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Christian Architecture Within the Kingdom of the Kongo: A Case Study of the Igreja de Jesus


The lack of scholarship engaging with early sixteenth and seventeenth century churches leaves only minute fragments of information to be found on small historical blogs and tourist sites. These churches can function as ritual objects, becoming places to convene and participate in a common religious syncretism among the locals the various Christian sects that were present. Churches can hold other ritual objects as well as display pertinent art used in the perpetuation of Christian beliefs. The establishment of Catholic Churches within the Kongo correlates with European intervention throughout the Americas and Asia. It is also the continuity of some of these churches that places them within such elevated levels of importance to understanding history. Within my work I hope to further the narrative of the Kingdom of the Kongo by incorporating history, discussions of important cultural and religious items, and how these all culminate to help inform us on one of the Kongo‘s churches, the Igreja de Jesus which will be discussed in more detail in chapter 3. The first chapter will help to establish the well documented history of the Kongo, while chapter 2 will center on religious syncretism between traditional religion and Christianity.

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