The European Saints are Marching On

This exhibition in the Museum Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art (Museum für Volkskunde) in Vienna deals with the use and transformation of the Catholic cult of the saints to serve secular ends. Above all it presents saints whose influence extends across a larger geographical or administrative political realm, to regions, countries or even the whole European continent. Among other topics the exhibition adresses and illustrates by artefacts, writings and other objects the cultural history and contemporary political circumstances of the canonization and the (re) assignment of the patronages, the instrumentalization of popular piety for the sacralization and legitimization of political rule, the motives and practices in the exaltation of saints to the altars of churches and politics and the propagation of the secular functionalized veneration of saints and their acceptance in the religious setting of the Middle Ages.