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Béla Vilmos Mihalik

Sacred Urban Spaces in Seventeenth-Century Upper Hungary


This essay examines the changes that took place in the functions of sacred spaces towards the end of the seventeenth century, at the time of the upheavals of the Counter-Reformation in Upper Hungary. After having come under the control of the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches underwent a symbolic transformation characteristic of Catholic practice and belief. This transformation included changes to the furnishings and the inner spaces of the churches. At the time of the uprising led by Imre Thököly and Protestant refugees, along with the Catholic vicarage, these buildings, which were expressions of confessional belonging, became the primary targets of ritual violence. Through similar transformations and renovations, churches which since the Reformation had performed secular functions regained their status as religious buildings. In both cases, the participation of the community in Catholic rituals, such as re-consecration, mass, and procession, played a decisive role, since these rituals strengthened and helped to institutionalize (from the perspective of Catholic rites) the sacral function of the building.