Chiesa e spettri nel Medioevo

Nell’Alto Medioevo la Chiesa era molto preoccupata riguardo alla credenza popolare secondo la quale i morti potevano tornare per visitare i propri congiunti.

Per la chiesa questo fenomeno incarnava una credenza molto importante per il paganesimo e quindi da sradicare al più presto.

Sant’Agostino, nel trattato De cura pro mortuis gerenda ( Sulle cure da dedicare ai morti), incitava a sbarrare la strada, dal punto di vista cristiano, ai fantasmi:

“I morti nulla sanno di ciò che ci accade e non si curano di noi. L’episodio di Lazzaro e del ricco cattivo lo rivela in pieno. Quando entrambi erano nel seno di Abramo, Dio non permise che Lazzaro tornasse sulla terra per mettere in guardia i fratelli del ricco cattivo dai tormenti che li aspettavano nell’Aldilà”.

Nell’Alto Medioevo i racconti di apparizioni di defunti comuni sono rarissimi.

Fanno accezione i racconti del quarto libro dei Dialoghi di Gregorio Magno; tuttavia si tratta di racconti che interessano solo l’Italia e un ambiente ancora impregnato di cultura antica. In quell’epoca troviamo invece vari scritti sull’élite dei fantasmi: i santi, che apparivano a chierici o monaci oppure ai sovrani.

A volte le apparizioni avvenivano da parte di spiriti maligni.

Briganti, criminali condannati alla pena capitale i cui corpi erano rimasti insepolti, suicidi, bimbi nati morti e quindi non battezzati. Spiriti terrificanti e malvagi che, in questi casi, davano l’occasione a un santo di dimostrare i propri poteri soprannaturali.

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