A lecture presented as part of the Ushaw Lecture Series, ‘Iconoclasm at Christmas: Catholic Visual Culture in the Heart of Europe, c. 1600’ by Dr Suzanna Ivanič, FRHistS (University of Kent).

The event starts at 5.30pm with a drink reception in the Refectory, followed at 6.00pm with the lecture in the Exhibition Hall.

About the lecture

In December 1619, Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral was ‘cleansed’ of its images under the new King of Bohemia, Frederick V of the Palatinate, and his English wife Elizabeth Stuart. Among the items destroyed were numerous relics, church furnishings and an altar painting by Lucas Cranach. Undertaken at Christmas time, such a provocative act of destruction took on even greater poignancy. Yet many Bohemian Protestants refused to take part and guarded objects including the stunning inlaid walls of gemstones, frescoes and gold reliquary of the St Wenceslas Chapel. This great confessional conflict that played out in the cathedral was at odds with the mixed devotional approaches taken by Prague’s citizens who combined wolves’ teeth amulets with prayer beads and Lutheran literature. This part of Central Europe allowed strong pockets of resistance to the newly divided post-Reformation Christian universe. Medieval Catholic objects played a critical role for those holding onto ideals regarding a harmonious Christian community that spanned the globe.

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All are welcome!

  • Date of Event 6 December 2022
  • Cost Free
  • Location

    Ushaw, Ushaw Moor, Durham DH7 7DW.