James Miller wins Sir John Rhys Essay Prize

Congratulations to James Miller (Oxford) on winning the Sir John Rhŷs Prize for the academic year 2020-2021, for an essay entitled 'The Treatment of Relics from Brittany at Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Fleury', which was based on his doctoral research. 

In the essay James examined how Fleury, a monastery in northern France, treated the relics of two saints, Paul Aurelian and Maurus, which had recently arrived from Brittany in the 950s and 960s.  Despite their similar origins, he argued that the cults of these saints followed notably different paths at Fleury due to the how the monks used their relics.  While Paul Aurelian's relics were given the distinction of being interred alongside those of Benedict, Fleury's great patron saint, this prevented the monks interacting with them and left Paul Aurelian a venerable but distant figure.  In contrast, the monks used Maurus' relics quite differently, carrying them into conflicts where it would be too dangerous to risk Benedict's relics.  Through this the monks could thus experience miracles worked by Maurus for them and thus Maurus could come to be seen as one of the monastery's heavenly protectors.