The Sanctuary of a sacred nation : national discourse in the style and décor of the Licheń Sanctuary
Title: The Sanctuary of a sacred nation : national discourse in the style and décor of the Licheń Sanctuary
Author: KISIEL, Piotr
Citation: Nationalities papers : the journal of nationalism and ethnicity, 2016, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 319-339
ISSN: 0090-5992; 1465-3923
The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, located near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, provides a unique insight into a nationalistic discourse in contemporary Poland. It was created not only as a Catholic shrine but also as a place of patriotic indoctrination. This paper examines not only the architecture and design of the Church and the surrounding Sanctuary, but also the ideas of Rev. Eugeniusz Makulski, the site’s founder, and Barbara Bielecka, its architect, in order to understand one of the important currents in a debate on the Polish post-Communist identity. A close analysis of this religious shrine is intended not only to understand this particular site but also to examine how national identity is (re)defined in architecture. As this paper shows, the employment of symbolic devices allows the creation of a coherent story of the Polish nation as a religious community with a history intrinsically linked to the Catholic Church. However, the annexation of the lay sphere (nation) by the sacred one (religion) leads to problematic results when it comes to the universality of the religion and the "nationalization" of the Catholic Church itself.
Published online: 30 October 2015
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