chapter  8
16 Pages

From prince-bishopric to city-state

Nationalizing the Church and creating a republic in reformation Geneva
WithWilliam G. Naphy

The adoption of Protestantism had profound consequences for the pre-existing, multi-layered Catholic sacred landscape and its physical possessions. This chapter argues that political change which had the greatest impact on the landscape of sacred space in Geneva and most importantly, its environs. It also argues the act of nationalization (rather than secularization) gave a distinct, arguably unique, hue to the way in which sacred landscape was 'rewoven' in the newly Protestant city-state. Prior to the Reformation, Geneva, like other cathedral cities, had religious houses, parish churches, oratories and other ecclesiastical structures associated with the maintenance of the Church's religious life. In the city centre and the countryside, unlike the suburbs, the old landscape was largely intact in the physical sense, but the religious life and political realities within and around this older landscape had changed dramatically. The new city-state government proclaimed the unifying nature of the new religious structure.