Virtual Reconstruction of Converso Religious Practices: The 15th Century Memorial Mass of Sara de Carvajal


During the mid-fifteenth century, the converso Carvajal– Santa María family confederation of Plasencia, Spain, implemented an extensive program to memorialize their lineage and religiosity. This initiative was the single most important endeavor they pursued in blood-obsessed Christian Spain, and it explains why and how conversos created family memory for the purposes of public consumption and privately held knowledge. It further reveals how the ecclesiastical Santa Maria family of Burgos (formerly the ha-Levi rabbinic family) guided the religious practices of the Old Christian Carvajal family as the two families integrated their lineages. Among the most important of their efforts, which this presentation seeks to analyze and present using a virtual reality model, was one implemented in October 1468. Via the clansmen’s efforts within the cathedral chapter was the enactment of a statute that committed the clergy to the singing of a trinity of masses on a daily basis. Each morning the chaplain, deacons, and subdeacons would first chant a daily mass for the forgiveness of sins (misa del perdón), with its responsorial psalms, over the tomb of the cardinal’s mother, Sara de Carvajal, which was located at the main altar. Following in the footsteps of the clergymen, this study employs a virtual reality analytical method that allows us to experience how the community would have lived this ritual and forever preserve these conversos’ religiosity.


Roger Louis Martinez Davila
Professor, History, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States


Presentation Type

Innovation Showcase


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement


Conversos, Jews, Practice, Digital, Humanities, Virtual, Reality, Plasencia

Digital Media

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