Devotional practice and emotional response to the Veronica in Medieval Literature in English


The GCMS Summer Symposium 2018: Emotion and Devotion in Medieval Europe (21/06/2018)

by Amanda Murphy, Maria Luisa Maggioni


This present study was suggested by the project Veronica Route, whose aim is to build an online catalogue of the artistic and literary works concerning the Roman “Veronica”, i.e. the medieval relic preserved in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Devotion to the Roman Veronica was promoted by Pope Innocent III (reigned 1198-1216), giving rise to a liturgical veneration of the Holy Face of Christ which was soon to filter into the devotional practices of the laity.

In fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England there was a significant production of vernacular texts, inspired by the Veronica legend and devotion to the Holy Face, in which the emotional and devotional drive of the Veronica theme was significantly expressed. The presentation considers above all the choice of vocabulary which expresses the emotional involvement of worshippers, who considered the Veronica as an invitation to gaze on Christ, which enkindled a desire to be like him and a longing for virtue. This gaze equalled veneration of the visible, miraculous memorial of the Passion of Christ and hence of his saving work, the sign that “schalle bere witnesse / Vnto all pepull playne”.

This symposium will explore the growing area of research into the study of male and female medieval lay piety, and is being run by the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies in collaboration with the University of Reading History Department Research Cluster ‘Emotion, Devotion and Belief’.


  • Robert Swanson (Università di Birmingham)
  • Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, Università di Londra)
  • Amanda Murphy, Maria Luisa Maggioni (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano): Devotional practice and emotional response to the Veronica in Medieval Literature in English.
  • Katherine Lewis (Università di Huddersfield)
  • Sarah Bastow (Università di Huddersfield)
  • Sarah Macmillan (Università di Birmingham)
  • Paul Davies (Università di Reading)
  • Helen Parish (University of Reading)
  • Rebecca Rist (University of Reading)

Thursday, 21 June 2018: Van Emden Lecture Theatre, Edith Morley Building.