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Journal > Volumes > 37 (2006) / 3 (Autumn)
St. Teresa and Olivares: Patron Sainthood, Royal Favorites, and the Politics of Plurality in Seventeenth-Century Spain
Erin Kathleen Rowe
University of Oregon

This article explores the politics of national patron sainthood in early modern Europe. Specifically, it assesses the relationship between patron saints, efforts to consolidate royal authority, and political resistance to royal policies. It examines this relationship through the bitter controversy that unfolded when Teresa of Avila was named patron saint of Spain alongside the traditional patron, Santiago, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. A close investigation of the controversy demonstrates that some who resisted Teresa’s copatronage did so motivated by a deeply rooted hostility to the king’s chief minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, and the position of royal favorite more generally; the idea of having two patrons came to symbolize the dangers of plural authority. The fierce debates over the validity of such authority reveal competing visions of the republic during a time of crisis for the Spanish monarchy.

Pages: 721 - 737