Accepted Paper:

Licheń – a place of go(o)ds: local phenomenon or a sign of globalisation?  
Marta Warat (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

The poster presents a recently developed pilgrimage site in Poland, Licheń, resembling a religious amusement park where the borderline between the sacred and the profane is blurred. Our poster invites discussion as to whether Licheń is the result of local circumstances or an example of globalisation.

Paper long abstract:

Co-authors: Kinga Sekerdej and Agnieszka Pasieka

The poster presents a recently developed, and a very popular, pilgrimage site in Poland, Licheń. It is based on the research of a group of Jagiellonian University students. We argue that the striking feature of this pilgrimage enterprise is the lack of visible borderlines between the sacred and the profane. Although Licheń has been a pilgrimage place for decades, its importance grew during the 1990s when the parish priest decided on building a huge basilica, meant to be 'the votive of the Polish nation for the year 2000'. Nowadays, the basilica is by far the biggest building in the area; it is in fact the biggest church in Poland.

The pilgrimage centre of Lichen comprises not only of the basilica, but it forms a huge religious complex composed of: shops, restaurants, hotels, information points, a museum, a gallery, parks, to name some. Their presence reshapes the pilgrimage site so that it resembles a religious amusement park, where one moves with the map and visits the "religious highlights". Therefore we argue that the character of the complex blurs the border between the sacred and the profane. It is visible, amongst other, in: (1) religious marketing and tourism; (2) religious syncretism and the intermingling of sacred and profane objects in the basilica surroundings and in the basilica itself; (3) religious nationalist symbolism; (4) the use of modern technology and global influences. Our poster is also an invitation to discuss whether Licheń is only an exception and the result of specific local circumstances or, far from it, an example of how religiosity is manifested in our times.

Panel W101
Poster session