Adventures in Medieval Lent: Part 2, Inspiration from the Communion of Saints, and the origins of the Paternoster

Since in the Middle Ages the Lenten Fast was standardized, pretty much everybody would have been participating in this fast. If you were healthy, you were fasting. (You were exempt if you were sick, pregnant, a child, or too old.

7 Quick Takes (no. i*)


Our first 7 Quick Takes  Friday  ! (er, Sunday...)

Well, here we are, our first participation in the 7 Quick Takes fabulousness.

Adventures in Medieval Lent: Part 1 - Of Inspiration and Practicalities

Lent was drawing near. Janelle and I had discussed the requirements of fasting for Lent in the Middle Ages; we’d lightly discussed the possibility of trying it ourselves, but nothing very committal came of it. I then read an article by an SCA woman (SCA-Society of Creative Anachronism) who had tried to do a Medieval Lent. She wasn't a practicing catholic or protestant, but it was important for her to understand her character better. And so she tried it.

Pope St. Celestine V

On this historic day when Pope Benedict XVI ends his eight year ministry (we love you Papa!), we harken back to the year 1294 when Celestine V stepped down as the successor of St. Peter. This holy Italian man was a lifelong monk of the order of St. Benedict, and was made pope when he was nearly 80 years old. A marvelous podcast, the SaintCast, has a full biography about this medieval pope complete with an interview of the author of a recently published book about Pope Celestine

The Feast of The Epiphany (or the Three Kings)

Photo courtesy of the British Library's manuscript collection

The Feast of the Circumcision (Medieval Calendar: January 1st)

On January 1st, the Catholic Church commemorates the Feast of Holy Mary Mother of God. In the Medieval Church Calendar, however, until the 15th century, January 1st was celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision. Old Testament Law stipulated that boys be circumcised eight days after they were born, January 1st is the eighth day after the Nativity, simple math.

The ancient York Mystery Plays, circa 2012

When I was twenty I had the opportunity to witness a modern staging of an ancient but frequently performed religious play, the Oberammergau Passion Play in this small town in Bavaria. Running all summer long and involving about a thousand of the townspeople in all aspects of the project, each performance lasted a full six hours long with dramatic music, live animals, and a massive well-rehearsed cast - it was powerful to say the least. 

The beginning and all that

This photo here is of my little stall, the first year I officially sold my Paternosters at a medieval festival. Notice my several Paternosters in process, with beads I was stringing, and others I was painting, and some tiny crosses to finish them off. There's a musician playing there in the little alcove in the background.

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