Frank Henderson's Page on Liturgy and Medieval Women

Medieval General Intercessions

Medieval General Intercessions

"Bidding prayers" today are referred to as general intercessions, prayers of the faithful, prayers of the people, and prayers of the church.

These litanic prayers of intercessions were broad and inclusive in scope and tended to be mirrors of medieval society. They were broad and inclusive in content; they included women; they followed a basic pattern but presented great variety in detail; they often were examples of vernacular liturgical prayers; they often included grammatically inclusive language; they were composed locally and took into account needs at the time of writing; they involved the participation of the congregation; they were used in a variety of liturgical settings.

I have assembled well over 100 medieval bidding prayers, dating from the 10th to the 16th centuries, from a number of countries, and in several languages. I plan to post a catalogue of these texts, giving date, place of origin, manuscript source, printed editions, translations, etc.

In addition, I have collected references to these prayers in wills, churchwardens' accounts and other legal documents. I plan to post a catalogue of these references.

The structures, content and liturgical used of these bidding prayers will be studied in some detail.

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