Rite of Church Dedication in the Early Medieval Era

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Moves beyond the dedication of the building per se to show the intent of the rite: the creation of an assembly or convocation of believers who share a sacred history and common responsibilities to God and to the church universal. It illustrates this by drawing parallels between the ninth-century dedication rite and the rite of Christian Initiation to show that the building and the assembly were literally baptized and blessed.


Repshers first contribution is to demonstrate that Quid significent duodecim candelae is a commentary on the ceremony contained in the Ordo ad benedicandam ecclesiam. The association of the texts is significant because it allows Repsher to date the composition of the Ordo, which is found in manuscripts of the Roman-German Pontifical of the tenth century, to shortly before the composition of Quid significent duodecim candelae, which first appears in manuscripts of the mid-ninth century. Together, therefore, the texts provide a liturgical glimpse into the rich world of Carolingian ecclesiological and religious thought. The remainder of Repshers study consists of detailed analyses of the text, a brief assessment of their place in the program of the Carolingian reform, and useful translations of both.  Catholic Historical Review

"Repsher is an extremely careful and disciplined scholar whose translations of the tenth-century texts are reliable and readable. The contribution of his translations and commentaries is clear: he allows us to repossess both the dedication and the consecration of sacred space in a remote age. The manuscript is full of surprises for scholars, largely because its author has combed a variety of literature - old narrative histories to the latest topical studies of ritual and Religionsgeschichte. When Repsher writes of exegesis and liturgy, he manages to convey a sense of the early medieval measure of divinity and the respect for those places where God was thought to descend and transform creation." - P. I. Kaufman

"Dr. Repsher's work will be most useful to students of medieval religion, medieval art and medieval architecture. He has translated the fullest account of the early medieval church dedication ceremony, and he has shown that that account dates from the Carolingian era, a century before the date assigned by the editors of the Pontifical in which it is most widely transmitted. His lucid translation and commentary make a text too long hidden in an edition unfamiliar to non-specialists easy to consult. As scholars realize that medieval liturgy is a vital source for any understanding of medieval belief and practice, they will be grateful to find a major liturgical text expounded clearly." - David Ganz

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Foreword, Introduction
1. The History of Church Dedication and Its Interpretation: PRG 40 and Quid significent duodecim candelae
2. An Analysis of Ordo ad benedicandam ecclesiam (Steps 1-150)
3. An Analysis of Quid significent duodecim candelae:
Liturgical Expositions; How the Expositor Composed Quid significent duodecim candelae; The Expositor's Introduction (Steps 1 - 9); Unity, Reconciliation and the Fundamentals of Doctrine (Steps 10-24); Aspersion and Anointing - The Call to Purgation, Purity and Unity (Steps 25-50); The Deposition of the Relics - the Procession of the Perfected to Heaven (Steps 51-63)
4. Texts and Contexts:
The Nature and Goals of the Carolingian Reform; The Civitas Dei and the Carolingian Reform; The Contents of PRG 40 in the Light of Carolingian Reform; Description of the Roman Rite of Baptism; Parallels Between the Roman Ordo of Baptism and PRG 40; Contents of Quid significent duodecim candelae in Light of Carolingian Reform; References to Baptism and Literary Function in Quid significent duodecim candelae.
Appendix A: An English Translation of Ordo ab benedicandam ecclesiam
Appendix B: An English Translation of Quid significent duodecim candelae

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