Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Lisa McClain, Ph.D.


Erik J. Hadley, Ph.D.


Katherine V. Huntley, Ph.D.


Between 1140 and 1144, several consecrations at the newly renovated abbey church of the royal monastery at St. Denis, located just a few miles north of Paris, the capital of the Capetian kings, were carried out under the careful control of its abbot, Suger. These ecclesiastical ceremonies were of immediate concern to the king of France, a number of significant French lords, and to the French clergy for their importance in recognizing the patron saint of the monarchy, and by extension of the people of France. The consecrations used traditional elements of liturgy to introduce elements of the new “Gothic” architectural style that quickly became representative of the French church and monarch. The first of the ceremonies emphasized the long connection between monarchs and the Church in France. The last, however, not only presented dramatic architectural features emphasizing the history and significance of the abbey but also served as an occasion for settling a vicious war between the king and one of his chief vassals. Abbot Suger orchestrated this consecration to demonstrate the monarch’s acceptance of the Church as his overlord. The ceremonies were discussed briefly in small books produced afterwards by Abbot Suger, De Consecratione and De Administratione. When the ceremonies are examined within the context of the monastic, economic, and political environment of the mid-twelfth century it becomes clear that these events link the history of France from its earliest days to the dynamic changes of the high middle Ages, setting the stage for a stronger French monarchy with its associated symbols of power.