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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Most studies of the Christianization of cities focus on churches, bishops, or conversion. However, to make cities ‘Christian’ in some way, Christian groups also had to re-frame how the city was conceived and to develop new urban practices. In sermons, Christian preachers attempted to re-conceptualize the city, while some Christian inscriptions attempted to write Christian history into the urban fabric. Newly developed Christian processions as well as Christianized public ceremonies similarly served to transform urban habits. Processional participants claimed to represent the city, even as the procession claimed the city itself. These ritual acts of place-making, whether rhetorical or performed, changed the city as much as church construction even though they did not (physically) change a thing. This ritual Christianization of cities began with Constantine, the first Christian emperor, but it continued for centuries after; if it ever ended.

Keywords: Christianization, Damasus, Egeria, John Chrysostom, liturgy, Porphyry of Gaza, procession, ritual, sermon, urban change

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