Marie Lezowski and Yann Lignereux are publishing this collective history book on the theme of conflicts in which Christian objects are the argument and the target in the modern era.


Reference: Livre collectif – Matière à discorde. Christian objects in modern conflicts, textes réunis par Marie Lezowski et Yann Lignereux, Rennes, PUR, collection ” Histoire “, juillet 2021.


This books seeks to elucidate the great reversal of Christian cult objects in Ancient Regime societies. How did the Host, the statue and the rosary trigger so much violence ? Does the “idols” destruction mark the storming entrance into our modernity ? How to finally understand that Christian objects, as a sign of identity, also blurred the boundaries between religious groups and encourage in-between experiences ?


By shedding light on Christian objects through their tormented history, the investigation returned to the study of destructions, their scope and their legendary amplification. In the second part, secularization is discussed by the multiple persitences of forbidden objects. Long-distance circulation, the third part of the study, is because of both the mass shipments of Catholic propaganda and the treasures of exiles. Finally, the book examines the shared objects that cross the limits of confessions, or even the ones of religions.


Table of contents

Marie Lezowski, Introduction. The discord of Christian objects and modern change

First part. Destructed objets. Actions, controversies and legends

  • Nathalie Szczech, A pastoral iconoclasm. Guillaume Farel’s network of preachers in Switzerland in the 1530s
  • Nicolas Balzamo, The benefits of iconoclasm.  Destructions of pictures and cultural phenomenons.
  • Didier Boisson, The cross, object of denominational confrontation and controversy. France, XVIIth-early XVIIIth century
  • Marie Lezowski, Sacrilegious theft and settling of scores between neighbors. Siena, 1730

Part two. Persistent objects. Replacements, continuity and resistance

  • Ralph Dekoninck and Pierre Antoine Fabre, From defeated image to perfect image: Louis Richeome at the sanctuary of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers
  • Suzanne Lachenicht, Objects of “superstition” in North German Lutheran churches
  • Eric Durot, Catholic devotional objects in reformed England and Scotland (c. 1560-c. 1650)
  • Margreet Dieleman, Baptismal objects in French Reformed churches under the test of the Revocation

Part three: Remote objects, between propaganda and diasporas

  • Anne Lepoittevin, Reconnoistre par l’Agnus Dei qui sont les catholiques. Portable Roman iconography in Europe during the Wars of Religion
  • Éric Roulet, Offending God and his servants. The sacrileges of rebellious Indians in XVIth-century northern Mexico
  • Bruno Pomara, When objects of faith form the basis of the reputation. Moriscos between Spain and Italy
  • Cesare Santus, Mass wine in question. Controversies and experiences at the Holy Office

Part four : Shared objects

  • Frédéric Cousinié, “An invention for pleasure” : devotional objects from the mendicant orders in the XVIIth century
  • Claire Moutengou Barats, The future of the Church property in Lausanne in the aftermath of the Reformation
  • Caroline Callard, The battle of the incorrupt bodies. Hosts and the undead in the islands of the Levant
  • Nicolas Richard, A cyclic history. Destructions, replacements and reemployment of christian objects in modern Bohemia

Marie Lezowski, Conclusion




Lecturer in modern history at the TEMOS at the University of Angers

Research themes :

– cultural and religious history of early modern Italy (c. 1550 – c. 1750)

– commercial, spiritual and legal issues of the circulation of Catholic objects

Associate Researcher at TEMOS

Associate Researcher at CéSor (Centre d’études en sciences sociales du religieux) – EHESS

Partnership with Alliance Europa :

Marie Lezowski benefits from the Attractiveness scheme for her research activities – More about her project “Portable Europe – Christian objects in circulation: human mobility and the recomposition of European cultures (16th-18th centuries)”.

TEMOS – CNRS FRE 2015, Universities of Angers, South Brittany, Le Mans

TEMOS – CNRS FRE 2015, Universities of Angers, South Brittany, Le Mans

TEMOS (Times, Worlds, Societies) brings together teacher-researchers and research support staff from the universities of Angers, Southern Brittany, Le Mans and the CNRS.

TEMOS is a two-year research training programme (FRE 2015), with sixty full members and as many doctoral students working on the four periods of history, from antiquity to the very present day (sections 32 and 33 of the CoNRS). Their research focuses on various human organisations and geographical areas conducive to international cooperation; their subjects are multi-disciplinary, resulting in numerous collaborations with other disciplines: literature, law, political science, geography, life sciences, medicine, environment.

University of Angers

University of Angers

The University of Angers offers master courses in law, economics and management and contributes to the research areas of the Institute for European and Global Studies.