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IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 756: Canons, Creeds, and Vitae: Case Studies in Medieval Saintly Writing

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Helen Birkett, Department of History, University of Exeter
Paper 756-aExploring the Borders of Hagiography and Saints' Offices
(Language: English)
Claire Macht, Faculty of History, University of Oxford
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Liturgy, Religious Life
Paper 756-bCreed and Controversy: Language and Belief in Carolingian Europe
(Language: English)
Owen M. Phelan, Department of Church History, Mount St Mary's University, Maryland
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Sermons and Preaching, Theology
Paper 756-cBorders of Power and Sanctity: Relations with Rulers in the Canonisation Process of Nils Hermansson of Linköping
(Language: English)
Johanna Tyynelä-Haapamäki, Department of Church History University of Helsinki
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Theology

Paper -a:
Composing a liturgical office and writing a vita were two of the essential steps in the creation of a saint's cult. This paper will examine the interconnections between these two elements of cult formation using the examples of St Edmund of Bury (d. approx. 869), Robert of Knaresborough (d. 1218), and John of Bridlington (d. 1379). The three case studies will explore how vitae and offices drew on similar imagery, examine which came first, office or vita, and how later cult events, such as translations helped to maintain or revive cults over time.

Paper -b:
In the early Middle Ages, creeds were widely composed, exchanged, and professed to establish one's 'good faith'. But more than this, creeds were seen as crucial teaching tools, catechetical aids that bore the weight of ambitious missionary programs. As such, early medieval thinkers reflected deeply on the composition and dissemination of creeds. Subtle adjustments (and some not so subtle) to traditional presentations of widely used creeds reveal that Carolingian authors believed tinkering with the language of creeds in order to make them more engaging to their audiences, both friendly and hostile, was an integral part of preserving continuity of the unchangeable faith behind important statements of belief.

Paper -c:
The canonization process of Nils Hermansson of Linköping (1325/26-1391) was opened in the Council of Constance (1414-1418). As a wielder of ecclesiastical power Nils Hermansson, first the archdeacon of Linköping and later the bishop, encountered the often conflicting interests of kings and those in power. Swedish kings Magnus, Haakon and Albert appear as Nils’ antagonists alongside hostile knights, bailiffs and other local rulers. I will study in comparison to Swedish diplomataria how these conflicts were interpreted to the benefit of Nils’ sanctity, and how the testimonies of contemporaries add their accents for the canonization project.