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Liturgical offices for the patron saints of particular dioceses or individual churches often deliberately emphasise the saint’s importance for the place where they were venerated. The sets of chants for their feast days frequently refer to episodes in their life on earth and the miracles worked after their rebirth in heaven and culminate with a call for the saint’s intercession on the day of judgement. These cycles of chants, for Vespers, Matins, and Lauds, usually two or three dozen in number, were commonly called historia and complemented the writings about the saint in the passio, vita, and miracula. The chapter surveys the topographical references in some forty saints’ offices, across England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, and also comments on some musical features of their new composed chants.
The general observance of Salisbury customs throughout the islands of Britain and Ireland means that the occurrence of distinctive Insular Uses is somewhat restricted. The most widespread of the non-Sarum liturgies, observed throughout Europe, was that of the Benedictine monasteries, including in England the cathedral priories; these nevertheless often possessed their own individual customaries, as did other houses such as those of the Augustinian canons. The principal secular Uses, apart from that of Salisbury, were those of Hereford and York, although all dioceses had their local saints and minor differences. A full analysis of everything that was distinctive about diocesan usages in the provinces of Canterbury and York is beyond the scope of this chapter; instead, the focus is on a small range of comparable matter in the major Uses and in the variable customs of some other dioceses.
This chapter asks where and how Rome (and, by extension, polemics self-consciously characterized as reactions against Rome) figures in efforts to determine what the living owe to the dead, and what the dead can do for the living. Latin occupies a controlling position within this inquiry; so, too, do texts that cast the world of the living as the home of the dead; so, finally, do Reformation-era debates about the soteriological stakes of praying for the dead. These topics span a period of time in which Rome is the gravitational centre of a sequence of massive upheavals in vernacular piety and attendant debates about the relationship between the living and the dead. The chapter argues that interpreting these debates as facets of the fact of Rome alerts us to the role that the human voice plays in probing the limits of mortality and the nature of the human as such.
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