The Holy House of Loreto as »Illyrian« shrine

Francesca Coltrinari

In the sixteenth century the Basilica of Santa Maria of Loreto became the most important Sanctuary of the Catholicism, thanks to the relic of the Holy House of Nazareth and to the action of the popes.

Since the fifteenth century, Loreto was also a center of the Schiavoni’s immigration: in 1469 the immigrants founded there a brotherhood, built a hospital for pilgrim countrymen and obtained an altar in the new church, constructed at the behest of Popes Paul II and Sixtus IV.

Later, in 1573, Pope Gregory XIII estabished the Illyrian College in Loreto, specifically created to form the priests from the »Illyrian« countries to defend the Catholic faith in lands threatened or conquered by the Turks.

The research examines the history of the Schiavoni confraternity of Loreto, also in relation with other brotherhoods and communities of Schiavoni in the Marche, especially of the nearby cities of Recanati and Ancona, with a focus on the relationship between trade, devotion and artistic production from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth century.

The research also focuses on the Illyrian college and its role in the Counter-Reformation Church policy, by looking for images and artistic products connected to it.