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10 Body and Feast: The Liturgical Calendar of the Old Diocese of Utrecht

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Chapter Summary

In the late Middle Ages, the major churches in the city of Utrecht had extensive feast calendars. Most of the days in the liturgical calendars, which mainly can be constructed from libri ordinarii, were dedicated to one or more saints or featured a vigil at least. It has been suggested that the many names of saints were chosen arbitrarily to fill up the calendar. It is most likely, however, that there was a clear reason in most cases for reserving a feast day for particular saints. We present a number of examples to illustrate that the choice to introduce a new feast day was often occasioned by the presence of a relic. In other words, the feast of celebrating a saint was linked to their physical presence. The acquisition of relics and the introduction of feast days was not an arbitrary matter but resulted from well-considered choices. Their liturgical calendar was the blazon for the canons of each chapter to show their own, saints-determined identity as a religious community. 



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