which, since the late Middle Ages, played a crucial role in urban religious developments. They, too, were going through a period of profound transformation, ranging from destruction and decline through different level of acceptance of reform, to creating powerful alliances leading to social and economic flourishing.

In the 15th century the observant movement added to the growing complexity of the relationship between the convents, and the surrounding urban society. It affected the existing networks both inside and outside of monastic communities. In the regions of Central Europe, the reform was received with varying degrees of acceptance, often hindered by local traditions and powerful local actors, but also succeeded in bringing in new forms of piety and religious experience. The reformists faced opposition from the convents, and local elites, based on resisting kinship and political bonds and urban economy networks. In Bohemia it was furthermore complicated by the development of open religious dissent, which culminated in the Hussite wars, the separation of the Bohemian Church from Rome and anti-clerical manifestations directed primarily against the conventuals.
The first of our two sessions will focus on the responses to the reform efforts and other challenges inside and outside of the convents, the transformation of monastic communities to observant ones and its manifestations, but also on the decline of houses due to various adverse factors, in some cases resulting in the weakening and disappearance of monastic communities. The second session tackles the ways the religious reform was reflected and absorbed by urban laity in different Central European regions.