Where One Can See Saint Martin – a Standard from Cazis

Roughly 60 days after Easter, some villages in Graubünden are buzzing with festivities: this is when the so-called Corpus Christi processions take place. Youth and musical organizations participate in these proces-sions. In Cazis, the grenadiers in their historic uniforms are an unmissable fixture in the processions. An-other unmissable feature used to be, up until around 1950, a standard dating from the 19th century, which is now preserved in the cultural archive in Cazis.

The purple-coloured standard features a medallion-like image on both sides. One of the images depicts Saint Anne, accompanied by Saint Mary as a child. The other image portrays Saint Martin, the patron saint of tailors, farriers and armourers, travellers and beggars. Hence, the medallion on the standard depicts Saint Martin cutting his red cloak in two with a sword to share it with a beggar. This is an often-depicted scene, but on the standard it is – and this is rare – captured in what looks like a half-length portrait.

But why is Corpus Christi only celebrated in some villages and towns in Graubünden? In the early 16th cen-tury, the communities of Graubünden fought for and gained the right to appoint and dismiss their own priests. Thus, if a community elected a Catholic priest, the community became Catholic – and would sub-sequently also celebrate Corpus Christi. In Cazis, home to a St Martin's Church as well as probably the old-est monastery in Graubünden, the choice was clear...

Help Search