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Original scientific paper

Shrine Politics and Non-Institutional Religiosity. The Mrtvalj Spring in the Choreography of the Pilgrimage Shrine of St. John the Baptist at Podmilačje (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Marijana Belaj orcid id ; Odsjek za etnologiju i kulturnu antropologiju Filozofski fakultet Sveučilište u Zagrebu

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The Mrtvalj spring is an integral part of a more complex sacred landscape, the center of
which is the Shrine of St. John the Baptist located in Podmilačje near Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The shrine is a multi-confessional pilgrimage destination that is also very popular
within the wider region. The Mrtvalj spring is one of the key stops in pilgrimage itineraries,
but it is not only a sacred place within pilgrimage practices. In this paper the conceptualization
of the Mrtvalj spring’s sacredness is examined as a reflection of the relationship
between the religious and the political. The author analyzes the relationship between the
shrine’s politics, which are based on the ideas of a “Bosnian Lourdes” and a shared shrine,
and the spring as a focal point for the shared non-institutional practices of believers of various
religious affiliations. She aims to show that a shared sacred site does not necessarily have
to be controversial, and calls for a revalorization of non-institutional religiosity, which has
proved to be a rich phenomenon for the study of interreligious relations.


sacred spring; interreligious relations; shared shrine, shrine politics; Podmilačje; Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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