Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


1. Pilgrimages are assoc. with many religions (see, e.g., Islam, 3). From earliest times Christians visited places assoc. with Christ's earthly life; such pilgrimages increased after Helena,* mother of Constantine* I, made an exploratory pilgrimage and built basilicas in Palestine. Motives for pilgrimages include penance, thanksgiving, and a desire to obtain supernatural help. In course of time Christian pilgrimages expanded to include such goals as Rome and graves of martyrs and various other holy places elsewhere. Legend and tradition helped build a complex structure connected with pilgrimages in the Middle Ages, including travel in organized companies under armed protection, hospices, esp. in the Alps, and special observance of jubilee yrs. Pilgrims came to be given special consideration by other Christians. Some made pilgrimage a way of life.

2. Outrages committed against pilgrims by Muslim led to Crusades* and military* religious orders.

3. The Luth. Reformation opposed abuses assoc. with pilgrimages (AC XX 3; XXV 5; Ap XII 14, 144; SA II ii 16, 18).

4. Pilgrimages revived in the 19th c., with new centers of attraction, e.g., at Loreto,* It.; Einsiedeln, Switz. (with a famous image of Mary; see also Meinrad); Fátima,* Port.; Lourdes,* Fr.; Auriesville, New York (where Fr. RC missionaries were killed in the 1640s by Iroquois).

The Library of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 13 vols. and index (London, [1885]–97); E. R. Barker, Rome of the Pilgrims and Martyrs (London, 1913); H. Lamb, The Crusades, 2 vols. (New York, 1930–31); S. H. Heath, Pilgrim Life in the Middle Ages (London, 1911); B. Kötting, Peregrinatio religiosa (Munich, 1950); E. A. Moore, The Ancient Churches of Old Jerusalem: The Evidence of the Pilgrims (London, 1961).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online