IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 313: The Life Cycle of the Clergy From Iceland to Bergamo

Monday 11 July 2005, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Julia Steuart Barrow, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 313-aThe Birth, Childhood, and Adolescence of the Early Icelandic Bishops
(Language: English)
Bernadine McCreesh, Département des Arts et Lettres, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Scandinavian
Paper 313-cThe Life Cycle of Clerics in 14th-Century Bergamo
(Language: English)
Roisin Cossar, Department of History, University of Manitoba
Index terms: Daily Life, Lay Piety, Religious Life

Abstract paper a) This paper examines the lives of the Icelandic bishops found in the Byskupa Sögur, especially those that were candidates for canonisation, and discusses the extent to which the accounts of the bishops’ birth, childhood and adolescence reflect either the Icelandic saga-writing tradition or the European hagiographic tradition.

Paper b) The Church awoke to the need to educate and train candidates for the priestly ministry in a dramatic way from the beginning of the 13th century. The paper will start by discussing the reasons for this new sense of urgency in the matter felt by the Church, and the papacy in particular, arising from a variety of changes in society. It will then go on to discuss the problems it faced in relation to the training of young candidates, and draw comparisons between the problems faced at diocesan level and the experiences of the new mendicant orders, particularly the Franciscans and Dominicans.

Paper c) In this paper, I locate clerics (parish priests, canons and pievani) within the social network of 14th-Century Bergamo by studying key points in their life cycles, including their establishment of sexual relationships, their experiences of fatherhood and of old age. Recently uncovered archival records, including episcopal visitations, witness depositions and last wills and testaments, reveal that during their lives many clerics in Bergamo created personal bonds with local lay people. I will argue that while initially both clerics and the laity were ambivalent about these connections, in the later 14th century both sought to underscore the distinctions that separated them.