Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies

Denys Hay Lecture 2017

Professor Simon Ditchfield, University of York will speak on "Here time becomes space": Roma sancta in the Making of Roman Catholicism as a World Religion

This event is free but ticketed.  Register at: 


A drinks reception will follow the lecture.


Over less than two centuries ca.1492–ca.1655, Rome was reinvented as the capital of the first globalized religion. Roman Catholicism’s coming of age was reflected in the unprecedented fact that all the revised texts regarded as being of universal application in the daily worship of the post-Reformation Catholic Church (and which substantially shaped its liturgy down to Vatican II), shared the suffix Romanum/us, beginning with the Catechismus romanus of 1566. This was not merely textual symbolism, for exported to the far-flung corners of the new Roman Catholic world were missionaries trained in the city’s national colleges, as well as precious, physical relics of its early Christian martyrs whose number had been exponentially increased by the accidental rediscovery of the long forgotten catacombs. Moreover, copies of key Marian icons, such as the Salus Populi Romani of S. Maria Maggiore, which the Jesuits adopted as their global logo, were appropriated and remade by indigenous artists from Mexico to Manila, Ming China to Mughal India. Such material vectors of influence were validated by indulgences, whereby venerating a copy anywhere in the world was as legitimate as praying before the Roman original. This ‘miracle’ of portable Catholicism universalized the particular, Roman reality to create a remarkably resilient spiritual/devotional ‘alloy’ that still commands the loyalty of over one billion of this planet’s inhabitants.


Jun 06 2017 -

Denys Hay Lecture 2017

Join us for the 2017 Denys Hay lecture on 6th June as Professor Simon Ditchfield speaks on "Here time becomes Space": Roma sancta in the making of Roman Catholicism as a world religion

University of Edinburgh, Appleton Tower Lecture Theatre 1, Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE