|GLOSSARY: THE BOOK OF
MARGERY KEMPE © Stanbury/Raguin MMK
III. Lazarus to
See also over 150 images
in MMK Devotional Images Database, arranged alphabetically
See also Catholic Encyclopedia
(1905-17), despite the date still useful as a first reference
Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, residents of Bethany
(Jn 11:1-44). Lazarus had fallen gravely ill when his sisters
sent for Jesus. When he arrived, Lazarus was already 4 days
in the tomb. Mary went out to meet Jesus and fell to his feet.
The text, undoubtedly one of the key issues for Margery Kempe's
reference, states: "When, therefore Jesus saw her weeping, and the
Jews who had come with her weeping, he groaned in spirit and was
troubled and then he said, "Where have you laid him?" And
they said to him Lord come and see. And Jesus wept" (Jn 11:33-35).
Christ then called Lazarus back to life and Lazarus "came forth,
bound feet and hands with bandages." Medieval tradition believed
that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus went to France after Christ's death
and that their tombs could be visited at the abbey of Vézelay
in Burgundy. The cathedral of Autun, close by, is named St. Lazarus.
30] [II: Chapter
Leicester is located in central England on the Soar river, 35 miles
northeast of Birmingham. It is an ancient Roman trading center
and was also a major medieval city.
46] [Chapter 47]
[Chapter 48] [Chapter
Abbey Leicester abbey, called St. Mary's Abbey,
a short ways outside the wall of the city, was founded in 1143.
Built for Augustinian Canons, it became one of the largest houses
of the order. Its buildings now are completely gone and an
excavation plus reconstruction ground plan now is visible in Abbey
park. Philip Repyngdon, later Bishop of Lincoln from 1404-1419,
had served as abbot from 1394 through 1403.
All Saints Church The architecture of All Saints in Leicester
dates primarily from the later 13th century. Even today the church
displays the harmonious proportion that formed the backdrop for
the intense interrogation of Margery Kempe. An array of examiners
that included the mayor, the Abbot of Leicester, canons of the abbey,
and the Dean of Leicester (probably from the collegiate churches
of St. Mary the Less or St. Mary the Greater) confronted Kempe.
They sat at the high altar and asked questions about her belief
in the Eucharist and her white clothes. The interior has been stripped
of its former textures, so that the masonry construction is now
clearly visible. The chancel has been walled off so that the nave
now constitutes the visible space of the building. It is now
classified as a redundant church. One of its great treasures
is its 13th-century baptismal font, presumably in its original placement
at the west end of the nave. A circular basin is supported
by a central shafted surrounded by four columns. At the base of
the bowl appear trefoil motifs that complement the continuous border
of leafy forms that encircles the rim.
Guildhall Leicester's Guildhall
is one of the best preserved of its type. Constructed to the
east of the church of St. Martin, the central portions date about
1350. Th structure is spacious with wood and plaster construction
with wooden roof. A fire was arranged in the center and an
opening in the roof allowed smoke to escape. In the 1490's
the main hall was enlarged by two bays and an additional single-story
wing was added to the north. The northern extension still
contains the remains of a series of stained
glass roundels in a row of windows showing the Labors
of the Month and symbols of the guild
and city of Leicester
. See Town Life MMK
Lent is the period in the liturgical year directly preceding Easter.
It is a time of fast and penance by which the Christian community
participates in the Passion
of Christ and prepares for the triumph of his rising from the
dead, commemorated on Easter Sunday. The period extends over 40
days, reminiscent of Christ's 40 days spent fasting in the desert.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday when Christians publicly wear "ashes"
derived from the medieval tradition of sackcloth and ashes for public
penance. This custom was already noted in the Old Testament.
Kempe spent Lent during 1414 in Rome where there was a practice
of saying solemn pontifical masses in parish churches – the Stations
- for each day of Lent. See MMK Pilgrimages: Rome
68] [II: Chapter 2]
A city in east-central England, Lincoln
was one of the chief towns of Roman Britain and grew as a fortified
river port. The diocese of Lincoln was founded by St. Theodore,
Archbishop of Canterbury, in 678. The first Norman bishop, Remigius
of Fecamp, decided to build his cathedral in Lincoln in 1072 because
the city was already thriving and populous. In 1185, the cathedral
was badly damaged in the great earthquake of that same year. The
following year, St. Hugh, the Bishop of Lincoln, restored the cathedral,
from the foundations up. This was an important determination, for
it resulted in the first English Gothic building. During the
14th century, the three towers of the cathedral were raised to their
present height. Today this Anglican diocese is one of the largest
in England. See Catholic
15] [Chapter 48]
Lollards were followers of John Wycliffe (1330-1384), an Oxford
University theologian. They were active predominantly from
the late 14th century to the mid-15th century in England.
The Lollards emphasized authority in Scripture over clerical power
and were opposed to the authority of the pope. They concomitantly
emphasized the importance of sermons rather than the administration
of the sacraments. Supporting the authority of the state over
corrupt clergymen, they charged the clergy sexual license as well
as corruption of the sacrament of penance by selling the forgiveness
of sins. The movement accelerated in 1380, when Wycliffe encouraged
his followers to spread the Lollard teachings. These “early
Protestant” ideas were especially popular at Oxford and among educated
clergymen, artisans, merchants, and small landowners but not among
the upper classes.
In 1407 Thomas Arundel,
the archbishop of Canterbury, mentioned by Kempe, called a council
at Oxford to deal with Wycliffe's influence. Two years later, in
1409, the Lambeth Constitutions were promulgated that specified
terms for licensing preachers in the vernacular and in Latin and
limited discussion of the sacraments beyond definitions from church
dogma. Above all, it forbade any translations of sacred Scripture
on individual authority, and outlawed reading of such translations
until they were approved by the local diocesan or provincial council.
In 1413 the Lollards rose up under Sir John Oldcastle (Lord Cobham).
Cobham was caught and condemned but escaped from the Tower and hid
for four years in Herefordshire. He was found and executed
in late 1417. In its later manifestations, the Lollard movement
stressed the simplicity of Christ’s message, rejecting the theologically
complex idea of the Christian Trinity, and emphasized the ability
of both men and women to educate their brethren through reading
Aston, Margaret. England's
Iconoclasts. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1988; and Aston. Lollards
and Reformers: Images and Literacy in Late Medieval Religion.
London: Hambleton Press, 1984.
Copland, Rita. "Why Women
Can't Read: Medieval Hermeneutics, Statute Law, and the Lollard
Heresy Trials," in Representing Women: Law, Literature, and Feminism,
ed.. Susan Heizelman and Zipporah Wiseman. Durham: Duke University
Press, 1994, pp. 253-86. Hudson, Ann. "Lollardy: The English
Heresy?" Studies in Church History 18 (1982): 261-83, rep.
Lollards and Their Books. Hambleton Press: London. 1985,
Anne Hudson, The Premature
Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History . Oxford:
The Lollard Society website:
See contemporary description
by John Capgrave of Sir John Oldcastle's execution in John Capgrave,
The Life of St. Katherine of Alexandria ed. Carl Horstmann
(EETS 100) (1893 repr. Millwood, NY, 1975), xvii-xviii.
It was in the
fifth year of the glorious king Henry [V] that Oldcastle, that satellite
of the devil, was taken by the servants of Lord Powis, and adjudged
to death. For their sakes and into whose hands these writing
may come, I will declare some of his error to posterity, that they
may not think he was put to so shameful a death except for a just
cause. First, he declared that none ought to worship the Mother
of Christ or the other Saints, Also that confession ought to be
made to God alone, and not to man, Also that the Sacrament of the
Altar, after consecration, the bread remains unchanged. He
condemned civil property and hated [papal] priests and churches
as abominations. He was also for destroying marriage, as far
as in him lay. . . The Duke of Bedford and those who were present
at his death urged him to make faithful and lowly confession of
his sins, offering him time and his choice among many priests.
But he said though Peter and Paul were present he would not confess
to them; and so, as a blasphemer, and abandoned abettor of heretics,
he suffered the disgrace of death as he deserved. He was first
dragged to the place of execution and hung; then he was dismembered
and disemboweled, and lastly his body was burned to ashes in the
13] [Chapter 46]
[Chapter 52] [Chapter
53] [Chapter 55]
The site of Lynn, (formerly Bishop's Lynn) now King's Lynn, stands
at the southeastern tip of the great estuary known as the Wash.
The area to the east, known as East Anglia, was particularly suitable
for raising sheep, an occupation that also provided the fertilizer
for farming and the production of grains. Lynn's location allowed
it to exploit road, river, and sea routes; most important were the
Great Ouse river that led south and an east-west route across the
northern fens. This situation, coupled with sea access to
the ports of northern Europe, made Lynn an important trading center
in the later Middle Ages. Politically, the city was deeply connected
to the see of Norwich, and was actually founded by Norwich's bishop.
The parish church, St. Margaret's, was serviced by clergy connected
to the Benedictine priory of Norwich's cathedral. Since the
early 13th century the city had gained privileges from King John,
its incorporation dating from this time.
2] [Chapter 16]
[Chapter 18] [Chapter
25] [Chapter 44]
[Chapter 45] [Chapter
57] [Chapter 58]
61] [Chapter 67]
[Chapter 68] [Chapter
71] [Chapter 84]
[II: Chapter 1] [II:
Chapter 2] [II: Chapter
9][II: Chapter 10]
Martyr is a term given to believers who stood firm for their beliefs
even when faced with suffering and death. The term is traditionally
reserved for someone who dies for his/her faith. The deacon
Stephen is considered to be the first martyr of the church when
he was executed by stoning outside the walls of Jerusalem.
3] [Chapter 65]
of Oignies Mary of Oignies (d. 1213) was born in Belgium
(Nivelles in the diocese of Liege) to a wealthy family. She
was married at age 14, but convinced her husband to take a vow of
chastity (see chaste marriage). Together, they nursed
lepers. Mary became very famous for her good works and her
mystical tendencies. In fact, so many people came to visit
her that she was forced to retire to a cell in a monastery at Oignies,
living as a hermit.
Like Margery Kempe, Mary
received many visions from God and experienced ecstasy and wept
uncontrollably when meditating on the Passion of Christ. She
did not eat meat, dressed in white clothes, and mortified her flesh
in acts of penance. Mary was unable to confess the most minute sins
without weeping and had been told by the Holy Spirit that she would
go directly to Heaven without stopping in Purgatory upon her death.
Her life was recorded as early as 1215 by her confessor, Jacques
de Vitry. The Life of Marie d'Oignes. Trans. Margot King,
Peregrina Translations Series 3. Toronto: Peregrina, 1989.
The word matin is derived from the Latin matutinum, meaning
“the morning hours.” The term was used within religious orders
to refer to the morning prayer, which would occur near dawn. It
is a combination of singing, reading, and prayer. The exercise
can also be described as a vigil.
83] [Chapter 88]
In traditional societies, social rituals, like the dress of individuals,
determine status. No rituals are more pervasive that those
of food. Margery Kempe is meticulous in describing the moment
of social interaction of the meal, either as demonstration of her
outcast state or of the honor accorded her: she agrees to eat and
drink with her husband on Fridays in a bargain to live chastely
(Ch. 11); her companions in Constance make her sit at the end of
the table but after she breaks her silence she is forced to eat
alone for six weeks (Ch. 27); the Franciscans in Bethlehem seather
with them at meals (Ch. 29); she eats with the Bishop of Lincoln
(Ch.45) or the Abbot of Leicester (Ch. 49); and while under interrogation
in York, "many good men and women asked her to meals," “preyd
hir to mete,” (Ch. 50). She also mentions meal courtesies
when distinguished individuals place her next to them or send things
to her from their own table, as does the Bishop of Lincoln (Ch.
15) or "served her food with her own hands," “leyd hir mete wyth
hir owyn handys,” as does Dame Margaret Florentyne in Rome (Ch.
38). The Braunche brass, which Kempe doubtless would have seen in
St. Margaret’s Church, depicts a feast in its lower border. Unlike
many other texts of the Middle Ages, the Book of Margery Kempe
, gives us an unusually direct view into the experience of medieval
life and the unwritten drama of day to day living.
Middelburg is a port located in the southwestern Netherlands (Holland).
During the time of Margery Kempe, Middelburg was a Hanse town.
The trade organization called the Hanseatic League or Hanse was
represented in her city of Lynn and was the dominant merchant league
in the North Sea and the Baltic coast.
Mills constituted an important medieval industry, utilizing horse-driven
machinery for the grinding of corn. Few peasants possessed
the machinery or horse-power to grind their own corn, and thus had
to buy the ground corn necessary for food from the local mill.
Marriage The concept “mystical marriage” was a term used
in the church to signify the highest union with God. The Old
Testament makes references to God taking Israel as his “bride.”
Later, in the Gospels Jesus describes himself as the “bridegroom.”
This idea of marital bonds as seen between men and women came to
represent both God’s union with Israel, but also Christ’s Union
with the Church and the individual. In the Middle Ages mystical
women and the saints were said to have had mystical marriages with
Christ that is often symbolized through art with a ring or a veil.
St. Catherine was very often depicted in art as receiving a ring
from the infant Christ as a seal of their mystic marriage.
14] [Chapter 22]
35] [Chapter 86]
Newcastle under Lyme is a city in western-central England.
Newcastle received its first charter of incorporation in 1173. It
is named for the new castle erected in 1145 by Ranulf de Gernons,
earl of Chester, near the Lyme forest.
orders of angels, see angel
Norwich (Norfolk) lies at the heart of rural East Anglia about 100
miles northwest of London. It began as an Anglo-Saxon settlement
beside the River Wensum. At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066,
Norwich was one of the most important cities in the kingdom, and
even had its own mint. Work began on the Cathedral in 1096, using
stone imported from Caen in Normandy. A cathedral monastery
was built to house 60 Benedictine monks. Margery Kempe's parish
church, St. Margaret's, was serviced by monks dependent on the cathedral.
By medieval times there were 56 churches within the walls.
In one, Julian of Norwich lived as an anchoress. Richard I
had made Norwich a city in 1194, and in 1404 a charter allowed it
to have its own mayor, two sheriffs and 24 aldermen, who were elected
for life. The wealthy merchants who ran the city became increasingly
powerful, and the Guildhall and almost all the city's churches were
rebuilt between 1350 and 1530. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 brought
an army of rebels who were ultimately crushed by a coalition of
wealthy citizens and the clergy. (taken from Norwich website) See
17] [Chapter 25]
[Chapter 26] [Chapter
44] [Chapter 60]
[Chapter 69] [Chapter
Sunday Palm Sunday is the Sunday immediately preceding
Easter and commemorates Christ's Entrance into Jerusalem. (Matthew
21:1-11) Christ told his disciples to procure an ass with her colt
so that his entrance would accord with the prophesy of Isaiah "Behold
thy king shall some to thee meek and seated upon an ass and upon
a colt, the foal of a beast of burden." A large crowd is described,
some of whom lay their cloaks on the ground and others who cut branches
from the trees and strew them on the road. The populace cry out
"Hosanna to the Son of David Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord." These words were later incorporated into the ritual
of the mass. Palm Sunday was one of the most lavishly celebrated
feasts of the year and especially marked by processions that recalled
the one described in the Gospels. On the Continent, at least
since the 13th century, full-scale models of Christ riding on a
donkey were pulled through the streets.
78] [II: Chapter
with plenary remission Indulgences (pardons) are
grants from church authorities for the partial or full (plenary)
remission of sin. Indulgences can be granted only after the sacrament
of Penance (Reconciliation). In order to obtain an indulgence one
must complete certain requirements and then perform a devotional
act, either saying specific prayers or in the Middle Ages donating
money to support building and restoration projects and the crusades.
Abuses of the sale of indulgences was a topic of intense controversy
in the late Middle Ages, and the subject of the Pardoner’s Tale
in The Canterbury Tales.
Indulgences or pardons
are authoritative grants from church authorities for the partial
or plenary remission of the temporal punishment of sin, which can
be granted only after forgiveness of that sin has been obtained
through the sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation). This "remission"
is more exactly termed a "payment" made by the Church, drawn from
its treasury of merits and good works stored up by Christ, the Virgin
Mary, and the saints (both living and dead). St. Paul names
the Church (all Christians on earth, in purgatory, and in heaven)
a single body, the mystical Body of Christ, with Christ as its Head.
As community, each Christian is to actively look out for the welfare
of others, especially any members who are suffering from a particular
ailment. Early Christian authors such as Tertullian called
Christians to work together as a community to find a cure.
Later, in the 5th century, St. Caesarius of Arles stated that an
individual is unable to make satisfaction for his own sins, therefore
he is anxious to seek out the assistance of the whole people.
In general, Christians believed that indulgences are gained when
an individual was in a state of grace (i.e. has confessed all sins,
mortal and venial, within 8 days of the act performed), has said
certain prayers at least an Our Father, Hail Mary, and then completes
the deed specified. This act is typically a form of prayer,
such as praying the rosary before the tabernacle of a church or
attending Mass at a specific altar designated by the pope, or pilgrimage,
whether it be to a local cathedral or shrine or to Rome, Jerusalem,
or any other foreign shrine. In the Middle Ages this act of
devotion could include a financial contribution to the support of
a monastery, church, crusade, etc.
The Passion is traditionally referred to in Christianity as the
final events in Christ’s life. These events are recounted
in each of the four Gospels of the Bible, beginning with the Last
Supper, Christ's meditation on his upcoming death in the garden
of Gesthsemane, his arrest, trial, scourging, and humiliation.
His being forced to drag the cross on which he will be crucified
through the street preceded his execution. His followers, including
his mother Mary, witnessed these events and then laid his body in
a rock-cut tomb. The Passion holds devotional importance among
many Christians, because remembrance of the events evokes emotion
and compassion for their savior, whose death freed them from sin.
A central tenet of Christianity is that if one follows the example
of Christ’s Passion by sacrificing themselves as Christ did, he
or she will be saved during the Last Judgment. The Passion
holds a privileged place in the Christian faith and is remembered
particularly in the annual celebration of Holy Week that attempts
to parallel the final days of Christ’s life. See 1460s series of
Images of the Passion in stained glass.
7] [Chapter 15]
22] [Chapter 26]
[Chapter 28] [Chapter
29] [Chapter 39]
[Chapter 41] [Chapter
44] [Chapter 45]
[Chapter 46] [Chapter
56] [Chapter 57]
61] [Chapter 63]
65] [Chapter 67]
[Chapter 68] [Chapter
74] [Chapter 77]
[Chapter 78] [Chapter
84] [Chapter 85]
[II: Chapter 3] [II:
Paternoster, also called The Lord’s Prayer or Our Father, was taught
to the disciples by Jesus (Luke 11:2-4, Matthew 6:9-13). The heart
of the prayer is a petition for daily sustenance and release from
temptation. This prayer is an important part of the mass and
Christian devotions. In Latin it begins Pater noster, qui es
in caelis: “Our Father, who are in heaven.” Often prayers
and psalms, like poems, were referred to by their first words.
11] [Chapter 35]
Penance is one of the seven sacraments of the medieval church; the
forgiveness of sins committed after baptism. During the sacrament,
one is sorrowful for the sins and confesses those sins to a priest.
The priest then gives absolution in Christ’s name. Often a
specific penance, such as fasting, the saying of prayers, giving
of alms, or travel to a specific site (at its extreme to one of
the great pilgrimage churches) is commanded.
3] [Chapter 4]
[Chapter 8] [Chapter
23] [Chapter 27]
34] [Chapter 36]
Pentecost is also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsun, is the feast
commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles and
the Virgin, after Christ's ascension into heaven. After Christ's
death the Apostles and Holy Women were gathered together (Acts 2:1-41)
in an "upper room" They heard a sound as if a violent wind were
blowing and then there appeared parting tongues of fire that settled
over each one of them. They were "filled with the Holy Spirit,"
who manifested his presence by miraculously giving the apostles
the power of speaking in many tongues. The apostles began
to preach to a crowd from many different nations, but each person
thought they were hearing the discourse in his or her own language.
Since Pentecost marked the moment when the Apostles received their
mission to teach, Pentecost was viewed in the Middle Ages as the
foundation of the Church's authority. The feast was celebrated
with great solemnity in the liturgical calendar on the 7th week
after Easter. An octave of augmented masses followed with
the celebrant in red vestments, celebrating the Seven Gifts of the
Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge,
Piety, and Fear of the Lord.
Marger Kempe visited the
coenaculum, the upper chapel at St. Mary Mount Sion (Palestine),
which was identified with the upper room that housed the Apostles
and Holy Women. This structure had received much attention and rebuilding
in the 11th and 12th centuries. The room may have influenced
the style of double-story refectories that are typical of nunneries
Gilchrist, R. Gender
and Material Culture: The Archeology of Medieval Women . Routledge:
London, 1994, 1997, 116, e.g. Refectory of St. Radegund's Cambridge,
now Jesus College. For Palestine see D. Pringle. "The Planning
of Some Pilgrimage Churches in Crusader Palestine." World Archeology
9] [Chapter 37]
[Chapter 44] [II:
The image called a pietà depicts Mary holding the dead body
of her son, Christ, in her lap. Most often replicated in sculpture,
the image of the pietà originated in Germany in the 13th
century. Sometimes Mary was depicted accompanied by St. John
the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene. One of the most famous examples
is Michelangelo’s Pietà (1499), located in the basilica of
St. Peter’s, Rome. See also the pieta in stained glass at
Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk, c. 1480-1490 (See MMK
It is noted several times throughout the text that Kempe lays down
during her moments of intense prayer. She is prone, sprawling on
the pavement of the building, rapt in her ecstasy of feeling.
She describes entering churches at night to prostrate herself on
the floor. At St. Stephen’s in Norwich, she went to the high
altar and fell down on the tomb of the vicar who had been her confessor
many times (Ch. 60 - line 3475). This position was common
in private prayer, and she describes herself “as she lay stille”
(Ch. 85 - line 4939) in the choir, and as she “lay in the qwer in
her prayers” (Ch. 23 - line 1220).
Friars The preaching friars, also known as the Order
of the Friar Preachers, the Order of St. Dominic, and the Dominican
Order, was established in the 13th century by St. Dominic (1170-1221).
The order was established to combat heretical trends that were threatening
the established church. During the Middle Ages, preaching
normally occurred separately from the church service, and thus it
was more accessible to a greater range of people. The preaching
was patterned upon the behavior of Christ’s followers, the Apostles,
who were believed to have preached outside the synagogues after
The first monastery of
the Dominican Order was established in Toulouse, France, in 1215.
Centers were also established in Paris and Bologna in the years
before Dominic’s death. The order is divided into three sections.
The First Order is comprised of priests or preaching friars, the
Second Order of nuns, and the Third Order of lay people who do not
join a monastery, but wish to follow the Order’s ideals. The Dominicans
vowed to observe the virtues of obedience, chastity, poverty.
A preaching friar can be recognized by his traditional Dominican
habit of a white tunic and black cloak.
16] [Chapter 18]
[Chapter 54] [Chapter
68] [Chapter 85]
of Love,Stimulus Amoris or The Prick of Love,
was written in Latin probably in the latter half of the 13th century.
It was a popular devotional text during the Middle Ages, composed
of reflections on the Passion of Christ that focus on feelings of
compassion. It is a meditative poem. The book was often
wrongly attributed to Bonaventure or Walter Hilton during the time
of Margery Kempe, but scholars now believe it to have been written
by a Franciscan known only as James of Milan.
17] [Chapter 58]
The frequent use of processions, large and small, in medieval Christian
worship, brought different groups in, through, and around each other's
spaces. The clergy processed regularly within and around the
church on Sunday and feast days. The reading of the Gospel
invariably involved some sort of movement across spaces. For many
occasions, the sacrament, images, and statues were brought out into
the streets and movement occurred between churches. Margery
Kempe speaks of honoring the Eucharist, especially when she "saw
the precious sacrament borne about the town with lights and reverence,
the people kneeling on their knees" (Ch. 72). See also Corpus
In the late 13th century,
Jacobus deVoragine compiled the Golden Legend, a collection
of saints' lives ordered according to the liturgical calendar.
He also recorded the rituals of Rogations (from the Latin rogo,
to petition) or Litanies. He defines two, the Greater Litany
on the feast of St. Mark (April 25) and the lesser Litany, also
in the spring, celebrated in the three days before the feast of
the Ascension. He describes processions for both; for the Greater,
he speaks of seven ranks of participants: first the clergy, then
the monks, then religious, nuns, then children, then the laymen,
then widows and virgins, finally married women. This ranking
gives some indication of the problematic position of the married
woman that persisted even in Margery Kempe's time. De Voragine
states that for the Lesser Litany, "the cross is carried and bells
are rung, a banner is borne, and the patronage of all the saints
is individually invoked." Later scholars have perceived a
links to planting and folk traditions. See "Liturgy and Folk Culture
in the Golden Legend " in André, Vauchez, The Laity
in the Middle Ages: Religious Beliefs and Devotional Practices,
ed. Daniel E. Bornstein, trans. Margery J. Schneider. University
of Notre Dame Press: South Bend, Indiana. 1993.
Prussia is a former German state of North Germany. In Kempe's
time it is probable that by using the word Prussia she was referring
to Prussian people of Baltic stock living along the shore of the
Baltic in present day Poland. This area, which included the city
of Danzig, had been conquered by the Teutonic Knights and the official
language was German.
After death, Christians of the Middle Ages believed that a soul
was subject to the judgment of Christ. If its corporeal life
was profoundly holy then the soul would be reunited with its body
and dwell in heaven; if profoundly evil, the soul would suffer in
Hell for eternity. If a soul lived well but struggled with
sin, then it voluntarily would choose to go to purgatory, where
temporal punishment was exacted for confessed sins along with the
guilt of any unconfessed venial sins, but ultimate salvation was
certain. Traditionally, the Roman Church has associated fire
with this purifying process.
St. Boniface in the 8th
century explained that the greatest suffering in purgatory was separation
from the beatific vision (sight of God's face in its fullest glory),
since separate of the body the soul realizes its spiritual potential
and so temporarily it is tormented apart from what would give it
fulfillment. One also suffers in contemplating how easily
forgiveness and reparation for sin could have been achieved.
Purgatory is a process that remakes the soul into the image of God
since it has been ravaged by sin. Imperfections are healed
to prepare the soul for eternal joy. All Christians in heaven, in
purgatory, or on earth compose one united community. Just
as the actions of one affects the entire group, so can the souls
of purgatory benefit from prayers offered in their behalf on earth.
Praying for the dead is therefore a pious act.
5] [Chapter 19]
[Chapter 22] [Chapter
23] [Chapter 31][Chapter
57] [Chapter 65]
Philip Philip Repyngdon was the Bishop of Lincoln from
1404-1419. The visit of Margery and John Kempe to take formal vows
of chastity was made between 23 June, 1413 and 19 February 1414
(Meech & Allen). At this time the see of Norwich was vacant,
so the couple went to the bishop of Lincoln. Later Margery
Kempe seeks Repyngdon's permission to travel in the diocese of Leicester
Repyngdon was educated
at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, and later became an Augustinian canon.
Early in his career he was a supporter of John Wycliffe and thus
was considered a heretic and Lollard. His ideas were condemned July
1, 1382 and that fall he recanted his beliefs and continued an illustrious
career. He was elected Abbot of Leicester in 1394 and while
abbot served four times as chancellor of the University of Oxford
(1397, 1400, 1401, and 1402). Upon the accession of Henry
IV, he became confessor to the king and was appointed Bishop of
Lincoln. He granted a 14 day indulgence for persons contributing
to the rebuilding of the Yarborough Parish Church in Lincolnshire,
which had been destroyed by fire. He explains that the cause
has been blessed by a miracle. The fabric wrapping the host
has been untouched by the flames while the ivory and copper elements
of its receptacle had been burned: the furious blaze burnt everything
that it could find on the altar, even the double conical pyx of
ivory within and without, containing with great care this vital
bread. . . and only that bread enclosed within a little silken
compartment which could not have withstood such a fury remained
miraculously whole. (cited in Miri Rubin. Corpus Christi:
The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1991, 124-25). See the same sparing of the host
from fire that initiated the Pilgrimage site of Wilsnach, Germany,
that Kempe visits in 1433 (Book II/5).
In 1419 Repyngdon resigned
his position as bishop. His Sermons on the Gospels are preserved
in museums in Oxford and Cambridge, and in the British Museum in
of Bishop Philip Repyngdon 1405-1419. Ed. M Archer. 3 vols.
Lincoln Record Society 57-58, 1996-82.