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el-Dikka (discussed above), the 150 objects depicting St Menas testify to the shrine's importance for the life of the home and church.

Already in the late fourth century, that vast and intertwined network of homes, churches and tombs spanned the Mediterranean, as pilgrims flocked to Palestine, Egypt and Syria. With imperial and aristocratic patronage, new churches, hospices, monasteries and shrines intensified pilgrims' access to sacred power and linked them to the biblical past. The late fourth-century pilgrim Egeria spent three years travelling to pray at biblical holy places in the environs of Jerusalem as well as to seek out ascetics at monasteries in Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor. Paula and Eustochium, a widowed mother and her daughter, travelled with Jerome from Rome to Palestine and eventually Egypt. Given the celebrity of wonderworking ascetics at this time, it is easy to overlook the role of rank-and-file monastics in guiding and lodging Christian pilgrims, as well as promoting the holy places. Whereas pilgrims tell us little about the devotions back home, the archaeological evidence completes their story. By the sixth century, the diary of the Piacenza pilgrim recounts the various images, relics and markers he kissed, touched and embraced. Not much later, those very sites reverberated in the stories connected to local holy places. The traffic in relics included not only fragments of apostles' bodily remains or pieces of Jesus' cross, but even the wonders effected by the packing material in which they were shipped, or water that had washed the relic. Sensory access to the biblical past was hardly confined to the 'land of the Bible', as distant local shrines extended this growing network of holy places and people.

To conclude, the story of lay devotion in the fourth to sixth centuries can be told as a tale ofencroachments. Church encroached on home, as preachers put steady pressures on lay men and women to integrate practices normally associated with the church (almsgiving and Bible study) into the home. Within the church, the tomb encroached on the altar and baptistery, thereby connecting local churches with outlying cemeteries and shrines. The tomb proper preserved the intimacy of the home through graveside meals and other sensory engagement with the relics they contained. Pilgrims to the Holy Land encountered the centripetal power of a vast network of shrines. Practices typically associated with local tombs and wonderworkers converged on the holy places to articulate a sensory engagement with the biblical past. Those rituals, however, also had a centrifugal force, as relics from the Holy Land (or at least with stories that connected them to the Holy Land) attracted regional pilgrimages. This fluidity of space was also shifting, as the fourth to sixth centuries anticipated other imagined spaces. Sepulchral associations would give

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